Everyone is affected by juvenile crimes. Over the past several years, juvenile crimes have been decreasing. However, juvenile crime rates are still too high. There have been several programs established in order to eliminate juvenile delinquency. However, these programs need to be evaluated from time to time to make sure they are still designed to keep juvenile crimes low. These programs have been proven effective when it comes to lowering juvenile delinquency rates. These programs are programs such as head start, Big Brother and Big Sisters, and school mentoring programs. Programs such as head start and younger child programs help ensure kids are being put in nurturing environments that help them develop into noncriminal individuals. Also, Big Brother and Big Sisters help younger individuals gain positive influences in their lives. Lastly, mentoring programs help young adults gain the supportive caregiving they need in order to stay positive for their futures. All of these programs can help young children grow into the adults they deserve to be. These programs make sure they are given the nurturing environments they need in order to succeed in life and not become juvenile delinquents (Rogers, 2014, p. 185).
Early Childhood Programs
The best programs that help with juvenile delinquency are the ones that intervene before the onset of delinquent behavior. These programs prevent the behavior before the behavior happens. Therefore, one step that can be taken to lower juvenile delinquency is to create more prevention programs for today’s youth. According to studies, programs that are more holistic tend to be better at preventing juvenile crimes. For example, Head Start has shown incredible results for reducing juvenile delinquency. These programs show these results by targeting specific risk factors that cause juvenile crimes. The reason why these programs work is because it limits childhood exposure to certain times of behavior. Putting children in head start and young childhood programs limits the risk that these children may be placed in an environment where they may be exposed to abuse or drugs. They may also be exposed to poor child-rearing practices or poor parental supervision. These are all aspects that lead to juvenile delinquency. Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse all lead to an increase in homicidal behavior. Also, it has been shown that children who are raised in distressed homes with unsupportive caregivers are also more likely to be juvenile deliquesces then those who were raised with nurturing caregivers or individuals who grew up in supportive homes. Head start and other younger programs help get children out of these environments and place them into nurturing and caring environments. Placing more children in ‘problem’ areas in these programs would be beneficial to both them and the community (Saminsky, 2010, p. 4).
Several programs currently exist to try to lower juvenile delinquency. These programs help by giving children after school activities and things to do instead of participating in criminal behavior. One program that helps lower juvenile delinquency is Big Brother and Big Sisters. These programs give children somewhere to go after school and give them activities to keep them busy. They also give them young adults who are positive influences in their lives. This helps keep these young children off of the streets doing legal things. Big Brother and Big Sisters is an amazing thing for young individuals. Some of these children do not have the positive influences at home that they need. Big Brother and Big Sister helps this by giving these children “big brothers” or “big sisters”. These are individuals who can positively impact these children’s lives.
One way to prevent juvenile delinquency is to increase the number and awareness of these programs. Also, make them more available in problem areas. Placing children in these programs at a young age can also help prevent juvenile crimes. In a study conducted on Big Brothers and Big Sisters, they found that the organization does wonder for children. In a study conducted over an 18 month period, they found that 46 percent of the children were less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol, 52 percent less likely to skip school, 37 percent less likely to skip a class and 33 percent less likely to hit someone (www.bbbs.org). This statistics are wonderful when it comes to lowering juvenile delinquency and crime. These programs are especially good when it comes to youth in single-parent homes. It gives these children a mentor and someone to look up to that will help them become a better individual. It is giving these children positive role models that will help them be successful in life rather than delinquents. More organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters should be implemented throughout the country in order to keep juvenile delinquency down.
Another way to prevent juvenile delinquency is to eliminate truancy in older children. Truancy has been considered an early warning sign for potential juvenile delinquency. Most children who skip school do not go back to their homes. Therefore, these children are deliberately spending more time away from school and their homes. Instead, children are rooming the streets with little or no supervision. Truancy has been linked to juvenile delinquency and significant negative behavior for young children. It has also been linked to substance abuse, burglary, auto theft and vandalism (Baker & Sigmon 2001). If left untreated, truancy during the preteen and teenage years can have huge negative effects on the individual and the community as a whole. Truancy needs to be taken care of in order to prevent juvenile delinquency.
There have been several studies that have shown that one of the reason young adults do not want to go to school is due to lack of motivation. These studies also indicate that lack of motivation can be due to individual dynamics and family compositions. Family, school and economic factors all correlate with truancy. Family factors are those such as lack of guidance and supervision as well as domestic violence and drug in alcohol abuse in the home. School factors can be anywhere from school size to the other students in the school. Many people don’t like to attend school if they are picked on or if they don’t have to. When a school is large, it is harder for the administration to track the students. This makes it easier for students just to leave the school without anyone noticing. Economic reasons also impact truancy. These factors consist of students who work, single-parent homes, and lack of affordable transportation. Several students have to have a job in order to survive. This means they may have to miss school in order to work. Also, single-parent homes may make it more difficult for the student to have proper transportation to and from school. The parent may have to work during the times the student needs to go to and from school. Furthermore, some families may not have proper transportation to be able to take their children to and from school. All of these are factors when it comes to truancy (Baker & Sigmon 2001).
Truancy means these young adults are rooming the community and no one knows where they are at. They have little to no supervision, meaning they are able to do whatever they please to do. Freedom with children of these age can be dangerous, leading them to conduct juvenile behavior. One action that can be taken is to increase the amount of transportation schools have to help students in single-parent homes or homes with no transportation. This can help ensure these students are actually going to school. If a parent is unable to take their child to school that generally means they will not be home at all during the day. Therefore, these children are left unsupervised to do what they want. This will only lead to juvenile delinquency. If school districts place more buses in different areas (if the school district can afford to) then it gives these students the option of actually attending school. Also, schools need to make sure students are not missing school because they are being bullied or made fun of. This is one part of the truancy group. Students do miss or skip school because they do not want to be made fun of. It is the schools responsible to ensure this is not happening to their students. Truancy would go down if schools helped make sure that all of their students had transportation to and from school and made sure their students were in a bully-free zone. Schools would also need to take appropriate steps to discipline those students who are exhibiting bullying behavior.
Another step that can be taken to eliminate truancy is to set up mentoring programs. Mentoring programs give one-on-one relationships for these young adults to supporting, caring adults. These programs give disadvantage youth the help and support they need in order to succeed in the world. It also helps youth get the resources they need to tackle adulthood. It helps these youth who need support get it in order to get the support they need to succeed academically, socially, and later on with their career. Mentoring programs have been proven to prevent at-risk youth from engaging in delinquent behavior. It also helps those who are already conducting delinquent behavior change their lives. These programs have been proven to help youth change their self-esteem about themselves, improve their behavior and their academic performance (Rogers, 2014, p. 186).
Juvenile delinquency is something that people should take very serious as it affects everyone. It effects the juvenile, their families, and the crimes the commit affect the community. It is important to take certain steps to ensure we are doing everything possible to lower the juvenile delinquency rate. The main thing to prevent juvenile delinquency is to stop it before it starts. Programs and after school activities for children are important when preventing juvenile delinquency.
Baker, M., Sigmon, J. (2001). Truancy reduction: keeping students in school. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1-15.
Big impact-proven results (n.d.). Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Retrieved from http://www.bbbs.org/site/c.9iILI3NGKhK6F/b.5961035/k.A153/Big_impact8212proven results.htm
Mathur, S., Clark, H. (2014). Community engagement for reentry success of youth from juvenile justice: challenges and opportunities. Education and Treatment of Children, 37(4), 713 734.
Rogers, L. (2014). Absenteeism and truancy issues: are mentoring programs funded by the office of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention the answer? Children & Schools, 36(3), 185-188.
Saminsky, A. (2010). Preventing juvenile delinquency: early intervention and comprehensiveness as critical factors. Student Pulse, 2(2), 1-31.