Social disorganization theory explains the prevalence of juvenile delinquency in many areas. This theory relates how societal norms and structure influence the rate of delinquency in the society. Lack of structure in society influences poverty levels, economy of the society, education, residential turn-over and family stability (Bartollas, 1985, p. 81). This theory’ proponents argue that factors that shape local communities like immigration, politics, housing and others, influence the structure of the society, which in-turn influences other factors like crime prevalence. Sociological theories influence how policies are structured.
Many policies are made in consultation with or in response to research conducted by sociologists. The government has established systems through which research is conducted, research which influence policy and justice systems in relation to juveniles (JJDPA, n.d). A research report by the Juvenile Justice Department indicated that community based solutions for delinquency are better at improving public safety (Juvenile Justice Department, 2009). This illustrates the influence or community disorganization theory on policy as it emphasizes the role of the community in juvenile delinquency.
The focuses on policies such as functional family therapy demonstrate the importance that the community plays in the correction of juvenile delinquency. By extension, this theory can also be seen at play in the alleged recent racial profiling of communities by police where a community is deemed more likely to commit a crime based on the nature of the society. Even though it is not official policy to profile, it influences action by authority. This theory of societal disorganization is also evident in the Center for Children’s Law and Policy’s program aimed at reducing racial disparities in the juvenile system.
Which factors in the society contribute to societal disorganization?
Do you agree that juvenile delinquency show patterns consistent with societal disorganization?
Bartollas, C. (1985). Juvenile delinquency. New York: Wiley.
Juvenile Justice. (2009, May 1). Retrieved April 21, 2015, from http://www.justicepolicy.org/research/category/38
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2015, from http://www.cclp.org/JJDPA_resources.php