Conventional wisdom suggests that society full of criminals is likely to characterized by extreme levels of poverty; economic distress. In a classical view, this relationship between poverty and crime is that poverty, in one way or another encourages poverty-stricken persons to commit a crime. “Poverty is a serious problem in the lives of children” (Bartollas & Schmalleger, 2011, p.173). It has disastrous effects; including high levels of non-marital child bearing, reduced academic attainments to children, disrupted parenting and extended health problems. As families experience these challenges as a result of economic stress, juvenile involvement in crime is also reared.
Poor families experience high levels of stress in their daily environments, which may affect their development. The economic pressures, alongside other stressful endeavors associated with the poverty-stricken families, leads to high intensities of psychological distress, which includes hostile and depressive feelings, in poor parents. Psychological distress turns out to have a much devastating effect as it tends to affect co-parenting and marital relationships. As poor parents toil to sustain their families, their interactions turn to be hostile and conflicted. This in turn, affects the parenting practices; leading to a disrupted or poor parenting.
As a result, children from poor families experience less or total absence of close supervision from their parents. Additionally parents may engage in an inconsistent, harsh and erratic disciplining of their children. In other instances, parents may neglect or abuse their children. In return, abuse or neglect tends to negatively impact the emotional development of the children. Victims may develop disruptive behavior and truancy in school or may run away from home. They may also generate extreme pain that they engage in drug abuse as it seems the only escape route. Others might be faced with self-rejection, lack of self-control which may draw them to vent in their own destruction through suicide or prostitution. In some extreme cases, some victims may commit aggressive acts as a result of their anger.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that poverty is a major cause of juvenile delinquency. A child born to poverty stricken community, where he lacks proper parenting, has a higher chance of engaging in a delinquent activity (Bartollas &Schmalleger, 2011).
Bartollas, C., & Schmalleger, F. (2011). Juvenile Delinquency (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.