As long as there have been children, there have been juvenile delinquents. It is a child's nature to rebel, misbehave, and make errors of social judgment. However, throughout history society has viewed the special position of children differently with respect to the crimes they commit…
We can then make a speculation on the future and offer recommendations to confront this unique challenge.
In the last 200 years in the United States, children have held a special status within the framework of the law. However, the age at which they were considered juveniles has been subject to change over the years. In the early 1800s, most children that we consider to be juveniles today were treated as adults under the law. As late as 1827, a child at the age of 10 was considered to be of age to accept full adult criminal responsibility under the law in Illinois (Ferro 2003 p.3). In fact, the term 'delinquency' did not appear in US law until the turn of the twentieth century as social upheaval transformed our urban areas and juvenile crime became more prevalent and problematic. During this period, industrialization had brought people together in large urban areas from all over the country and the world seeking employment in the newly established factories in cities such as Chicago, New York, and Detroit. Social pressures and poverty fueled rising crime in the general population. This rise in crime among adults was mirrored in the juvenile population.
States have often held great authority over the handling of juvenile crime. Delinquents would often be relegated to poorhouses, county farms, or reform schools. But by the 1920s, America was more cognizant of juvenile crime and its effect on the established social order. The move to the Sun Belt during the 1930s and 1940s magnified the problem in cities such as Los Angeles and Phoenix. Crime statistics from this period are largely fragmented and anecdotal. However, there was a concern among the population about the growing juvenile delinquency problem. President Herbert Hoover created the Wickersham Commission to investigate the rising crime rate. The report issued in 1931 found that, "...turf wars were being waged in America's large cities by rival criminal groups fighting for control of bootleg liquor distribution" (Ferro 2003 p.4). Gang crime and their influence on juveniles continues to dominate the juvenile delinquency issue.
The post World War II era saw a beginning of the rise in adult crime that was echoed by juvenile delinquency. Access to media, technology, and mobility has contributed to the problem. Beginning in 1960, there was an increase in juvenile delinquency that peaked in the early 1990s (Ferro 2003 p.4). However, beginning in 1980 there was also a rapid escalation in the violence of juvenile crime and the reported incidents of gang activity and guns. Between 1978 and 1993 violent crime by juveniles rose 79% and the murders committed by juveniles soared by 177% (Levitt 1998 p.1156). Though the overall juvenile crime rate has gone down in recent years, the rates of more serious and violent crimes have not seen as dramatic of a decline. According to statistics complied by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, from 2001-2005 the total violent crime rate among juveniles has dropped, but forcible rape has not experienced the same decline (Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics 2006). Much of the prevalence of violent juvenile crime has come as a result of, or can be attributed to, gang activity (Ferro 2003 p.5). Juveniles in contact with gang members, whether peers or family members, may emulate their activity even though they may not be a member of a gang.
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Juvenile Delinquency is the anti-social offenses committed by people who are underage, which two adults is a crime (Binder, Geis and Bruce, 2001). Juvenile justice is the process of handling cases of juvenile delinquents in the court. The rise in anti-social behaviors has led youths to engage in juvenile offenses, in their adolescence.
The program is aimed at lowering recidivism of high-risk juvenile offenders. As it provides concentrated reintegration during incarceration and a highly structured gradual process of transition, IAP considers three overlapping phases of treatment – (1) pre-release and preparatory planning; (2) structured transition in which participation of both institutional and aftercare staff prior to and after release is involved; and (3) long-term follow-up for supervision and service delivery (Altschuler, D.M., et al., 1999).
Therefore, the discussions on juvenile delinquency have assumed greater significance in countries like America. The increasing rate of juvenile delinquency has paved the way for many films too. The film, Lord of the Flies (1990), modelled upon the novel, ‘The Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding takes the boys’ attitude towards delinquency.
The juvenile justice system, which is different from the adult criminal justice system, especially in the way juvenile crimes are handled, and the legal and political actions taken, was established in order to handle crimes committed by young offenders. In the United States, the system and procedures vary according to states and even counties.
Sociologically, crime and deviance can be viewed as the externalities or acts that are harmful to the individual and society at large, which are prohibited and punishable by law. Each and every social setting has mores, values, beliefs and expected standards that govern interaction of the members and in the long run help to streamline coexistence.
Various research data depicts that family violence is the root cause of the prevalence of both officially reported and also for the unreported issues related to child abuse and neglect in USA. Apart from this, criminologists' endeavor to interpret the relationship between childhood abuse and criminality.
In United States, it has been a respected idea to treat the juveniles, who rape, rob and kill, differently. Macko pointed out that, “People who have become victims of these young felons are angry and are
Following the incidence, prosecutors filed fitness claims so that he could be charged in an adult criminal court for an attempt to murder. The charge could have seen him serve a sentence of 15 years. However, after a lengthy discussion with his family, Shawn pleaded guilty to the charges so that the juvenile system could punish him.
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