Juvenile delinquency is one of the serious social problems which persistently bothers most countries. Back in the early stages of the legal system, the government did not build any laws to restrain the behavior of teenagers. In most countries, juvenile crimes are initially treated as adult crimes. However, people gradually began to realize that teenagers and children differ from adults because they can be greatly influenced by others to change. More and more states, provinces, and countries begin to attach importance to juvenile delinquency with the change of public opinion on juvenile delinquency.
Due to the immaturity of juveniles, the law finally decided to treat them differently from adults. “In 1899 the U.S. made legal history when the world’s first juvenile court opened in Chicago” (“Juvenile Law” para.3). The juvenile court has since opened a new chapter in the juvenile crime law. Unfortunately, society has given enough protection to teenagers but without realizing their danger.
At the end of the last century, the rate of juvenile delinquency arrest continued to soar.
According to “Juvenile Arrest Rate Trends”, the U.S. juvenile delinquency arrest hit a record of 8476 teenagers in 1996. The government has made strict laws against minors to restrain their behavior. They also built juvenile prisons not to punish offenders but to help them recover. The juvenile crime rate has improved significantly in the past 30 years. Recently, due to the campus violence, robbery and other cases involving juveniles are emerging one after another, the high attention of social media on juvenile delinquency has once again become the focus of people’s attention. This phenomenon cannot help causing people to think, teenagers should study hard and enjoy their best time, but why so many people choose to commit a crime in such a clear path? Although the juvenile crime rate has been decreasing year by year recently, how will the juvenile crime affect the society? What is the future for the delinquent minors?
Reason for Juvenile Delinquency
Due to the immature and impressionable characteristics of teenagers, their criminal causes and characteristics are quite different from those of adults. The causes of juvenile delinquency can be divided into two major categories, internal and external causes.
Due to their immaturity and heavy reliance on peers and the Internet, teenagers are more likely than adults to face a series of problems that may lead to crimes. These include mental health problems, stress, alcohol, and drugs. Teenagers are mostly in their teens (ages 13-19), a time when their physical and mental states change dramatically. Their behavior changes sharply for puberty. However, teenagers do not have enough ability to quickly adapt to their physical and psychological changes, which will result in their lack of self-restraint ability. In addition, teenagers would look for similarities from their friends to gain a sense of identity. “Not only does sensation-seeking advice attraction to exciting experiences, It also leads adolescents to seek friends with similar interests. These peers further encourage risk-taking behaviors” (Richards 1). In the so-called friends’ encouragement, some simply thought the crime of teenagers would have the courage to take their first step to the crime, and the first step will change their lives.
The first important influence of juvenile delinquency is family. A broken family can lead to children not feeling enough love. If a family has weak internal connections, children will lose confidence in the family. Dysfunctional family environments, full of conflict and violence, can cause severe psychological shadow and trauma to children and adolescents. Parents’ lack of control over their children and their early self-management will make their children indulge themselves too early. These are closely related to juvenile delinquency. “Young people aged 15 to 24 years are at a higher risk of assault than any other age group and males aged 15 to 19 years are more than twice as likely to become a victim of a robbery as males aged 25 or older, and all females. Statistics also show that juveniles contain substantial proportions of victims of sexual offenses” (Richards 1). Because young people are not fully developed physically and mentally, they are often, the main target of criminals. Recently, the boundaries between victims and offenders have not been as clear as they were. Young people are not only disproportionate criminals, they are also disproportionate victims of crime. “Between 1989 – 90 and 2007 – 08, almost one-third of homicide victims aged 15 to 17 years  was killed by another juvenile” (Richards 1).
Minors who have been harmed by others may retaliate or The target of the venting object is transferred to a younger or weaker person. In a sense, minor victims are more unstable than juvenile offenders. Once their emotions break out, they are more likely to hurt more than young or thin people around them. It can be seen that juvenile offenders and victims are not two than independent individuals, and they are largely interlinked. External criminal factors also include economic and social factors. As a result of the economic recession, some young people who have to find jobs to support their families will be dismissed or can barely make ends meet with a small salary. This continued unemployment and low income may increase their likelihood of involvement in criminal activities such as robbery and theft.
Characteristics of Juvenile Delinquency
By the graph “Example of an age-crime curve,” it can be seen that both the non-violent crimes and violent crimes committed by minors are far higher than those committed by adults. The percentage is significantly higher than among adults.
However, their rates of violence, homicide, rape, and kidnapping are much lower than non-violent actions like robbery, theft, and extortion. It can be seen that minors tend to commit non-violent crimes, which may be because non-violent crimes tend to have a lower price to pay, and in case they are caught by the police, they need to bear less responsibility than violent crimes. In addition, juvenile criminals arrested rate is often higher, because of immature minors and “be less experienced at committing offenses” (Richard 1), their crime often “episodic, unplanned and opportunistic” (Richard 1), And they are more inclined to “commit offenses in public areas to the as on public transport or in shopping centers. And commit close to where they live” (Richard 1). This makes it much easier for police to find witnesses and surveillance tape to find out who they are. “Juvenile Arrest Rate Trends.”
Juvenile Arrest Rate Trends, OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book, 22 Oct. 2018, www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/JAR_Display.asp?ID=qa05201.“Juvenile Law – History.” History – Court, Adult, Juveniles, and Children – JRank Articles, law.jrank.org/pages/7956/Juvenile-Law-History.html.
Cite this essay
Families, Youth and Delinquency. (2020, Sep 14). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/families-youth-and-delinquency-essay