Juveniles are young people with an age of about eighteen years as commonly stated in various countries and states. Juveniles or minors as may apply to other jurisdictions may however have a different age set by the state or country depending on their definition of a juvenile. Thus, juvenile delinquency describes anomalous social and illegal behavior by the juveniles. Several theories have been established that describe the major causes of juvenile delinquency. Many juveniles have a number of reasons which best explain their delinquent behavior (Bartollas & Miller, 2008). There is a belief in the society that the juveniles have caused many problems through this unbecoming behavior in the community. Thus, juvenile delinquency is a topic that is highly debatable in the modern society. Delinquency is very common amongst juveniles. This trend has caused restlessness to guardians, authorities and parents at large. Thus, this research paper takes a study of juvenile delinquency, approaches used to prevent it, examination of the key stakeholders and finally evaluate how juvenile justice prevention and intervention strategies will be handled over at least the next two decades.
The union parliament tabled the first federal legislation on matters of juvenile justice in 1986. The move was mainly meant to offer a uniform law on juvenile justice governing the whole country. Initially, each state in the United States handled juvenile crime independently. Juveniles faced different legal systems in the various states. However, juvenile crime still existed in society. With the persistence of juvenile justice, a lot of concern was raised in the circles of human rights. The way juveniles were detained in special and juvenile homes drew a lot of debate. Towards 1990, juvenile justice received an international scrutiny and valuation. The subject attracted the internal authorities within the states followed by a country wide interest and later regional consultations conducted for justice on juveniles. This emerging focus led to the coming together of different authorities to tackle the issue of juvenile justice. The government was under pressure to give a national report to the committee of children rights highlighting the achievements in the juvenile system of justice. Ultimately, this inspired the entire Social Justice and Empowerment ministry in their quest to enact new laws to deal with juvenile crime. The Care and Protection of Children Act in 2000 later resulted.
Stakeholders to Juvenile Delinquency
Juvenile delinquency is a subject that is too weighty to be handled by a few people and authorities. It has been perceived that juveniles with jobs will have few crime records. However, this is not proven by research. The difference comes in before the time a juvenile acquires a job. On employment, juveniles become independent and do not necessarily need the financial support of their parents. The influence of the parents and/or guardians slowly fades away. On acquiring employment, juveniles get the chance to explore and interact with various delinquent peers. The National Youth Survey indicates that parental influence and control has little effect on the connection between employment and delinquency. The parental influence has a big role to play in establishing juvenile behavior and the things they may indulge in. the methodology used by the parent plays a significant role in determining the juvenile’s choices in whatever environment (Hess, 2009; McKinley, 2009).
Social centers like institutions have been a major contributor while establishing the indulgence of juveniles in criminal activity. Institutions usually expose juveniles to new surroundings. At this point, juveniles meet new peers with diverse socialization background. The collaborative atmosphere in these institutions introduces juveniles to various groups and other levels of socialization. Definitely, the authority in the institutions monitors the juveniles’ behavior. However, rowdy and unruly cases still emerges among the different learners in the school environment. The nature of discipline employed by the administrators in these institutions plays a great role in combating the delinquent behavior (McKinley, 2009).
Employment is another factor that influences the ability of a juvenile to engage in delinquent behavior. Employment could not actually be a positive engagement for juveniles. Employed and busy juveniles at the work place could still indulge in criminal activities. Seemingly, the youths who are employed usually have a lot of time from their home. Their position of owning money and peer influence some times does not add an attractive picture on their behavior. The juveniles are most likely to get involved in alcohol, drugs and taking cigarettes. The sociology of juvenile delinquency and lay coupled with empirical research study on law and legal institutions are very synonymous. A good number of the youths who seemingly are responsible could be proved otherwise by the sociology law in these law and legal institutions. Thus, socialization in the sector of employment has various effects on the different young people. Juveniles who do not work may indulge in crime because of idling out. All the same, others see employment as a factor that can really worsen matters on delinquency among juveniles. That notwithstanding, this also depends on specific person and the people ho influence that specific person. This could be the close associates at the workplace, at home or deep in the society.
When there is a vested interested in a society, the chance remains high for juveniles in the vicinity to abstain from crime activity. There is always a sense of responsibility and accountability to the society parents and the people wholly to hold the young people accountable for their actions. Stands are normally given out against the individuals who do not strictly comply. Collective efficacy is a very important aspect while dealing with the delinquent behaviors of the juveniles in the society. This is the anticipation by the community residents to take part in the juveniles’ correction process. When the society makes unanimous decrees and remains united in the process of holding the society fabric, the young people are less likely going to indulge in crime activities. The individuals and the society taking part in the affairs of the troubled youth may be a deterrent to delinquency among them.
However, there is a link that is usually there between an increase in unemployment and poverty to elevated crime records among the juveniles. The figures could be found staggering in a number of states and nations. The records take into account such crimes that are not thought to be violent. Juveniles have also been found to have taken part in the non-violent crimes. There is an empirical data showing that young men have a high likelihood of engaging in crime activity than the female juveniles. Some other juveniles would get into criminology if things like drugs, alcohol and firearm were easily obtainable (McKinley, 2009). The nation thus has a very imperative role to play in dealing with this situation. While the parent’s effort is considered a good approach, the efforts by the government can well supplement them. Juvenile delinquency has been found similar in a variety of cultures.
Interventions to Juvenile Delinquency
The connection between the support and control of the guardians and/or parents has an immense influence on the issues of delinquent behavior. The efficacy of the parents generalizes the absolute efficacy of the societies and the neighborhood. The parents in a specific family normally have various abilities and opinions on the best ways of restricting child delinquent mannerisms. Indirect controls implemented by the parents as a way of attachment and other direct controls used like supervisions and rules are very useful. The parents’ support emotionally and reliability are also useful in dealing with the troubled juveniles. The attachment of juveniles to their parents, rules laid out in the household and parental supervision are deemed to have a positive outcome on the delinquent behavior of the child. Delinquency relates inversely with the support that is usually given to the juvenile. The control and support from the parents combine well in dealing with delinquency. It is a very unique methodology that has yielded good results in the past. Parents having a history attachment to their children by controlling and supporting them have had few cases of delinquency in their juveniles. A considerable amount of time is needed to effect some changes. The ability to change an effort that is achievable depends on the commitment on the desired change.
The parent’s responsibility in handling delinquency among the juveniles is mostly ignored. Parents are required to actively participate in the society’s desire to curb and deal with juvenile delinquency. The foundation and the child’s socialization into the society usually commence at the family level and this is where the child needs to get everything right. All the same, the contemporary society has had little emphasis on this subject. The parent’s role and responsibility is required in formulating the right procedure of handling the delinquent behaviors of the children. The parents’ involvement is expected to produce great results (McKinley, 2009).
Many central governments have not put in place a separate justice system for the juveniles. This is something that the state and local government has established. Thus under the federal law, and in the procedure of specific circumstances as explained clearly in law, a young individual may be tried similarly to an adult. Such interventions in dealing with the delinquent behavior of the juvenile have been a major issue. There is a lot to be desired in the juvenile system of justice. A lot of people have felt that there is a need to separate these systems of justice. The young people must face the law in different court rooms from the adults. This effort has been successfully implemented in some places. However, there is much communication and support needed to help establish the same in some regions which are still struggling.
Feasibility of Interventions
There have been many efforts that researchers have tried to described and handle juvenile delinquency. The issues experienced with juveniles certainly have a solution as proposed by researchers. A broad approach in dealing with the issues has concentrated in defining the cause of the juvenile troubles. Juvenile delinquency has thus been rooted in different issues as discussed by schools of thought and scholars. Established theories define the causes of juveenile criminal activity in an effort of getting the efficacious intervention to handle it. For example, the inability of the juveniles to achieve a valued status in the society and objectives amounts to the creation of deviant gatherings and subcultures with delinquent values, norms and practices. Scholars refer to this as a sub-cultural theory. Based on this stand, scholars and the community at large have a feeling that juvenile crime will be dealt with amicably by assisting the young achieve this anticipated social status. All the same, research has proved that even after achieving this social status valued in the society, the youth still were found in crime. The approach cannot alone be used as a very succinct way of curbing delinquency amongst the juveniles (Hess, 2009).
In another move put in place by scholars, the behavior of the human race is said to be observable and beyond social creation. The theory states that behavior assumes value. It includes social disorganization theory as well as anomie theory. The theories have emerged through a number of traditions and cultures of research even though they have the same theme. The belief in these theories is that where there is little cohesion observed, group integration, solidarity, and society deviance, the rate of crime will increase. Ensuring a balance of these said factors has also not sufficed. Juvenile delinquency has still been traced in societies which have implemented these elements.
Differential association theory deals with adolescents in a setting of a group and emphasizes on the manner in which peer pressure and the existence of gangs could lead the people into delinquent behavior. The belief in this theory is that the juveniles in the society become motivated to acts of criminology through their delinquent associates and gain the same crime ideas within the circles. Therefore, knowledge alone is not enough. Juvenile delinquents carry on the tendency as they seek to be recognized in the society through peer pressure and the use of drugs (McGarrell, 1988). Research has shown that juveniles can still get involved in crime the same way as adults do. All the same, this is not an implication that juveniles will be permitted to engage in crime by being adults. These theories have not highlighted such issues. The theories found by research have only dealt with trivial issues instead of highlighting the main cause of the societal problems occasioned by juvenile delinquent behaviors. There is quite a number of people’s background which shows signs of future behavior. These offences regarded as nuisance by the enforcers of law are rarely treated with the concern required.
Labeling theory in matters of juvenile crime deals with the consequences brought about by stigmas or such labels found on juveniles. This theory asserts that the society stigmatizes the young people by attaching labels on them. The theory was, initially thought to be a source of intimidation to the juveniles which would consequently make them shy away from delinquency. Unfortunately, the theory of labeling has caused perpetual negative images for the adolescents who later grew up into a self image which is not appropriate for behavioral correction. A court of law and other agencies label the family which such adolescents, the supervisors, peers and others with degradation ceremonies. These ceremonies include a hearing of suspension with a school dean or with the school head, a court trial or family punishment (McGarrell, 1988). All these evidently show that juveniles become crime through external forces and not necessarily alone. The measures taken up in the process are entirely reactive. There could be better ways which would greatly impact on curbing delinquency amongst juveniles as outlined below.
Future Juvenile Justice
The traditional approaches employed in dealing with juvenile crime have worked but not fully satisfactory. Based on this information, better intervention strategies can predicted over the coming two decades. Proactive measures other than reactive approaches are believed to deal with the juvenile issues amicably. To save the society from the ravages of juvenile crime, proactive measures will play a significant role. The method seeks to educate the juveniles as it cases an effect on them directing on the adult the society yearns for. Our communities stand a good position of making better citizens. This can be achieved through children socialization to the society (Jenson, 1998). The learning institutions are becoming overwhelmingly unmanageable. In the modern world trends, factors influencing college enrollment and the benefits that ultimately befit such investments should be coupled with efforts of handling vulnerable juveniles amidst their peers. The community has been let loose. This is an absolute misconception on what the activists of human rights refer to as children rights. With these new developments, the society should be made aware that every right and freedom comes along with certain limits. Generally, reduction of juvenile crime will see the provision of a variety of options to institutionalization Galvin & Polk, 2011). There is a likelihood that juvenile will finally be tried in courts of their own fully. Some activities like mental check ups will precede the trials in most cases. Research has shown that juveniles with disturbed minds will indulge in crime to escape reality. Thus, a series of steps will be followed before reaching final decisions on the juvenile cases in future.