We hear a child stealing an apple from the market stands, and then rob a small shop, next day we learn about a 17-year-old kid who killed his classmates. People are concerned and rightly so. That’s all what we do or maybe give them a harsh punishment. It seems that the problem has only focused on punishment and very little on prevention or intervention. There is no single cause of violence but we can certainly list a lot of risk factors, which increase the development of criminal behaviour.
These include child abuse and family disintegration, violating behavior, academic failure, school dropout, and lack of contact with the society, fighting with peers and antisocial behavior early in life. Juvenile crime rates have nearly doubled in many countries. In the news we keep hearing about youngsters got mixed up in shady affairs and committing petty crimes. What actually is a juvenile crime? Juvenile crime is a term denoting various offences committed by children or youths under the age of 18.
Such acts are sometimes referred to as juvenile delinquency. Children’s offences typically include delinquent acts, which would be considered crimes if committed by adults, and status offences, which are less serious misbehavior problems such as truancy and parental disobedience. Both are within the jurisdiction of the youth court; more serious offences committed by minors may be tried in criminal court and be subject to prison sentences. In order to reveal the real background of juvenile crime it’s obviously not enough to stop at this point.
Probably none of the young delinquents were born with hostility, rage and hatred. Their environment and our society have turned them into who they are today. Juveniles have to face the cruel sides of the world too early and they are not well prepared for it yet. Some of them are able to deal with it, some of them are not. The latter shocked by the realization will escape to the world of crimes so trying to hide themselves from all the dissatisfaction.
Young people should not be expected to have the same values and judgment as adults, therefore not the same treatment either. This is especially true if they have been the victims of poverty, neglect, and abuse. The good approach of the problem can help a lot. Young lives can be salvaged but not with incarceration. It has never been a good solution. Nevertheless developing more programs’ to prevent these children entering the juvenile justice system would be far more effective and less costly.