Juvenile delinquency

6 June 2016

Do we still have hope? Our future is in the hands of the young children who are growing up to be delinquents. Delinquency is when a juvenile has engaged in a criminal act and this problem has become a social norm for youth in the United States. Undisciplined children are those beyond parental control. Some of these children feel untouchable because their parents have no type of control over them. These are the type of children who are more likely to engage in criminal activities. Other children who would most likely fall into delinquency are dependent children, neglected children and abused children. It is important to keep in mind that children are very vulnerable in every stage of their childhood; there is no such thing as a mature child.

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Every child needs the love and nurture from a parent because Parents play a big role in a child’s life; they are the key to success for a child’s future. Unfortunately, not every child has both parents to care and provide for them. Are drugs responsible for youth gangs and violent crimes in the United States? Drug abuse is the most common offense amongst juveniles in US society, because of the high rates of drug trafficking in urban cities (Decker, 1999). Are there any other causes besides drugs that contribute to juvenile delinquency? There are many underlying causes that can contribute to youth delinquency. For Example, Loose laws regarding guns, drugs and violence can lead to delinquency. In my research I will compare juvenile delinquency in the city of Lawrence which has a high crime rate with two other areas like Lowell, has similar environmental features to Lawrence.

The second area is Methuen, which is a more suburban district but urban at the same time and has different characteristics to Lawrence. Local authorities and kid clubs should invest more time in properly educating the children on dealing with peer pressure, drug and substance abuse, and with how to deal with their surroundings. The state should also get involved and enact a two strikes rule in which any child 18 and under, who becomes involved in criminal activities and is arrested more than once, will immediately become custody of the state.

Once the child is in custody of the state they will be sent through a behavioral correctional program and other strict programs such as boot camps in order to reform the child. In the end, parents and society need to change their attitudes about youth violence. For young children to survive in this new world parents and other adults need to understand children’s needs and emotional background in order to help them grow up to be virtuous and good people.

Juvenile delinquency has become a trend amongst the youth; there are several factors that contribute to this behavior that has become an epidemic. Some examples include failure to individuality, lack of supervision and guidance from parents, drugs and alcohol consumption. Juveniles often times are influenced by friends and peers, according to Sharpe in her research (2003). The number of friends determines the involvement of a juvenile in delinquency. Studies have shown that family has a great impact in a child’s life, family influences a Childs attitudes, socialization and decision- making. It is hypothesized that adolescents who lack family guidance will participate in criminal activities.

The juvenile will try to seek in the streets and in groups what he or she can’t find at home. According to Ellen Grinney, 60% and 80% of children that run away from their homes in the United States are due to abuse (p.58).Children need love and order, someone who can discipline them and also care for them. A person who is going to tuck them in their beds every night, a person who helps them with their home work, a person who washes their wounds and a person who says I love you every now and then. Children need attention and understanding from both parents. Most teenagers who have antisocial behavior are usually frustrated because they couldn’t fulfill their parent’s expectations Ellen Grinney, (63). Parents have great influence with their kids since children imitate their parents at a young age.

Culture and the environment are also crucial in a child’s behavior. A child reared in a wealthy environment taking piano lessons and having his or her mother at home helping him or her with their homework has a greater chance of becoming someone in life and a virtuous person with many talents and attributes. Compared to a child being raised in the projects having to go home and watch television, kids do learn a lot from televised programs but not important things that would help them in school. Like another example the child who comes home from school and instead of doing his or her homework goes out to play with the neighbors or comes home to a drunken parent. three examples are examples of different environments and child rearing. Drugs are a major factor in a child’s development.

Drugs weren’t as usual thirty years ago as it is now. (Decker, 1999) Drugs are all over the nation you can find any kind of drug in every city and in all the ghettos of the United States. It is scary how common drugs are they are obtainable to kids of any age. It is becoming so common that in some states of the U.S an ounce of marijuana is legal to carry if it is for medical usage but how are they going to prove that the person who carries is not using it for medical reasons. This is a big controversy because I wouldn’t want my kids to grow up in this society with these types of social norms. I feel that this is saying that it is OK for people to use marijuana. Technology is so advanced in this time that there is no need for a drug to be legalized for medical usage there are many different methods that can be used for whatever marijuana is being used for. In a research article by Sharpe (2004) children between the age group of 10-15 were being, investigated, one specific question was addressed for guiding the study would the age group 10-15 who were first time offenders reoffend in the future?

The focus of the investigation was the ages, time of the offense, gender and race. juveniles who had previous history with the law have been proven to be strong prediction of future re offending. Juveniles who don’t have a history with the law enforcement are less likely to commit a crime. The results in this study supported the hypothesis. 13.7 years was the average age of the juveniles at the time of the first offense, the majority of the juveniles were males and 58% were Caucasian. (Sharpe 2004) Next, the topic of gangs in relation to juvenile delinquency is addressed to poor education. In Sharpe’s research she states that juvenile delinquency has an association with gangs. A child who is lacking love and support from the family will find it in a gang; The gang then becomes the surrogate family. The focus of the study was to investigate the exposure of multiple risk factors within the juvenile’s environment. The National Gang Crime Research Center conducted a 100- item questionnaire in which the questions focused on all aspects of gang life. The results indicated that environment and risk factors differed according to the individual’s age. (Sharpe)

The research design being utilized is idiographic where it will seek to find a direct relationship between juvenile delinquency and a number of factors. These factors include a family’s nucleus, socio-economic class, peer pressure and (a) parent’s direct involvement on the child’s life. The population of the study will include various rehabilitation youth center from geographically adjacent towns that are similar in their composition but differ somewhat in their social-economic stratum. By utilizing this population, we will eliminate the hesitation that a juvenile that has not gone through such a program may have in answering these questions. Using these locations will allow us to maintain some variables unchanged while observing other variables fluctuate and coming to conclusions as to what can be considered a dependent variable; in essence determining if a change in one variable the cause for a result or is it just mere coincidence.

The instrument for data collection is a questionnaire made up of ten questions. The survey’s intent is to collect data that is quantifiable and would eliminate subjectivity on the answers. Most questions will inquire to obtain data that will be attributed to the person’s variables. Some of the variables are straight forward and are limited to one or two choices; sex, race and age. Variables also include the composition of the child’s immediate family or caretaker, single parent or not, parent(s) educational level and the parent(s) income. These variables are easily measured and their answers will be non-subjective and their objective is to determine how much of a factor is a parent’s involvement in a juvenile’s life is a deterrent for criminal activity.

Other variables, such as the family’s drug abuse history, are not as easily quantifiable and may have an innate bias but these variables used to try to clarify if a history of use/abuse by close family members to the juvenile creates a cycle where the juvenile will result to gangs and drug abuse. Lastly, the questionnaire will address the pressure exerted by his/her peers and how likely, if at all, this would be consider to be a determinant factor for a juvenile to commit a crime. The sampling pool should consist of an equal number of participants from each location. Age range and sex of the participant should be consistent within the sampling group and throughout the population. Participants will be given the same questionnaire and their answers will be recorded. Data will be analyzed through quantitative analysis, mean, percentages etc. Strong dependent relationships between variables will be measured according to the percentage that one variable will cause the other. For instance, if variable X occurs than there is a 45% chance of variable Y.

On the conclusion section of this research we would compare the findings based on the data collected versus what was expected. Since obtaining data that is easily measured was one of my main criteria while designing the survey, it should be easy to obtain non- bias information and to come to conclusions as to what hypothesis would be correct, what variables matter and which ones are not as much of a factor. Societal impact of the findings should be discussed as well.

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