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Preventing Juvenile Delinquency

Info: 7483 words (30 pages) Dissertation
Published: 9th Dec 2019

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Tagged: Social WorkYoung People

Juvenile delinquency can cycle into a youth becoming a repetitive adult criminal offender; however, through prevention, intervention, awareness, and behavior reform, a juvenile can be rehabilitated before or during early adulthood.  Juvenile delinquents often form lasting negative behavior patterns which transcend into adulthood. If the negative patterns are not redirected, the juveniles will continue to exhibit criminal behavior as they transition later in life.  Many of them will go through the rehabilitation process; unfortunately, they may still continue to have a repetitive cycle of criminal behavior well into adulthood.  As generations pass, the violence and commission of crimes by adolescents are increasing, these young people are starting to access weapons and commit more sever violations, such as homicide (Unites States Department of Justice, 1997).  As these statistics rise, the issues surrounding juvenile delinquency have grown into becoming a nationwide concern.  The Department of justice states, juvenile delinquency is defined by the United States Department of Justice as a characterized juvenile enacting behavior which is beyond the scope of parental control and is subject to legal action for violations of law.  These young individuals are grouped as those persons being under the age of eighteen; however, some cases grouped within this category include individuals between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one.  These individuals are ones who commit crimes before his or her eighteenth birthday.  These types of juveniles often display behaviors which lead to repetitive violations of the law and continue a trend of a negative lifestyle.  Once the juvenile reaches adulthood, they can often remain in this delinquent behavior and be charged as an adult for their violations.  The United States Department of Justice does state that some juvenile’s crimes are so severe, that the felony could be transferred to adult courts; this is also the case for young adults who have repetitive felonies, also known as juvenile repeat offenders.  Repeat offenders is defined by the DOJ as a juveniles who have reached their sixteenth birthday and have been involved or charged with felonies which include violence, drugs, or other dangerous crimes (United States Department of Justice, 2018).  When this is the case for a minor, then the case could be transferred through the proper procedures to an adult court system.  When an adult violates laws, commits a crime, and a convicted, they are then known as an adult offender.  The criminal lifestyles of juveniles may lead them into becoming an adult offender.  This is due to the cycling of criminal behavior from adolescence to adulthood.  This sequence of offences and poor behavior can be prevented if proper measures are taken by the juvenile before he or she becomes an adult.  Juvenile delinquents are able to prevent themselves from becoming adult statistics by undergoing the necessary steps of rehabilitation.  For this reason, it is important for prevention methods to be available to be utilized by young adults.  Understanding the root cause of juveniles becoming delinquent plays a vital role in understanding the issues surrounding the youth and leading into a lifestyle of delinquency.  If one is able to understand these contributable issues, they juvenile can then be redirected through prevention programs, intervention methods, and treatment for mental illness.  Through these methods, the negative behavior may begin to reform, if this occurs before adulthood, one is able to begin preventative measures of reoccurring acts and begin a path of positivity and best practices.

Poverty can be defined as the state of one being extremely poor.  Poverty plays an essential role in juveniles becoming delinquent.  There are many children around the world that are surrounded by many different facets of life which are effects of the causes of their environment. There has been a vast amount of research which shows how different environments can provide an enormous amount of influence on the behavior of teenagers.  Teenagers are becoming easily influenced by their surroundings and they seem to look to at other places for direction; however, these alternative directions may not always be in the best interest of the teen.  Statics shows that sixty percent of juvenile delinquents were on government assistants programs and their annual income per household was less than twenty thousand dollars a year.  Children from low-income families seem to have higher peer pressure issues, which leads to poor decision making and desiring to maintain the latest urban trends.  Many families around the world may also experience financial hardship, but those who consistently experience poverty, may meet more challenges behind it.  “Mostly juvenile delinquents who have poor family background or poor parenting attitude also have poor self-concept” (Steinberg, 2011).  There are many children around the world who are faced with the adversity of being poor.  Parents with low-income jobs usually stay in the poorest neighborhoods.  The factors which lead a child’s behaviour towards delinquency are very obscure. Poverty, unhappy home, parent’s rejection and neglecting attitude may lead juvenile delinquency (Hare, 1999). Often time parents of low-income family try to find ways to provide for their family, and sometimes this is by any means necessary.  Since there is no one there to give young people guidance; therefore, this gives young adults the opportunity to get in trouble, not focus on their studies, not do their homework, or even develop criminal behavior. Juvenile delinquents often become impatient while in their current situations; thus, when they continuously experience hardships, they become victims of poverty.  Their situations prevent them from seeing the future and having a positive outlook on their situations.  Once a juvenile becomes engulfed in their environment, it becomes harder for them to turn away from their negative lifestyles and refocus on things that are positive.  These types of individuals should be focused on not having the necessities of life, but rather focusing on not causing their parents problems, getting an education, doing their homework, reading, and studying so they can get good grades and trying to go to college so they cannot let history repeat it self and become an successful adult.(Quote).

Children who grow up poor are more likely to be poor when they become an adult or experience some type of financial hardship, probably due to lack of understanding of financial responsibility or not having enough skills or education to get a job which makes more than minimum wage.  Poverty has disadvantages, mainly due to children who have not asked to be impoverished, but they are born into it and eventually have to adapt to a certain way of living for survival.  The problem occurs when children who become victims of their environment begin to start making negative choices, which leads to starting a life of criminal behavior.  Some theorist suggests that only 1% of children are never poor end up being poor as young adults 32% of poor children become model citizens as an adult. (Ratcliff & McKernan, 2010).  Children who grow up in poverty experience more hardships and have less exposure to educational opportunities and advancements than those who are of middle or high socioeconomic status.  Some parents of juvenile delinquents who expreince poverty often have completed fewer years of school, and often times did not finish high school. Due to lack of educations, many of these parents can only get jobs paying minimum wages.  This causes a cycle effect of not always being able to cover all their bills and they usually receive some type of government assistance, such as food stamps, Medicaid, and/or WIC.  Case studies link poverty to several health issues in low-income families. These are examples of disadvantages that may occur, this added to the stress levels that children may have due to them being poor and living in the poorest neighborhoods.

Children experiencing  the violence and other criminal activity that are usually associated with poor neighborhoods, such as, selling and using of drugs, murder robbery, sexual activities, rape, prostitution, and sex trafficking.  When trying to establish preventive methods of juvenile delinquent repeating criminal behavior, socioeconomic status plays a vital role in a juvenile becoming delinquent.  This may be due to the amount of money a family makes and were they live, is also a contributing factor. Educational status on how one fits into the communities is another factor, “research suggests that children raised in supportive, affectionate and accepting home environment are less likely to become socially deviant. Consequently, children rejected by parents are among the most likely to become delinquent. Negative family conditions and delinquent peers are seen as significant contributors in the development of drug misuse behavior. Understanding this complex relationship is important for prevention programs and policy makers” (Hussain, Batool, Khan, & Bajwa, 2017). Understanding the role of poverty plays an essential role in the criminal justice system being able to help establish the root cause of the conditions of a juvenile delinquent, as well as trying to come up with some positive and preventive ways to help.  These methods may stop them from becoming repeat criminal offenders.  This is based on the fact that in order to help someone, one must first understand the position that the individuals were in when they chose to make the mistake.  This understanding leads to knowing how to find the correct methods to treat them, as well as coming up with better options and choices for that individual. “A substantial body of research as clearly shown that young children with early-onset behavioral problems ae at significantly greater risk of having severe antisocial difficulties, academic underachievement, school dropouts, violence, and drug abuse in adolescence and adulthood” (Webster-Stratton & Herman,2012).

Some children who are growing up in poverty make the only choice that feel they have and that is often based on the means to survive by any means necessary, whether their actions are good or bad.  Most juvenile delinquents have experience some type of hurt due to poverty, such as not being able to obtain the latest sneakers, purse, or the hottest items which makes one feel cool and be able to fit in with the popular make kids.  When a child is unable to afford such desires, they will tend make bad choices; such as joining a gang, which may offer one things that mom and dad may not be able to afford.  Unfortunately, most gangs are involved in criminal activity and have many negative aspects.

Abuse is also a contributing factor to children becoming delinquent.  Abuses such as mental and physical abuse, which is often untreated.  These experiences are often untreated because of fear or self-inflicting guilt due to their situation. Without the proper treatment and therapy, it may cause the child to act out, seek attention from negative influences, as their only way of asking for help.  This can lead to them misbehaving or acting out by breaking the law because they are seeking attention that they may not get at home.  Often time the children are put into a position where they do not know how to ask for help or they do not have guidance which will lead them in the right direction.  Families that are less fortunate may not be able to get proper healthcare that is available to others, or they may not know how to recognize when a child has a mental health issue.  Most people think that ADHD and autism are the only mental health issues that can be detected in children, but that could not be further from the truth. In fact, “The Juvenile Justice System has estimated about 59 to 75 percent of the 2 million youth to have encountered some type of mental health disorder” (Losen,2003).  The most commonly found mental health issue in the juvenile justice system are affective disorder which causes major depression, persistent depression and manic episodes.  Another disorder is psychotic disorders, which is rare in younger children, but it could become evident in later teenage years, up until the young adult stage.  However, some delinquents may express some symptoms of psychotic disorder at a young age.  Situation a child faces may induce anxiety disorders, which may consist of panic attacks.  Separation anxiety may occur as well; this could be stimulated from parental divorce or death of a loved one. Stress could also be a contributing factor, or other issues such as depression, being bipolar, or other mental issues has some type of effect on the way a child may behave. Families that do not have to suffer from poverty children may have better opportunities to go to college and are less likely to join a gang or experience an atmosphere with some type of violence.  It seems that they may have less stress, as well as a higher self-esteem, they may possess more optimal advances in a positive future.  This is much more over a child who lives in poverty and are under duress, and who deal with social problems, depression, and anxiety from being from a social class that may affect the family stability status.  Families who live in poverty are more than likely dealing with issues where they may express some type of violence, class and race division and have a greater risk of becoming a victim or developing criminal behavior. However, a great environment and a strong parent-child bond has always reduced the chances of a child becoming a juvenile delinquent or even keeping them form creating bad behavior.

Child abuse can happen to anyone no matter, the race, social status, or gender because it does not discriminate.  Many theories indicate that if a child is abuse in his or her first five years of life may have a greater chance in being arrested or becoming violent, as well as themselves becoming abusive.  This may lead to them becoming a juvenile delinquent. Child abuse happens every day it is something that no child should ever have to experience, but it is becoming a normal hateful act.  These situations sometimes goes unreported and the child never tells what has happened until months, or even years after the act.  The child may feel ashamed of their situation or have resentment that it even happened, in the first place.  When a child is abused, it effects their sociological well-being and often time it messes with their emotional behavior.  They may begin to act differently around certain genders, different groups or even family members. Although, there are many types of abuse that children may face, mainly mental, sexual and physical abuse may cause a child to misbehave or even cause criminal behavior.

Mental abuse towards a child can be defined as any emotional and psychological abuse such as behaviors, speech and actions of parent, grandparents, babysitter or even siblings (United States Department of Justice, 2018).  Many times a child may not obey or adhere to the parent’s expectations and they may scold them, with negative phrases by telling them they are no good.  They may even use swear words or things of that nature, which may cause emotional damage to a child.  This often times will leave them to believe that the do not matter, this mental hardship may trigger an emotional effect; such as, depression.  Depression may lead to them having suicidal thoughts of hurting themselves or even hurting someone else.  Some signs go undetected, this is unfortunate because a child who is affected from emotional abuse can lead to feelings of hatred for their parents or even being fearful of them.  They can also begin to start to believe the abuse, which could lead to self-hatred.  They can start to see themselves in a negative aspect, such as saying that they hate themselves, believing they are fat, or that they are not good enough. Sometimes if the abuse is severe, it may affect the speech and cause them to stutter.

Parental physical abuse is when a child experiences abuse caused by a parent or guardian.  This abuse causes physical harm to a child and leaves bodily injury, such as, black eyes, broken bones, and sexual abuse also a part of physical abuse. One may say they are only disciplining their child, but there are certain boundaries that may seem excessive and causing harm is big different in discipline and physical abuse. These actions may cause a juvenile to become delinquent, they may begin to act out, run away from home, commit truancy acts, or may even cause them to terrorized other students and/or siblings.  These victims may developed anger issues and begin to make bad decisions.  The sad thing is, the juvenile may never know what is going to make the parent angry, but understand that usually the more angry the parent gets, the more harm they may cause towards the child. This may cause them to drop out of school or even become a parent at an early age. “Statics show that the abused or neglected participants were also 53% more likely to have been arrested as a juvenile. Physical abuse was more likely to lead to subsequent arrest for a violent crime” (Windom, 1992).

Sexual abuse is when some has sex with a child who is under the age of 18.  This is any form of inappropriate contact.  This type of abuse may cause lasting damage in a child.  It is an abuse that can never be forgotten and it stays and hunts you for the rest of your life.  It may cause self-loathing, or it may make one ashamed and even at times make a child feel guilty.  A child may be so embarrassed and afraid, that it makes it very difficult for them to arise and come forward to let the proper people know about this heinous act.   Parent who are in disbelief of sexual abuse allegations may accuse the victim of false accusations, which is another worry that the victim possess, a feeling that nobody will believe them. Children who become sexually abused are less likely to finish school or go college, because they have to deal with so much emotional burden.  This violation may cause depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and social awkwardness.  Often times, they may feel like they are not fitting in social groups, and sometimes even become angry and wonder why they had to go through such violation.  Understanding the level of abuse is very important when helping a juvenile delinquent deal with some of their issues, it can lead to the proper treatment, as well as, therapy to help them stop making bad choices based on the level of hurt that another person has inflicted.

When a juvenile is still at a stage of trying to learn and trying to figure out what is wrong and why it is wrong, these are disadvantages to a juvenile delinquent being abuse at a young age.  Whether abuse is mental, physical, or even sexual, it is something that you will never forget, and it tends to make one act in various ways.  Without the proper support and treatment, a juvenile may become delinquent due to reacting to the abuse in different ways.  Being abused does not go away, one can only suppress it and learn to live with it well into adulthood.  This may cause one to act a certain way, even years after the act has occurred. Counselling and treatment are needed, without the proper treatment a juvenile can become a harm to society, as well as themselves.  For these reasons, these types of abuses should always be treated.

Truancy can be defined as the action of a student having multiple unexcused absences, in some cases even skipping class. Students are required to attend a certain amount of days of school until a certain age, where at that age they are allowed to legally drop out of school.  This act is intentional and is chosen at a student’s own free will.  Not going to class is often times a choice, and may result in a student having poor grades.  Poor grades has a cycle effect and will keep the student from graduating and not receiving the proper credits, one may need to graduate. Schools around the globe have experienced a high number of dropout rates which were linked to juvenile delinquents. Statics show that high school dropouts usually end of in juvenile correctional institutions. According to Henry, “truancy can have harmful and injurious effects on a student’s educational endeavors; worse, truancy affects everyone in the community because of increased acts of delinquency, higher crime rates, increased unplanned pregnancies, increased juvenile student and infant welfare rolls, increased absentee student fathers who are unable to financially and emotionally support their children, and an increased unskilled labor market” (2007).  Truancy among peers of juvenile delinquents may be considered cool.  However, this choice is negative because not staying in school causes more harm than good and may lead to more opportunities to cause harm or get into different forms of trouble.  Often times, delinquents or their parents may have to pay a fine for truancy, or the student may be remanded into an alternative school.  If one misses too many days, credits maybe made up during summer alternative courses, this will alleviate the time in school one has missed.  When a student misses classes several times, it may become clear to parents and teachers that one may have dropped out of school.

Education is very important to establishing preventive methods to helping juvenile delinquents stop criminal activity. It helps them to stay focus and complete their goal of graduating from high school and maybe even go to college.  These heathy choices may allow for one to get a good job and provide for the families and not repeat the cycle of poverty or be forced to live in bad neighborhoods, often times a place where trouble may be bred.  Getting an education can be essential to an induvial to be allowed opportunities for success. Juvenile delinquents who finish high school or stay in school for that matter have a lower risk in continuing criminal activity.  Nevertheless, we all make mistakes, but just because a juvenile delinquent gets into trouble does not mean they do not have a chance to get an education.  This is partly due to rehabilitation programs that offer classes.  Examples of these programs are boot camps, juvenile detention center, and alternative schools.  Without an education, the only jobs that may be offered to a juvenile may be a minimum-wage job, many times these types of jobs will not pay much and may lead to them being involved in criminal activity. Learning basic general education studies, such as reading, writing, and math; will help them when they enter adulthood.  Without these educational tools, the skillsets they will possess will not be beneficial and may cause them be unsuccessful.  Education aids in reassuring long-term success of re-entry into society, once a juvenile has been in the system.  Sometimes delinquents enter the juvenile justice system with only an elementary level education.  These individuals may have difficulty in areas of communication and understanding basic skill or commands given to them. While incarcerated, they may find difficulty focusing.  This is partly due to social issues with others in the same situation and continuing to adhere to negative peer pressure.  However, it is possible to retain and education while incarcerated.  Statics show that over 60,000 youth have received and education while locked up behind bars. Often times, it takes them being incarcerated in order to help them obtain a better understanding of how helpful an education can be once they return back into society.

Redirection is an important avenue when helping a juvenile delinquent turn their life around and not continue criminal behavior before they enter adulthood.  Delinquency is a common among youth when growing to adulthood, continuous actions in this path can lead to becoming a repetitive criminal as an adult.  Young people, regardless of gender, race, or social origin are at risk.  They are often presented with so much opportunity, whether it be bad or good. As technology improves daily, there are now more resourceful resources available to help juvenile delinquents become successful adults, instead of continuing to display criminal behaviors.  After a child has committed a crime, they can be put into programs that will redirect their behavior and create more preventive methods.  This will allow for one to learn how to make better decisions, and understand there are always consequences to their actions.

Redirection should include learning to provide different methods to react to situations that they may face. Statistics of the Federal Bureau of investigations show, there are around 500,000 youths in the United States criminal justice system, adult prisons, county jails, and juvenile facilities.  Many of these individuals are on probation and parole. According, to the latest data compiled from several Department of Justice, a tenth of those are in New York and North Carolina.  These individuals who were tried at the ages of sixteen and seventeen-year-old, grouped as adults and comprise a bulk of all juvenile cases, regardless of the crime (2012). “North Carolina juvenile justice system focuses to strengthen families, promote delinquency prevention, support core social institutions, intervene immediately and effectively when delinquent behavior occurs and identify and control the small groups of serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders in the local communities”( 2012). North Carolina feels that this particular style of punishment is a successful method to keep children from being a repeat offender.  In most states, a juvenile delinquent is consider a child that commits a crime under the age of 18.  There are various states that consider a child to be tried as an adult at the age of 17 and in some instances, at the age of 15 years of age.  This law could pose a problem because many government officials feel that a child at those ages are still growing and trying to figure out the difference between what is right and what is wrong.

Juvenile mindsets are different than adult criminals in various ways, this leads to different type of behaviors and reactions. The juvenile justice system tries to incorporate methods which involves parents in the process of redirecting the adolescent. Trying to instill accountability for their own actions, and taking accountability for wrongdoing.  Ensuring appropriate youth behavior is a never ending task, which takes work, and expectations for positive behavior must be communicated throughout the process.  Providing a therapeutic culture within the home, as well as the facilities, is a key to redirection. One of the main goals of redirecting a juvenile delinquent is behavior management.  Teaching one to learn how to become disciplined and understanding the definition of acceptable behavior. Often, a delinquent may feel that they are getting punished, but in actuality they are getting disciplined.  It is important that one is able to understand the difference. Punishment is just letting them know that the unwanted behavior would not be tolerated nor allowed, but it does not ensure that the misbehavior will not reoccur. For this reason, it is important that the delinquent learns how to become disciplined and conduct themselves in various situations.

The Juvenile Justice system has designed a variety of concepts for detouring crime; this can be done regardless of the age of the individual.  There are many different types of crimes committed by young children daily, by those who are consider to be juvenile delinquents in today’s society.  Crimes that are committed by youth are theft, fraud, property crimes, forgery, and many other violent crimes.  The juvenile justice system has worked with many youths throughout the years, but there has been a lot of options geared toward correction.  The systems makes options of punishment and treatment. As time passes, the juvenile’s courts have created a process to set an age for young adults, an age that they are allowed to be treated and punished by the juvenile courts. The laws indicate that children under the age of 18 were considered a juvenile; however, this is only in some states. In other states, if a juvenile committed a serious crime like rape, murder, or robbery, the case could be transferred to criminal court and they would wave their jurisdiction and be tried in adult court.  The juvenile justice system has determine that there are various theories which play a role in preventing delinquents form becoming repeat  adult offenders.  One of them is cognitive behavior therapy, this aids in helping shape their behavior, as well as modifying thinking patterns in offenders. This specific type of therapy tries to help teach juveniles to use their thinking patterns in certain situations.  It also helps one learn how utilizing their own thinking may influence the outcome in certain situations. Cognitive behavior therapy argues that maladaptive behaviors are learned according to the same rules as normal behaviors, by means of classical and instrumental conditioning, modeling, reinforcement, generalization, and punishment (Bartol&Bartol, 2011). Studies show that cognitive behavior therapy appears to be one of the best type of treatments with reducing recidivism in juvenile delinquents. Studies also show, “juveniles who complete a cognitive-behavior program are less likely to commit and re-offend than juveniles who do not receive treatment, receive an alternative treatment, or do not complete treatment” (Przybylski, 2008).  Also, structural-functional theories regarding a delinquent’s behavior is described as the consequences of strain breakdowns in the social processes that produce conformity.  Subcultural-theory is defined as society having values and attitudes that are conducive to crime and violence.  Learning about the different theories are a key essential to help improve delinquent behavior (Przybylski, 2008).

There are some very important U.S. Supreme Court landmark cases that made an impact on juvenile delinquents.  One example is Gross v. Lopez.  This United States Supreme Court case states that a public school must conduct a hearing before subjecting a student to suspension.  If this is done without a hearing, it violates a student’s 14th amendment. Another example is Roper v. Simmons, whichis a landmark decision in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that it is unconstitutional to impose capital punishment for crimes committed while under the age of eighteen. A juvenile delinquent who commits murder and is underage would be held at the juvenile correctional facility until they are eighteen, and at that point would be transferred into and adult facility.  Normally, juvenile delinquents do not commit crimes that imposes a serious act against the Patriot Act or Homeland Security Act, unless they are imposing a terroristic threat.  These are situations such as; school shootings, which involve harming large amounts of people. Juveniles usually commit crimes like vandalism, alcohol offenses, disorderly conduct, assault, marijuana possession, curfew violations, and other less severe illegal acts. The crimes are considered to be delinquent minor crimes. Flores V. Reno is a class action suit, this lawsuit challenged the way an agency processes the apprehension and release of children.  No child under the age of eighteen who is not emancipated by the state, incarcerated due to a conviction for a criminal offense, or has an assault charge may be kept in custody.  These individuals must be released to a parent or guardian without any delay.  The Homeland Security Act states that the Department of Human Services must give jurisdiction over care and custody of unaccompanied children over to ORR, an agency that generally functions pursuant to child welfare principles. If a child is unaccompanied he or she is transferred by DHS within 72 hours (Homeland Security Act 2002).

Invention programs, such as Bullying Prevention has developed partnerships in some elementary and secondary schools.  The programs involves teacher and parents enforcing clear rules on bullying and the consequences that may come from harming another student.  Drug and substance abuse programs are usually enforced to be taken by juvenile delinquents.  These individuals have to take some classes on the negative effects of drugs and alcohol, and how they can cloud one’s judgement.  They also can be tested to see if they have consumed any drugs and alcohol. Statics show that about 77% of criminal justice involving youth; reports some type of substance abuse, such as marijuana being a main source of drug use.  Research also shows that drug related crimes are the highest in juvenile delinquent cases.  So it is very important juvenile delinquents get the proper treatment, as well as become disciplined before they re-enter society. They must learning the importance of being in the wrong environment, these types of situations could potentially cause them to relapse and return to addiction habits.  This habits are a cycle of criminal activity and could lead them to adverse negative behavior and possibly back into the juvenile justice system.

While inside of the youth facility, the correctional officer are responsible for incorporating the intervention programs.  They must make sure that every inmate takes the proper classes needed in order to help them rehabilitate.  There are officers who supervise youth who have been accused or convicted of crimes and have been assigned to a probation officer. Probation officers work with various people, such as parents, teachers, social workers, and law enforcement.  They work together so that the juveniles will have a successful rehabilitation process.   Probation also provides counselling to the offenders, this aids in changing or eliminating behavioral issues and helps the juvenile completes certain intervention programs while they are on probation.

There are various activities that have been successful in keeping delinquents form becoming repeat offenders. Some researchers suggest that children can continue to exercise criminal behavior may be linked to them having too much time on their hands.  Statics also show that children who are involved in sport activities have a lower risk of displaying delinquent behavior. There are various programs to help children feel good about themselves, as well as keep them away from violence, drugs, and alcohol.  Sports have helped create a preventive method for children by distracting them from delinquent behavior. Sports have changed many people lives by giving them a better opportunity and a different lifestyle.  There are also Boys and Girls Clubs of America, who provide competitive competition activities that keep low-income children off the streets and provide a positive environment for them to come and enjoy themselves in a positive environment.  There has been many success stories from famous athletes, who state how participating in after-school activities saved their lives and provided a different aspect of life. This is why so many athletes have had successful careers, just from playing football, basketball, baseball, or track.  The athletes try and give back to Boys and Girls Clubs of America or other different after school programs.  They do this because they realize the importance of having a facility which give to at-risk youth.  These programs need to have the proper funds to stay open for children of low-income families or for neighborhoods that have a high crime rates.  There has been a lot of research, as well as successful results that indicate that effective programs are those which aim to intervene as early as possible, focus on known risk factors, and certain behaviors when dealing with juvenile delinquents.  City parks and recreation centers are currently in disrepair for more financial support.  These programs are in need so that they will be able to provide more youth facilities and programs.  These programs are important preventative measures in helping delinquency.  Some experts have expressed that juveniles that are involved in crime and violence could be more productive, if simply they were able to relocate to areas which offered programs.  Since this is often impossible for youth, it would be more beneficial for funds to be reallocated, and allow for more programs to be accessible for youth, especially those deems at-risk.  These programs are more beneficial and have shown positive outcomes in keeping delinquents from becoming repetitive offenders.

Two careers that help juveniles with behavior reform is a social worker and juvenile probation officer.  There are three types of social workers: clinical, psychiatric, and family. A social worker supports individuals, as well as their families, and their main role is to help improve lives of others, but this sometimes the job is met with challenges.  Issues may arise for the social worker when having to with juveniles, physical and mental health issues, drug addiction, and a host of family problems.  Social workers provide solutions to these issue and they are on a case by case basis and may range from therapy to seeking outside resources for the family. It is important for them to work in conjunction within the community so that they may be able to understand the people in which they are serving.   When helping juvenile delinquents, one has to have the ability to understand their strengths and weakness, as well as help them to set obtainable goals; while working with families to set forth plans to help reach goals.

A juvenile probation officer or JPO supervises youth who have been placed on probation for a certain length of time by the courts.  They work in conjunction with lawyers, judges, and other court officials to ensure court orders are obeyed.  They work with numerous resources to help supervise and support the juvenile, in efforts to help the youth from continuing criminal behavior.  Their role is instrumental in preventing a delinquent from repeating criminal behavior.  Their main objective is to help detour juvenile delinquents from repeating poor decision and try to avoid incarceration or re-incarceration. Promoting good living habits and establishing rapport with child is instrumental in JPO career.  They may have to review reports and fins any information which may aid the court in supervising a juvenile.  Together with the juvenile’s families, they are able to help reconstruct their lives, teach the juvenile to take accountability for their choices, and guide them on the path of becoming a productive citizen.

There are many issues that hinder the social and criminal justice system.  Focus should be on the juvenile justice system, because many times that is the beginning of many adult’s criminal lifestyles.   In order for one to fully understand, one must break down the root cause of a person’s criminal behavior. Living conditions and poor environments may adversely affect some juvenile delinquents, this combined with poor parenting skills is a recipe for poor life skills.  It is very important to exercise preventative measures when a child displays patterns of delinquent behavior.  This can be done by not allowing for the child to be idle and keeping the child busy with positive activities.  When a child’s focus is redirected, they will not have time to be involved with negative activities.

Parents and teachers must work together in finding ways to prevent them from committing crimes and sparking their interest. Communication with school officials and others in the community is pivotal in parenting and staying abreast of a child’s situation.  Talking is a way for parents to establish rapport with other adults involved in their child’s lives and can be resourceful when trying to prevent misbehavior.  Once a child has been faced with difficulty in making proper decision, adults must begin to play a supportive role in guiding juveniles to desire becoming a productive person.  Parenting is a team effort, but the child must play an active role in goal setting and yearning for a better lifestyle.

Criminal behavior is the result of the poor interaction between and adolescent and their family, school, peers and situational factors in which a youth comes into contact in society. Although each delinquent has its own reason for breaking the law, according to the strain theory, society puts pressure on individuals.  This pressure is usually for one to achieve certain goals, but when a juvenile does not meet those standards, they tend to commit crimes.  It is possible with hard work, positive guidance, and determination that a delinquent child can change their life and not become a repeat offender.   It is important that parents, teacher, and others reassure them that it is okay to not be able meet certain societal pressures or to not be the most popular student.  Parents and teachers and other school officials should express to them that they should create their own goals, one which are obtainable, this often leads to youth becoming successful adults. Parents may not know the signs or what to do if a child begins to misbehave, which is why it is important for others to become involved in a child’s life.  If a child is redirected and instructed on to make good decisions, it is possible that incarceration can be prevented.   Parents should also become more involved in their child’s life, this can be done through demanding to see homework, eating family dinner together, asking questions, and just be generally concerned with daily activities. If their child is involved in after school programs, parents and guardians should encourage them, be present at their activities, and try to support them in all aspects of life. Promoting positive behavior is a good sign that the delinquent is going in the right direction.  Parents should also be aware of different environments and atmospheres which may lure their children into criminal activity.


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