Delinquent and criminal behavior Essay

As the world is growing and developing, delinquent and criminal behavior among young people also increase at the same pace and it has become more and more complex and confusing. In this coursework, this issue is examined, some basic assumption relating to juvenile delinquency are presented, followed by a description of various factors underlying and causes that are contributing to this phenomenon. Effective approaches and measures for preventing juvenile delinquency and solutions and restorative justice to both perpetrators and victims are suggested. Some regional variations and comparative facts among different countries are highlighted. This coursework ends with a case study and concludes with a summary and recommendations for future actions.

Juvenile delinquencies have been increasing recently as evidenced by newspaper reports and raise a lot of concern among the parents, public, government, as well as the law enforcement officers. This issue shall not be neglected as youth and adolescences are the national assets and they are the leaders of our country in the future.

In general, juvenile delinquency refers to the antisocial or criminal activity of minors and which violates the law or commits a status offense (Joseph, 1995). The upper legal age for juvenile may be varied depends on different states and countries, or even gender. In Malaysia, the legal juvenile age is 21 years old and below, according to the Prison Act 1995. However, serious crimes and repeated offenses can result in sentencing juvenile offenders to prison.

Juvenile delinquency can be divided into two categories, first is acts or omissions which are prohibited by law under the respective legal system, and another one is acts which are known as status offense (Hussin, 2005). The acts that are prohibited by law under the respective legal system are those that is being exposed to moral danger such as girl’s involvement in prostitution, drugs consuming, robbery and etc. In true context, if these activities are committed by adults, it is considered as a crime and may be sentenced to prison. A ‘status offense’ is the illegal behavior of a minor although that same behavior would not be criminal if committed by an adult. Such offenses include sexual behavior, alcohol consumption, running away, and truancy (Rose, 2000).

Juvenile Delinquency in Malaysia

In Malaysia, the statistics recorded that there were 14691 juveniles who were arrested for the committing offences through the year 2002 until November 2004, i.e. the average of 420 cases per month and 14 cases per day. Last year, 3629 students aged between 13 and 18, were arrested for various crimes – 388 more compared to 2007.

Statistics above shows the seriousness of delinquent in Malaysia and apparently it is consistently on the rise from time to time. Moreover, the actual number of cases is estimated to be much higher than reported. Although much has been said and debated, it has not received its due attention.

Some Regional Aspects of Delinquency

Some aspects of juvenile delinquency are universal as it will be the same whichever country it is, others may be vary from one region to another. As a rule, it is very important to understand the cultural contexts in understanding the causes of juvenile delinquency, and also develop culturally appropriate measures to deal with it.

In Africa, the mains reason of juvenile delinquency will be hunger, poverty, mal-nutrition, and also unemployment. Every year, there will be about 790,000 people enter the labor market, but there are only 60,000 jobs generated by the economy. One half of the Africans are living in poverty, and many of the urban poor lives in slum and squatter settlements with overcrowded, unhealthy housing and lacking of basic services. This is the place where a lot of youth and children stays and it leads to several juvenile crime such as theft, robbery, smuggling, prostitution, the abuse of narcotic substance, and drug trafficking.

In Asian countries, Juvenile delinquencies are largely urban phenomena. According to the statistic, as is true elsewhere, young people constitute the most criminally active segment of the population. The most serious crime that is commit by youth of the region are the rise in the number of violent acts, the increase in drug-related offences, and the marked growth in female juvenile delinquency. The financial crisis that hit some of the Asian countries in the late 1990s created economic stagnation and contraction, leading to large-scale youth unemployment. For a lot of young people, this meant a loss of identity and the opportunity for self-actualization.

Some countries that is located near or within the ‘Golden Crescent’ or the ‘Golden Triangle’, the two major narcotics-producing areas in Asia, are facing great difficulty as traffickers actively involve adolescents and youth in serving this industry, and many of them become addicted to drugs because of their low prices and easy availability. Another major problem is human trafficking.

In Latin America, the main reason for juvenile delinquency is linked to the problem of debt crisis in the region, evidenced by the extremely high unemployment rates prevailing within this group. Juvenile delinquency is particularly acute and is often associated with the problem of homelessness among children and adolescents.

Causes of Juvenile Delinquency

Family Issues

The number of single parents is a factor which has shown to have an influence on the proportions of teen crimes. The family character is a strong example of responsibility, loyalty, honesty, and commitment. The number of single parents out there is on a rise. Situations may vary from separation, divorce, to children born out of marriage. Studies have shown that broken homes often influence teenage crimes.

The children who receive suitable parental supervision are less likely to engage in criminal activities. Family settings dysfunctional characterized by conflict, inadequate parental control, integration, and premature autonomy are closely associated with juvenile delinquency. Families that have few opportunities for legitimate employment and face a higher risk of social exclusion are overrepresented among offenders for the children. The countries in transition are facing particular challenges in this respect with the associated insecurity. These are contributing to increase in the numbers of children and juveniles neglected by their parents and suffering abuse and violence at home.

The family as a social institution is currently undergoing substantial changes, for example, the increase in one parent families and non-marital unions. The fathers in low income families can lead children to seek patterns of masculinity in delinquent groups of peers and often feel excluded. They may choose to join a juvenile delinquent group to raise their self-esteem and improve their status. These groups provide equal opportunities to everyone, favorably distinguishing themselves from school and family where positions of authority are occupied by adults. They have the opportunity to study delinquent behavior, and the possibility of their engaging in adult crime becomes more real when young people are exposed to the influence of adult offenders. The “criminalization” of the family also has an impact on the choice of delinquent trajectories.

A study carried out in prisons in the United States reveals that families involved in criminal activities tend to push their younger members towards violating the law. More than two-thirds of those interviewed had relatives who were incarcerated; for 25 per cent it was a father and for another 25 per cent a brother or sister.

Peer influence

Peer relation is a subject that is famous for receiving much blame from parents with juvenile delinquents. Many parents feel that their children never would have gotten in trouble with the law, if it had not been for their “good-for-nothing” friends. A teenager’s peer group is not only a source of security; it is also a source of self-esteem. In many situations an adolescent’s peer group is the predominant force driving his or her decisions. While at a party the juvenile may be approached with drugs and the only immediate influence is the peer group. If they say “no,” they may feel that they will be faced with irony, embarrassment, and exile from the group. This is a strong consequence when the adolescent wants so desperately just to fit in.

The need for acceptance, approval, and belonging is vital during the teen years. Teens who feel isolated or rejected by their peers or in their family are more likely to engage in risky behaviors in order to fit in with a group. For adolescents constantly facing violence, belonging to a gang can provide protection within the neighborhood. In some areas those who are not involved in gangs continually face the threat of assault, oppression or extortion on the street or at school.

As one juvenile from the Russian Federation said, “I became involved in a gang when I was in the eighth form [about 13 years old], but I joined it only when I was in the tenth [at 15 years of age]. I had a girlfriend and I feared for her, and the gang was able to provide for her safety. This is one of the situation of the teenagers though that the society gang will protect her.

Delinquency Identities

Early inhabit can occur through the process of identifying potential risk factors that stimulate a juvenile to inappropriate and even illegal conduct and behavior. Positive intervention through programming, education and counseling can divert a juvenile from a path that otherwise would result in delinquency as a child and crime as an adult.

In identifying the causes of criminal behavior, it is important to determine which factors contribute to a delinquent identity and why some adolescents adopt a delinquent image and do not discard that image in the process of becoming an adult. Besides that, delinquent identity is quite complex, in fact an overlay of several identities linked to delinquency itself and to a person’s ethnicity, race, and gender. Violence and conflict are necessary elements in the construction of group and delinquent identities. The foundations of group identity and activity are established and strengthened through the maintenance of conflict relations with other juvenile groups and whole society. Violence serves the function of integrating members into a group, reinforcing their sense of identity, and thereby hastening the process of group adaptation to the local environment.

In addition, the possibilities of economic and social advancement are the other factors that may provide motivation for joining a gang. In many sociocultural contexts the delinquent way of life has been romanticized to a certain degree, and joining a gang is one of the few channels of social mobility available for disadvantaged youth. According to the opinion, urban youth gangs have a stabilizing effect on communities characterized by a lack of economic and social opportunities.

Urbanization

The countries with more urbanized populations have higher registered crime rates than do those with strong rural lifestyles and communities. This may be attributable to the differences in social control and social cohesion. Rural groupings mainly rely on family and community control as a means of dealing with antisocial behavior and exhibit markedly lower crime rates. Urban industrialized societies tend to resort to formal legal and judicial measures an impersonal approach that appears to be linked to higher crime rates. The ongoing process of urbanization in developing countries is contributing to juvenile involvement in criminal behavior. The basic features of the urban environment foster the development of new forms of social behavior deriving mainly from the weakening of primary social relations and control, increasing reliance on the media at the expense of informal communication. These patterns are generated by the higher population density, degree of heterogeneity, and numbers of people found in urban contexts.

Exclusion

The growing gap between rich and poor has led to the emergence of harmful to other people. The exclusion of some people is gradually increasing with the accumulation of obstacles, ruptured social ties, unemployment and identity crises. Furthermore, welfare systems that have provided relief but have not expel the depress socio-economic position of certain groups, together with the increased dependence of low income families on social security services have contributed to the development of a “new poor” class in many places. The symbolic exclusion from society of juveniles who have committed even minor offences has important implications for the development of delinquent careers. Studies show that the act of labeling may lead to the self-adoption of a delinquent image, which later results in delinquent activity.

Substance Abuse Risk Factors

Substance abuse is found in a majority of cases of juvenile delinquency. Two trends are identified in regard to substance abuse and minors. First, juveniles are using more powerful drugs today than was the case as recently as 10 years ago. Second, the age at which some juveniles begin using drugs is younger. Children in elementary schools are found to be using powerful illegal drugs. The use of these illegal substances or the use of legal substances illegally motivates young people to commit crimes to obtain money for drugs. In addition, juveniles are far more likely to engage in harmful and illegal activities when using drugs and alcohol.

Rape

Rape is defined as sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant. If the defendant commits rape while armed causes bodily injury or aided by another person, the more serious offense of intensify rape is charged. If intercourse occurs when a participant is unable to give consent due to drug or alcohol intoxication, or due to mental incapacity, the act is rape. The rape of a child under the age of thirteen usually carries the same penalties as aggravated rape. Statutory rape is sex between defendants at least four years older than the victim and a victim between thirteen and eighteen years of age.

Assault and battery

Assault and battery can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the nature and seriousness of the injuries. Assault is the threat of violence upon another person. A person need not be injured to be the victim of an assault. Words alone do not constitute an assault. There must also be some action and intent behind the words. Besides that, battery is any offensive touching. A punch, grab or improper bumping can constitute a battery if the act is done with the intent to harm. If an assault occurs by the use of a gun, knife, car, or any object used as a weapon (hands, feet, pool cue, chair leg, telephone receiver, shoe, etc.), the crime may be charged as a felony assault with a deadly weapon.

Effect:

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Juvenile delinquency is a serious problem in our country. Not just our country, even other country such as United States, also meets the problem like this. We can see that in United States where 92,854 minors were incarcerated in residential facilities for juveniles in 2006. In fact, about 17% of all the people arrested in the United States are under the age of 18. At the same time, our country Malaysia also has a similar number compare with United States. These statistics provide strong evidence that that these problems be addressed immediately. Actually the problem of juvenile delinquency not only does the affect the victims of the crime; it also affects the juvenile delinquents family, future, and society as a whole.

The most obvious affected by juvenile delinquency are the victims. Whether the crime involves theft, or violence, the victim always suffers loss. The victim may incur expenses related to lose wages, health care, or psychological care in addition to the cost of replacing damaged or destroyed items. This is very obvious we can see that when the victims was injured or even murdered by juvenile delinquency, that was necessary the victims should need to go for psychological care or hospital to check that whether what others side effect will caused to the victims.

Beside than the victim’s part, the other part which is very obvious affected by juvenile delinquent is on the juvenile delinquent themselves. The juvenile who commits a crime also suffers effects that he or she is probably unable to predict. They may lose their freedom while being incarcerated or placed on probation after they sentenced crime and they may lose ground academically as well. Although placement in residential detention centers for juveniles may be appropriate consequences for the adolescent’s criminal actions, it also puts him or her in relationships with other delinquents, who may be more sophisticated or influential.

This makes recidivism likely and in many states, when a juvenile older than 14 becomes a repeat offender, they can be tried and sentenced as an adult. The delinquency may even have future consequences on the adolescent’s college and career choices. http://www.exampleessays.com/viewpaper/73887.html This also affects the juvenile in their adult lives as the crime can be on their record as long as they live. Experts still have not found the main reason why juveniles commit crimes until now, but normally it was cause by the family issues, media pressure, mental health problem and etc.

Furthermore, another part which effects by juvenile delinquency is by the families. The upheaval and trauma of having a family member who is a juvenile delinquent can create instability for the other relatives. Not only does the family have to cope with the needs of the child who is in trouble, but they may also have to raise large amounts of money as the lawyer’s fee. In addition, the family has to face the ethical issues of responsibility to the victims of the child’s crime.

Therefore, families must usually attend group counseling sessions, which can be disruptive and costly during the time when the child is in detention or on probation. Unfortunately, more children are being raised in highly stressed families or neglected by their families. Hence, it is necessary to understand the family dynamics that influence the behavior of the child since the family provides the first level of social contact for the child. More importantly it is essential that families understand their role in their child’s development and are armed with the information and skills necessary to raise healthy and well-adapted children.

Community is also such a part that may causes juvenile delinquency. There is a correlation between juvenile delinquency and drug use, gang involvement, alcohol abuse, and sexual behavior. Every time once we open the newspaper, we can see that the juvenile was murdered or injured people after drug use or alcohol abuse. The offender normally doesn’t know what the things they are doing after them having drug or alcohol and when the effect are gone, they awake and only start regretted with what they already had done. Besides that, gang involvement also very serious in affect juvenile delinquency. Juvenile delinquency was happened between 8 to 18 years old. That’s mean majority of them are still student and most of their time are in the school. So, it is not easy to discover that even their child already involve in gangsterism. All of these issues challenge communities by making neighborhoods unsafe and costing large amounts of public money to be spent on law enforcement and school safety.

The next part which will affect by juvenile delinquency is society. Young people who commit serious crimes before they are 18 years old challenge the future for everyone involved. They may be acting out to protect perceived abuses that have been perpetrated against them. They may believe that there is no future for them outside of a life of crime. They may be expressing anger or frustration directed against another person or group or looking for approval from a gang. Whatever the motive is, juvenile delinquency affects too many individuals, families, and communities. It is a serious problem that challenges the efforts of government agencies, politicians, educators, faith communities, and nonprofit organizations alike.

http://www.strengtheningfamilies.org/html/lit_review_1999_I.html

In addition, there is a “cycle of violence”. The idea that violence begets violence has emerged from studies on abuse and family assaults over the past 25 years. Called the “cycle of violence,” this hard to test theory suggests that abused children become abusers themselves and that child victims of violence become violent adults. In “cycle of violence”, physically-abused boys are more likely to grow into physically abusive and violent men than their non-abused counterparts; however, physically abused girls are more likely to become victims of abuse as adults. Children with neurological or psychiatric impairments may have more difficulty controlling the rage that abuse often kindles. Besides that, when the children have criminal acts but were not prevented from elders, they will continue doing these criminal actions when became adult.

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Regardless of the causes, juvenile delinquency carries a high cost to a country. These costs can be measured in terms of money spent and lost, as well as moral costs to a society. Government is forced to pay more for increased policing, as well as the costs of the entire judicial system process (prisons, juvenile halls, and court trials). Medical costs skyrocket due to violent crimes and drug abuse. Property theft and vandalism result in high costs in the public and private sector. Also, there’s a societal cost whenever a citizen is removed from society and placed in a juvenile facility or jail, as this person is no longer a functional, contributing person.

Prevention and Solution

There is no doubt that various experts can give us many theories as to the prevent the juvenile delinquency, The most effective ways to prevent juvenile delinquency has indisputably been to assist children and their families early on. Numerous state programs attempt early intervention, and federal funding for community initiatives has allowed independent groups to tackle the problem in new ways. For the serious juvenile crime in this social phenomenon, the establishment of a school prevention, family prevention, community prevention and self-prevention of mutual cooperation and mutual convergence, mutual care, co-education and prevention mechanisms for the network is essential to effectively prevent the juvenile delinquency measures.

Legal education in schools is the main channel and the main front. In school, young people are the mainstream of legal education. Therefore, primary and secondary schools should increase the legal education, promoting primary and secondary school education to improve the overall quality of education change. For instance, planning, teaching materials, lessons teach, teacher and assessment.

Besides that, education will help young people learn how to engage in positive self-appraisal, deal with conflict, and control aggression. Moreover, by promoting the culture of science and technology in the all-round education, it can help education in patriotism combine to create a good legal environment of the campus, and ensure the primary and secondary school students in traditional culture, science and culture education. Besides that, it can also strengthen the correct outlook on life, the rule of law concept of morality, values, learning to be on their own, their family, society and to distinguish between right and wrong.

In addition, various kinds of new programs can be promoted in school. For example, model programs have assisted families and children by providing them with information. Some programs let the parents know how to raise a healthy child; some teach the children about the effects of drugs, gangs, sex, and weapons; and others aim to express to youth the innate worth they and all others have. All of these programs give juvenile with the awareness that their actions have consequences. Bullying Prevention Program is another program which put into place in elementary and junior high school settings. This program is including teachers and administrators’ questionnaire to know which student is bullying which kids. Then, they will set up class rules and facilitates discussions to solve the problem. Independent counseling will be given to individual bullies and victims. The program succeeds by creating a safer, less hostile environment for the students at minimal cost.

The family also is one of the bases of the legal education for young people. Generally, the family is playing role as a cornerstone of the prevention of juvenile delinquency. In the process of educating the children, parents should continue to improve their own self-cultivation, constantly improve them and require the child to do so. We can use the seriously inducible form of education to guide and resolve, positive approach to encourage children, appreciated the children, to educate their children so that children in the calm, harmony, health, warmth and family education in the correct ideas, correct behaviour.

Furthermore, effective family communications could easily be understood as having a positive influence on the children and adults. When parents are able to communicate with their children in compassionate, supportive and non-judgmental tones, it does seem more likely that the children will feel understood and accepted. This pattern of communication is more likely to lead to a positive self-image and a higher sense of self-esteem and serve as a buffer against any negative, external factors. Children need to believe and experience the ability to openly communicate with their parents. This provides an experiential support for them to realize that whatever they are experiencing in their lives (positive or negative); they have the ability to discuss this with their parents.

The “Parent-Child Integration Training Program” takes the parents and children approximately 12 weeks to complete. It is designed to teach parenting skills to parents of children age’s two to seven who will exhibit major behavioral problems. The program places the parents and children in interactive situations. Usually, a therapist guides the parents, educating them on how best to respond their child’s behavior, whether positive or negative. The program can help to reduce hyperactivity, attention deficit, aggression, and anxious behavior in children.

Besides that, by strengthen the community’s juvenile delinquency prevention and management, in building schools, families, and social integration of the combination of patterns on the basis of the entire society together, it can create the healthy growth atmosphere for young people. They should strengthen the management of the cultural market and purify the social environment of the growth of young people. Internet cafes are also an important factor in juvenile delinquency induced. It is necessary to take effective measures to intensify the rectification of the cultural market, and firmly crack down on the yellow, selling, manufacturing, drug trafficking criminals to eliminate spiritual pollution. Therefore, it will create a good social and cultural environment, effective control and reduction of juvenile delinquency. Besides that, we can reduce the level of juvenile delinquency by changing an urban environment, altering the physical features through architectural and landscape planning and providing opportunities to engage young people’s interest.

The establishment of the streets, community legal education activities in the management of youth canters, and actively create conditions to strengthen the treatment industry and unemployed young people dropped out of school training and legal education by transforming education so that they can firmly establish a healthy life and faith, to strengthen the fight against difficulties in the determination of active participation in social life to compete rich through honest your own life.

Concern, care, support and effective juvenile crime prevention work, care for the healthy growth of the next generation, related to the hundreds of millions of family unity, harmony and happiness. As adults, living in the community of the family, still need to work to help the transformation of ideological, political learning, behavioural education, and exchanges on the understanding, interest in life, career encouragement, emotional and considerate, not to mention young people! They need adults in addition to the concerns, but also need the right education and guidance, and care must be related. As long as everyone in the whole of society aware of this, the prevention of juvenile crime will work to a higher level to obtain more significant results.

For the benefits of recreational activities is that they will fill unsupervised after-school hours. The Department of Education has reported those juveniles are most likely to commit crimes between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., with crime rates peaking at 3 p.m. The recreation programs allow juvenile to connect with other adults and children in the community. Such the positive friendships may assist children in the later years. Juvenile programs are designed to fit the personalities and skills of different children and it may include sports, dancing, music, rock climbing, drama, karate, bowling, art, and other activities. The inmates will have some opportunity to take the college level courses, work as teacher assistants, gardeners, recreational leaders and kitchen staff. This facility’s recreation program also provides an array of activities like basketball leagues to ping pong tournaments.

In recent year, “get tough on crime” police were being established; various types of new programs were also attempted. One such program, Juvenile Boot Camp, received high publicity but just had little success. This program will teach the juvenile about structure, discipline and counter- productive. Moreover, another special programmer is “The Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility (NCYF)” is an example of a successful juvenile detention facility that gears its programs toward restoring delinquent youth. The facility holds young adult violent offenders and juvenile delinquents who have been tried in adult court for committing violent crimes. This program is to assist juvenile inmates by providing them with the help they need to change their behavior.

A juvenile entering the Juvenile Justice System has the opportunity to receive intervention assistance from the state. In the care of the state, a juvenile may receive drug rehabilitation assistance, counseling, and educational opportunities. The success of the Juvenile Justice System is measured by how well it prepares youth to re-enter the community without committing further crimes. Optimally, all juvenile detention facilities would catch youths up on their education, provide them with job training, give them the experience of living in a safe, stable environment, and provide them with assistance to break harmful habits.

For the juvenile, it is the growth step, is in the outlook on life, world outlook, the formative stages of moral values. At this step, whether in physical or psychological, they are in a transitional phase, by plasticity, and poor self-control, curiosity, and an accident just a gut feeling without judging reckless act, for Strong emulative easily lead to criminal acts. Therefore, in order to have better crime prevention, we must start from ourselves.

Within the economic sector, many professional development programs are being set up to provide legal alternatives for income generation. Supplying adolescents and young people with increased economic opportunities, professional training and education, new workplaces and assistance in organizing businesses can help prevent youth involvement in delinquent activities.

Conclusion

As discussed from the above coursework, it is seen that juvenile delinquency covers a multitude of different violations of legal social norms, from minor offences such as truancy and run away from home, to serious crimes such as drug consumption and killing people, committed by young people. Some types of juvenile delinquency constitute part of the process of maturation and growth and it disappear spontaneously as they grow up, as there are many socially responsible adults use to commit various types of offences during their adolescence.

Quite often, however, the situation is more serious. Poverty, social exclusion and unemployment often cause marginalization, and young people who are marginalized are more susceptible to developing and maintaining delinquent behavior. Furthermore, young people are more likely to become victims of crimes committed by juvenile delinquents. This is largely a group phenomenon, it is always engaged in by certain subcultures of young people who have jointly assumed a particular identity. It is also primarily a male phenomenon, as seen from some of the discussion above, it is seen that crime rates for male juvenile and young adults offenders more than double those for females, some criminal activities are associated with intolerance of members of other cultures or religious, racial or ethnic groups.

To effectively avoid and prevent the juvenile delinquency, more priority should be given to this matter by everyone, from the government, society, family, schools, and etc.

Reference:

Juvenile Delinquency – prevention, assessment, and intervention, edi7 by Kirk Heilbrun, Naomi E.Sevin Goldstein, and Richard E. Redding.

Social change and juvenile delinquency by Europe Committee on Crime Problems, Council of Europe, Directorate of Legal Affairs(1979)

Prevention and control of juvenile delinquency by Richard J. Lundman 1993

Hussin, D. N. (2005). Children’s Right International. Retrieved July 22nd, 2009, from ChildJustice.org: http://www.childjustice.org/docs/hussin2005a.pdf

Joseph, J. (1995). Black youths, delinquency, and juvenile justice. Greenwood Publishing Group.

Rose, T. (2000). Juvenile Justice and the Status Offense:An Justification for the Current System. Retrieved July 22nd, 2009, from University of Oregon: http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~uofla/Winter00/Rose.html