Juvenile Delinquents

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Perhaps part of the reason why the courts are so indecisive about the best way to punish juvenile delinquents is because there are so many reasons why these kids are committing illegal acts. One of the most influential factors that causes juveniles to get involved with delinquency is poverty. In the United States, there are currently about 20% of kids living in poverty (Haight, 2014). These kids and their families often find themselves in low socioeconomic standing and reliant on welfare. Juveniles who are a part of the welfare system, who later find themselves involved in delinquency, are often called crossover youth and 92% of crossover youth find themselves in the juvenile justice system (Haight, 2014). In a perfect world, professionals…show more content…
Many schools in low income areas are often understaffed and have little resources for kids that need extra support. Many studies have shown, “a positive relationship between hyperactivity, concentration or attention problems, impulsivity and risk taking and later violent behavior” (Shader, 2004). Kids who may have learning disabilities are at a disadvantage in these schools because instead of getting the extra help they need, they are often punished and removed from the classroom for distractions or inappropriate behaviors (Kim, 2010). Unfortunately, the schools do not realize that they are only further encouraging delinquency. The school to prison pipeline model suggests that public institutions are failing to meet the requirements of these kids. The model also suggests, “these deficiencies increase students’ disengagement and the likelihood of their dropping out and later becoming involved with the courts” (Kim, 2010). Kim’s studies confirm my views that when you cannot provide a child with the necessary resources, they become stressed and their self-esteem may drop, potentially leading to delinquency. In addition, when you suspend a kid from school they are only missing out on crucial learning time which will only add to their stress and allow them more time to commit illegal…show more content…
Low income communities often have little to offer in terms of safe, developmentally appropriate recreation. Kids should have safe parks and recreation centers where they can go to socialize and stay out of trouble. Research on risk factors suggests that after school programs and community mentoring are some of the best ways to prevent juvenile delinquency (Shader, 2004). When kids do not have access to these types of resources, they often turn to their peers for entertainment. Friends can be a very positive influence for developing kids. However, peer influences can also cause disaster for impressionable juveniles. There are countless studies that show, “a consistent relationship between involvement in a delinquent peer group and delinquent behavior” (Shader, 2004). This is a major disadvantage for low income areas who may be riddled with gang violence. When kids have no programs to keep them out of trouble, and are constantly being pressured by their delinquent peers it becomes very easy for them to fall into gang violence. Shader’s research that concluded, “the influence of peers and their acceptance of delinquent behavior is significant, and this relationship is magnified when youth have little interaction with their parents” confirms my views that peer and family interaction is crucial in the risk for involvement in delinquency (Shader,
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