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The Causes of Juvenile Delinquency
M
October 29, 2011

Abstract
A juvenile offender is an offender who is too young to be tried as an adult. The age at which a child can be tried varies, but it is ordinarily the age is eighteen. Major crimes have forced courts to become tough with juveniles and how they are sentenced. When a juvenile commits a crime they are tried in a different court system than adults. The cases are heard in family or juvenile court. Depending on the severity of the crime the juvenile will be sentence to probation or confined to juvenile detention centers that will house the juvenile until sentencing and possible incarceration. Several factors will determine the sentencing, such as family issues, school, medical records, and pervious criminal activity. The judge has the ultimate decision and the degree of the crime will determine the sentencing. The court may require that the child get counseling for drug and alcohol or family therapy to prevent future criminal activity. In recent years children have committed major crimes that have force courts to change the way juveniles are sentenced. Today, Juveniles are being incarcerated with adults for nonviolent crimes as well as violent crimes at alarming rate. The court has an obligation to protect the community from violent juvenile offenders.

The Causes of Juvenile Delinquency
Some Factors that Contribute to the Delinquency
Children today are not what they were thirty years ago. In today’s society, children are exposed at a younger age to violence and other behaviors that influence their actions as young adults that may also show in adulthood. Juvenile’s behavior tends to be influenced by their environment, observing adults, what they listen to, peer pressure, TV, and internet. Depending on the act, all juvenile behaviors might not be delinquent. Delinquent behavior has become a major problem facing today’s society. The nature of the crimes has escalated and the age of the offenders are decreasing. Theses offenses are normally handled by the juvenile court system but may be handled by the adult court if the offenses are serious enough. The adult courts may not handle the needs of a juvenile effectively. Get tough juvenile laws that place teenage offenders in adult prisons create a conflict for effective rehabilitation and reform to reenter society and be productive. Overexposure to violence, family break down, and peer pressure causes juveniles to be delinquent.

Juvenile Crime Trends
To gauge the increase in violence three main measurements were considered, police arrest, victimization survey, and delinquency self report. Howell (1995) crimes are more likely to be reported if they involve a serious injury or large economic loss or if the victim wants the law enforcement involved in the matter. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2005), gathers information from law enforcement agencies yearly and reports spikes in criminal activity amongst juveniles. The increase in Juvenile arrest was alarming due to the intense violence associated with juvenile offenders. Schiraldi (1997) reported that “between 1987 and 1994 juvenile arrest rates increase sharply. Aggravated assaults rates doubled, as did murder rates. Males drove the 1987-1994 spikes in murder arrest rate, and the increases were seen in acts committed with firearms. In 1999, 2,468,000 juveniles arrest were recorded, out of 380,500 were thefts. In 2000, 2,369,400 arrests were recorded 363,500 were thefts. Drug violations accounted for 198,400. Violent crimes accounted for 103,900 in 1999 and 98,900 in 2000. Most of the arrests were theft, drug offenses, and simple assaults.”

Family structure and interactions plays a critical role in the development of antisocial behavior and delinquency. The increase in juvenile offenders can be associated with the breakdown of the family structure. Family plays a significant role in children’s...
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