Culture and Delinquency

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Culture & Delinquency

Culture & Delinquency

Obviously something is going on in today’s society if more and more children are committing delinquent crimes. Sometimes we must ask our self what provokes a child to become delinquent and what makes the child gravitate so easily towards this lifestyle? I believe families must transmit values so as to lead children to accept rules that they are likely to perceive as arbitrary. It should be no surprise, therefore, to find that family life bears a strong relation to juvenile delinquency. Family life can be viewed from three general perspectives. The first is structure: Who lives within a household? The second is interaction: How do the family members treat one another? And the third is social setting: What is the nature of the community in which the family can be found? Each of these perspectives contributes information relevant to understanding the impact of family life on juvenile delinquency.

Culture & Delinquency

Family is the foundation of human society. Children who are rejected by their parents, who grow up in homes with considerable conflict, or who are inadequately supervised are at the greatest risk of becoming delinquent. If anything would play a large part in delinquency it would be a family. Understanding how the family and how the juvenile within the family works help us get to the core of delinquency. Families are one of the strongest socializing forces in life. They teach children to control unacceptable behavior, to delay gratification, and to respect the rights of others. Conversely, families can teach children aggressive, antisocial, and violent behavior. This statement alone could easily explain how the juvenile may end up becoming a delinquent. Wright and Wright (1994) suggest positive parenting practices during the early years and later in adolescence appear to act as buffers preventing delinquent behavior and assisting adolescents involved in such behavior to desist from delinquency. In many parts of America it’s easy to separate high crime areas from the more socially acceptable ones. Located within the confines of these crime ridden areas are kids who become a product of their environment at times due to lack of parenting and community supervision.

Many adolescents who grow up in impoverished neighborhoods feel a sense of being at the point of no return. Some may call it a vicious cycle but most who live in these areas call it a way of life. Most people in America desire wealth, material possessions, power, prestige and other life comforts but in reality according to the strain theory many people in the lower social classes will never achieve these goals so they attempt to do it illegally. It’s hard to grow up in a area where everyone belongs to a gang or sell drugs and make it through without partaking in that lifestyle. It’s almost at the point where the so called street life is a culture in itself. In some cases it is assumed that a child will carry on with gang traditions almost as it is expected that children will carry the last name of their biological father. When the odds are stacked against you like this, it’s almost impossible to rise above it all. That’s why juvenile delinquency is so prevalent in these areas it has become expected within the community and household as a mechanism for survival.

There are a lot of theories that pertain to the social structures here in our society for instance the Strain Theory, the cultural deviance theory and or the differential opportunity theory. All of theses in one way or another try to summarize and or add substance to the dilemmas youth face on a daily basis living within the confines of these almost segregated areas. There was a time where racial ethnicity played a key part in what services you received whether it be educational or medical. During these times people were separated along color lines blacks didn’t attend school with the whites and...
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