From Delinquency to Success

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From Delinquency to success

The sociological theory of delinquent subcultures belongs to Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin which is based on Robert Agnew’s general strain theory and social disorganization. Agnew’s theory explained that multiple sources of stress and strain affect a juvenile’s emotional traits and response, resulting in criminal or delinquent behavior. Cloward and Ohlin theorize that certain groups or subcultures in a society have values and attitudes that are conducive to crime and violence, and result in criminal or delinquent behavior. In a criminal subculture, the youth learns criminal behavior from established adult criminals who act as role models for him. Living in an area with an existing criminal subculture, a youth has fewer opportunities to achieve success, therefore resulting in access to criminal behavior. The norm for the area is criminally based, and provides easy income through petty crimes for an uneducated youth. A child born to a single parent in a lower income area will face obstacles many middle and upper class children will not. A middle class family usually consists of a two parent unit, one or both parents working, but home in the afternoon or evenings with the family. The family unit is close, doing things together, providing support, and volunteering for school functions allowing them interaction in their children’s academics. It’s unlikely that either parent has a criminal record. With proper supervision, children would attend school and have curfews to abide by. They may hold a job while in school, and may not feel the need to seek out a source of acceptance from negatively influential youths, to find love and support they are lacking at home because they would be receiving it from their family. If the parents are divorced, the children could still remain in supportive loving homes, have a parent home in the evenings, involved in the children’s activities because the absent parent would work and have the ability to provide financial assistance. The absent parent continues to be a positive influence in the child’s life, guiding him towards further education and employment, resulting in a productive member of society. A lower class income would consist of a single parent, either being the mother or the father, raising the child, would most likely hold one, possibly two jobs to make ends meet, taking them away from the home leaving the children home alone after school and in the evening, creating a latch key kid. The father may be incarcerated, or not a part of the child’s life, leaving him without a male role model. Without supervision, the child can do as he wishes, may decide to forgo the homework to hang out with the friends, resulting in delinquent activities. School eventually becomes a place where he doesn’t want to be, maybe because he’s being bullied having no one to turn to, or is failing because he’s doing poorly on assignments or tests, and feels it’s easier to give up. At that point, the child feels it’s easier not to go to school, eventually dropping out, and having to turn to petty theft or drug dealing for money because without an education he cannot find a job. Dad may be unemployed, or an alcohol/drug abuser setting a poor example for his kids. The child may experiment with drugs and alcohol because they see their parent(s) use, eventually turning to dealing to support their habit. He may drop out of school due to a drug or alcohol habit, also preventing him from obtaining or holding any form of employment. The child has entered delinquency due to his family environment, does not have an education, and finds it easier to work the street crime than to hold a job. The child heads into a future of menial jobs and criminal behavior. As a Youth Tracker, one of my cases is a 17 year old male who was having numerous truancies and failing grades his junior year and ended up in court. I took the case last April, and learned of his family situation and proceeded to work...
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