Prof. Angela Hermosillo
November 15, 2010
Can we as a society truly reduce the rate of juvenile crime and violence? “Throughout all time there has been delinquency. It may not have had the delinquency label, but it still existed. Juvenile crime is mentioned as far back as ancient Sumeria and Hammurabi, where laws concerning juvenile offenders first appear in written form” (Rice, 1995, ¶ 3). To this day juvenile delinquency is looked upon as one of the most imperative concerns in crime. A number of studies have been performed concerning delinquency. Countless developments and strategies have presented the system with numerous possibilities to contain and correct this issue. Still, juvenile delinquency continues to be a problem needing serious corrective action. This paper will focus on the history and future of juvenile delinquency, as well as number of the theories believed to be its cause. A summary of a delinquent’s rights will also be included. Sentencing practices and strategies utilized to diminish the problem of delinquency are also a focus in this paper. History of Delinquency
“A grasp of the current conflict surrounding the responsibility and direction of the juvenile justice system becomes more obtainable when one takes into consideration how the system has progressed since its inception” (Einstein Law, 2008, ¶1). Up until the 1700s; children were viewed much differently than today’s youth. They were not given any special treatment or appreciation. During this time an individual’s choice of discipline would now be considered abuse. People in this time had a much different view concerning life. They believed times were difficult, and people needed to be harsh in order to survive. Individuals did not have the luxuries of today’s world (Rice, 1995). “For example, the medical practices of that day were primitive in comparison to present-day medicine and marriages were more for convenience, rather than for child-bearing or romance” (Rice, 1995, ¶ 1). During this time in history parents had many children and found it difficult to create emotional bonds with them. A number of these parents felt their children would not survive to reach their adult years so they did not become too attached to them (Rice, 1995). Times began to change in the 1800s. Labor laws were now being passed to protect children. People began to see children differently, realizing they needed love and nurturing in their lives (Rice, 1995). At this time, “children had finally begun to emerge as a distinct group” (Rice, 1995, ¶ 2). Prior to this occurrence, children who had broken the law received the same punishments as adults. Children were “adjudicated and punished alongside adults” (Schmalleger, 2009, p. 549). A number of recorded cases have also come down throughout history of children being hung or burned to death for their crimes. Juveniles during this era were also reprimanded by imprisonment with adults (Schmalleger, 2009). The major changes made in the law produced a new category of crime within the criminal justice system. Today, this category is known as juvenile delinquency. At last, children were now seen separate from adults. As a result, in 1899, the first juvenile court was founded in the state of Illinois (Henslin, 2008). Causes of Delinquency
Juvenile delinquency is recognized as illegal acts committed by minors. Delinquent behavior is a violation of the laws established within the justice system (Lectric Law Library, 2009). Many ponder the cause of juvenile crime. Psychologists, sociologists and criminologists from all over the world have debated the various causes of juvenile delinquency. There are a number of theories regarding criminal behavior. These explanations fall into eight general categories: classical, biological, psychobiological, psychological,...