Juvenile Delinquency and Conduct Disorder

Topics: Criminology, Crime, Juvenile delinquency Pages: 7 (2092 words) Published: March 12, 2012
According to Dryfoos, Juvenile delinquency generally refers to behavior of youth that violate the social norms, like commit socially unacceptable behavior and the criminal acts. According to juvenile delinquency ordinance, juvenile delinquency applies to those whose aged between 7- 20. As juvenile delinquency accounts for significant proportion of crime rate in Hong Kong, therefore, the cause of it should be considered.

In this easy, the characteristics of the youth will be outlined to serves as the foundation to analysis the cause of crime. Then, I will briefly illustrate the similarities and differences of the macro-level learning theories and the micro-level learning theories. Afterwards, I will apply the above theories in analyzing the juvenile delinquency in Hong Kong, aiming to explain that the micro-level learning theories are more comprehensive in explaining the cause of crime.

The characteristics of the adolescents
Adolescent is the transition period from childhood to adulthood. Such onset of puberty forces a child to be more adult like and therefore shows the following characteristics. First, In order to look like a worthwhile individual, teenagers long for independence. Therefore, they usually view authority as sources for intervening their life and thus usually hostile to authorities, like parents, teachers and police. On the contrary, they want to experience the independence by spending time with friends, research shows that adolescent usually spend twice more time with friends , therefore their thought and action are susceptible to be influenced by deviant peers. Further, teenagers are moodiness as a result of rapid changes in the hormone levels. Therefore, juvenile crime usually is a result of sensation-seeking, without obvious goals and target. Therefore, the above factors show that the immaturity both physically and mentally cause them to be more likely to commit crime.

Even the characteristics of the adolescent cause crime, the macro-level learning theory and the micro-level learning theory should also be illustrated. We aims to show that with the characteristics of hostility towards authority and the longing for peer acceptance, juvenile delinquency should be better explained by the micro-level learning theories.

Macro-level learning theories
The macro-level learning theories focus on explaining the structural characteristics that cause juvenile delinquency. The Macro-Level learning theories include both anomie and strain theory. Anomie refers to a states of low level of moral regualation from rapid social changes , while the strain theories means that people do not follow the social norms to achieve their goals. Both theories views that crime exists because specific groups hold value that are conducive to crime or justify crime in some circumstances. Under such situation, the approval of crime serves as the motivation for crime for those groups.

However, there are differences held by the anomie and strain theories in explaining the cause of crime. Their differences are that Anomie is better in explaining why some societies have a higher crime rate. Anomie states that crime exists when a society is placed too much emphasized on the cultural goals and relatively less emphasized on the means to achieve the goals. As a result, the traditional institution fail to regulate the goal seeking behavior, so people tend to achieve the cultural goals illegitimately. The society of which is characterized by anomie where people behavior is subject to less regulation.

On the contrary, the strain theory is further developed to precisely explain how the lower class people are pressurized to commit crime. In general, they views that the inability to access the cultural goals produce strain on people. In details, Merton proposed that there are five forms of adaption to strain. However, only the illegitimacy adjustment will cause crime. The first type of the illegitimate adjustment is...
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