Parental Responsibility, a Deterrent to Juvenile Crime

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Parental Responsibility, a Deterrent to Juvenile Crime

Growing up in a family where both parents have thirty years experience working in the juvenile justice system, I have learned to value and respect parental responsibility for their children and their children's behavior. In 1995, a small community in the Willamette Valley, passed an ordinance which held parents responsible in just this way. The ordinance (No. 94-132) that was adopted in Silverton OR, in 1995 charged parents with the misdemeanor of "failing to supervise a minor" when a child under the age of 18 years violates any provision of the Silverton Municipal Code, under provisions of the ordinance, if a juvenile commits a violation of law, his or her parent(s) is served with a warning notice for Failure to Supervise a Child. If the child commits a subsequent offense, the parents are issued a citation to Municipal Court for Failure to Supervise a Child.(Silverton Ordinances) The goal of the ordinance is to hold parents accountable for the actions of their minor children. According to author Sanborn within a short time the Mayor, Ken Hector reported a significant reduction in juvenile crime and reduced levels of truancy. Furthermore school officials reported increases in the level of involvement of parents with their children.(28)

I remember so well my parents' conversations at the dinner table regarding cases of youth offenders whose parents never visited while at the youth correctional facilities, wouldn't ever attend their court hearings or paid little attention to the fact that their child was falling deeper into the juvenile justice system. Holding parents accountable for their children's delinquencies makes perfect sense to me. Through my life experiences I have recognized the importance of parental involvement in their children's lives and the difference that it has made for some of my friends and classmates who had parents that showed very little or no interest in their lives.