Lakeisha D. Mitchell
Grand Canyon University: JUS-452
March 11, 2012
Poverty’s Effects on Delinquency
Many criminal theorists, sociologists and researchers alike have developed several ideas in regards to what exactly causes juvenile delinquency. For example, social learning theory, strain theory and control theory, just to name a few, are typically postulated for being directly related to juvenile delinquency. In dealing with all of these effects and how they play a role with delinquency the question still remains as to whether or not higher crime rates in juveniles are significantly increased when poverty plays a factor. Evidence as to why poverty does not cause juvenile delinquency along with the theory that best explains crime and delinquency in lower-class sections of our cities will be discussed in the remaining portion of this reading. Also, the argument of strain theory as it is directly related to delinquency and poverty in the lower-class communities will be presented. To begin with, poverty is associated with, but does not cause juvenile delinquency. Rather, the environments along with a destabilization of a child’s household are just a couple of the factors that are related to juvenile delinquency. As noted by businessman and theorist Sigmund Madelsohn, “Juvenile delinquency is a social disease, any disease, social or otherwise, can be cured only after correct diagnosis” (1915). Pair this mindset of Madelsohn with the acts of juvenile delinquency and poverty and it just does not add up. For example, consider two households where one is lacking the basic necessities of living comfortably; basically poor, while the other household is more on the prosperous side in all aspects of their family’s life; lacking for nothing. Even though the incomes of both households are significantly different it still remains that the parent or guardian of that child must work to provide for their family. Juvenile delinquency...