According to research, crime is taken by many people as a social problem that is very pressing and the greatest concern is about how violence among young people is becoming high. There is useful information available from self report studies and reports about crimes where many arrested people have not reached the age of twenty five years. Many juveniles are arrested because of being involved in serious crimes such as murder, stealing, raping young people and homicide. There is important role played by gender where the males who are arrested are four times more than young women.
When we consider social concern regarding problems of juvenile delinquency, it is obvious and reasonable for learned people, citizens of the country and policymakers to question about what cause delinquency to happen. There are many reasons why delinquent behavior is prominent such as people engaging in bad company and this helps in looking for ways of ensuring that such behaviors are stopped completely. It is easy to get better sense on what make us incapable of reducing delinquency by making use of purposeful intervention. People should be more concerned with knowing why juvenile delinquency occurs and look for better means of stopping it. For example, we know that delinquency behavior occur more in males than females between fifteen and seventeen years of age but understanding why males are the most affected is difficult. Delinquent behavior can be predicted using age and gender but this does not give a clear indication on means of preventing delinquency because we can not eliminate males aged fifteen to seventeen years from the society. (Cloward, 2005 pp 24-25).
Analyzing and evaluating three environmental influences on Juvenile Delinquency
Influence of Gender
According to (Ivan, 2004 pp16-18) Gender is one of strongest correlates of the juvenile delinquency. Delinquent behavior must be predicted early enough by ensuring that we interact with peers and listen to their views about their behavior so that we can know where to begin from in trying to get solution. The delinquency relationship involving gender is easy to deal with by taking sample from a group of adolescents and using it as a representative of the entire population in carrying out the study. Young boys should be studied separately from girls and later make a comparison in order to make the final conclusion on the overall delinquency.
Longitudinal data help in studying intergenerational influences concerned with role played by gender in men and women who are young where it was found that egalitarian attitudes occurred more in young women but family backgrounds influenced gender role in men and women. During transition into adulthood, gender role is stable because, both sexes experience change but more change is noticed in young men. Once the role assigned to a person is changed, it affects the attitude of people because they can take it positively or negatively. This happens when a young person matures into adulthood and the role changes according to his ability and experience gained through education and working for a given period of time. Conditions of criminology affect males and females differently and the extent of exposure is also different.
Differential association and moral development have an argument that men and women are affected differently by being exposed to delinquent peers. Data can be collected through survey for it to be analyzed to make conclusion. This data shows how the youth behave and can be used to evaluate them to ensure that they change their behavior for the better through guidance and counseling (Travis, 2004 pp12-14).
Influence of Race
Race is an important factor that influences juvenile delinquency. The number of black juveniles is very high if we consider population as a whole because it makes more than twelve per cent and the crimes committed by black youths form twenty nine per cent of total delinquencies. Legal institutions says that if the court system does not set good example of how society should behave, the society may end up having people who are criminals because of neglect of legal institutions.
The arrest and punishment offered by socioeconomic class is different because segregation make people face different arrests even if they have committed similar crimes and this makes minority to be disadvantaged because of being regarded with low esteem. This means that race alone can represent disadvantage that make delinquency to act at a very high rate.
There are different ways of treating delinquents depending on the race where they belong and how they are perceived in the society. These treatments happen many times and are difficult to stop because of the way race is valued by offices carrying out assessment of the cases. Black youths have high rate of committing the offence for the second time but there is no difference in the races that passed the recommendations. The role of court system shows and reflects patterns of races in the society.
Discrimination is practiced more when dealing with race because one race is taken to be more superior than the other and it is obvious that the superior race will be favored and inferior one be discriminated. Discrimination make people get low quality education which make them fail economically. Strain theory is applied where increase in discrimination based on race make the crimes committed to increase because of some people being economically unstable due to low job opportunities and less pay. In addition, strain that result to anger may lead to increase in delinquency behavior and politics of juvenile justice in race influence policies that are applied in criminal justice. (Travis, 2006 pp12-14).
In an effort to control juvenile delinquency, children should be taught good virtues at school and avoid friends who can ruin their lives. This is done by understanding relationship between children and adults to be able to control deviance in adults and solve problems of instability in employment. When people are engaged in bad relationship and become stressed, this results to conflict between them and they cannot be at peace.
Church organizations can lead to juvenile delinquency because people meet in the church with bad motives where they can spoil each others character while pretending that they are exposed to religious environments that are constructive. The findings were that, protestant homogeneity that was conservative in community and schools have negative correlation with delinquency such as theft and this is not to mean that, conservative Protestantism could be used to reduce crime but rather, that structure has more organization compared to other institutions. (Delbert, 2005 pp 11-12).
Children who are brought up by single parents have difficult in socialization and control than those who are brought up by both parents. Parents are important in bringing up children if both the father and mother are actively involved. If one of the parents is left with all the responsibilities of bringing the children up, the children end up misbehaving because of the burden one parent has in playing the role of both parents and may even lack enough time to be with the children and give them advice. The level of delinquency is changed greatly when there is union between both parents and the children develop a sense of belonging due to the way their parents act as role model in the way they take care of them.
Bad relationship between family members and peers, antisocial behavior make level of juvenile delinquency to increases. In situation where delinquent peers are more, delinquency is likely to happen because adolescents enjoy if they are attached to a group of people whom they can spend their free time together and feel good when they engage in bad acts together. (Delbert, 2005 pp 13-15).
Influence that play greatest role in youth’s life
The influence that play greatest role in youths life is influence of gender because it covers the whole society in terms of males and females regardless of their race or social class. Although males have been involved in delinquency more than females before, the rate of female is increasing but female delinquency should always be considered because a large number of them have been arrested. (Reiss, 2007 pp46-49)
People commit crime after knowing how the crime should be committed from the people he interact and associate with. Once the person learns the negative attitudes, he begins to apply them in his day to day life and in the long run develops vices that are not acceptable in the society. The law requires everyone to abide by the rules and regulation without violating them so that he can develop good character helps in molding the future life without encountering problems that may force the person to face disciplinary action. Therefore, it is advisable for people to know the right person to interact with and try to interact with people of good character acceptable by the entire society.
Theory of neutralization makes delinquents and criminals able to learn different values that enable crimes to be committed and enable delinquents hold to different attitudes and values. However, delinquents develop bad character through learning and spoilt the good behavior that is already acquired making them commit offence that put them in serious problems by facing the law. After the positive attitude has been neutralized with negative attitude, change is noticed because; the old attitude fades away and they are replaced by other negative attitudes that are learned resulting to criminal activities by the people who are affected.
According to social control, any person can commit crime knowingly or unknowingly but it is difficult to understand why some people find themselves committing crimes more than others. It becomes difficult for the criminal to live together with other people because they can not control themselves from disturbing their colleagues and interfering with their peace of mind through their criminal activities. Criminal offences and the manner in which people behave can be controlled by ensuring that they are committed and properly attached to conventional institutions that help to control behavior and failure to be committed result to increase in deviant behavior and breaking the law. Once the law is broken, the person involved is charged in court and necessary disciplinary action taken in order to mould his behavior and ensure that the law is followed and obeyed all the time.
Interactions theory is involved in the way people define themselves including their self concept, positive or negative attitudes and values. Analysis of violent gang is used to create social image that is desired in the society and the language to be used by every person. Body posture and appearance give the desired impression and it is necessary a person to create positive impression that is admired by everyone. Labeling theory states that what matters is not the fact that an act is recorded officially as criminal but societal reaction is the one that has causal significance. When a person realizes that everybody in the society is aware that he is a criminal, that person decides to commit crime because he believes that it is obvious for him to commit crime and everybody knows about it. (Akers, 2007 pp 13-15).
Criminologists have developed ways of making identification of causes and processes that cause and result to delinquent behavior. The most probable causes can be expressed in technical terms than the ones applied by citizens and people who make policies. The causes of delinquency behavior are understood and efforts should be made to ensure action is taken against specific delinquents in controlling future occurrence of such behavior and mould their character. Theories are used to help in explaining influences that are associated with them in varying degrees and the real cause of criminal behavior.
When trying to prevent juvenile delinquency, delinquents have the idea of legalizing drugs that are prohibited so that they can use them freely without breaking the law. This factor need to be put into consideration because, they can not be allowed to take illegal drugs that are harmful to their health. Some said that when drugs are removed from the street, juvenile delinquency would be prevented but other people preferred picking positive peers and keeping the kids out of streets. (Cloward, 2005 pp26-27)
Akers R. (2007): Deviant behavior; A social learning approach: Wadsworth, pp 13-15.
Cloward R. (2005): Delinquency and opportunity: Free Press, pp 24-27.
Delbert E. (2005): Explaining Delinquency: Newbury Park, pp 11-14.
Travis H. (2006): Influences of Delinquency: University of California Press, pp 12-14.
Ivan F. (2004): Delinquent behavior and family relationship: Wiley and sons, pp 16-18.
Reiss A. (2007): Delinquency as failure to social and personal controls: American sociology review, pp 46-49.