The Concept of Delinquency
Category : Delinquency
Unit 1: The Concept of Delinquency
- Individual Project
Status Offenders and Juvenile Delinquents
Through the presence of the American juvenile justice system, minors who have committed certain violations or crimes are treated differently from adult criminals. This is mainly derived from the fact that rather than punishing young offenders in the same way as their adult counterparts, the court and the community should work and process such cases, which will help and guide the youth to become better individuals. Juvenile courts handle two types of juveniles. These include status offenders and juvenile delinquents. A status offender is a youth considered as unruly or uncontrollable by his or her legal guardians. The commission of a status offense is not actually a crime per se; status offenses are actually violations or forms of misbehavior that only juveniles can commit. Truancy or skipping school, running away from home, underage drinking, spending the entire night out without permission and refusing to obey parents are some of the common examples of status offenses. Juvenile delinquents on the other hand, commit more severe violations; these violations are acts considered as adult crimes under the local or federal law (Atkinson, 1982).
From these definitions, it is clear that both types of juvenile offenders exhibit distinct characteristics and behaviors. Despite the differences, the juvenile justice system and court processing handles status offense cases similarly with cases of juvenile delinquency. Nonetheless, in other states, not all status offenses are considered as law violations; rather, most states view certain status offenses as behaviors that require sufficient family and social support (Roberts, 2004). It is then difficult to say whether both types of offenders should be treated in the same way considering the differences of the violations involved as well as the perspective of various states. But perhaps, the most appropriate concept that would settle this debatable issue is the integration of the liberal theory of punishment.
Under this theory, it has been explained that the severity of a crime should match the punishment (Ciocchetti, 2003). Although, robbery for instance, committed by a child and an adult cannot really be treated in the same way, under the juvenile justice system, the acts of a status offender and juvenile delinquent, where both violators share a common ground in terms of age range and psychological capacity, represent different levels of gravity. A brief rehabilitation program for a youth who committed truancy is clearly not sufficient to guide a child who committed rape or any other severe crimes. Hence, the treatment for these juveniles under the justice system should not be the same.
Males and Females
According to the World Youth Report (Youth at the United Nations, 2003), gender plays a strong role in delinquency. As indicated in police reports, crimes committed by male juvenile and young adult offenders are greater than their female counterparts. The World Youth Report noted that there are actually a number of reason why this is the case. In terms of social factors, a number of societal standards tend to control the delinquent behavior of females than in males. For instance, sexual assault or violations are committed mostly by males due to the social norm and stereotypical belief than men are more sexually aggressive than women. Culturally, society in general is not as open to delinquent behaviors among females as compared to males. Similarly, this is related to a cultural stereotype where violence, dominance and aggression are believed to be factors that make up individual masculinity. With greater tolerance by society, males are then are less restrained to commit delinquent acts.
Peers or social groups are also significant factors that make males more delinquents than females. In particular, group relations and authority that is based on gender is very much observed among male peers than in girls. As masculinity is typically measured by degree of dominance and aggressiveness, males tend to prove themselves worthy by acting arrogantly or delinquently. There is a great difference as to how peer groups are constructed due the behavioral differences of both genders (Youth at the United Nations, 2003); this difference in peer group behavior make it more likely for men to be more delinquent than women.
Loper (2000) also related the tendency of males to be more delinquent to the fact that girls display a different form of aggression which results to lesser degree of delinquency. In particular, women frequently commit a relational type of aggression; examples of which include gossiping, bullying as well as social exclusion. Males on the other hand, are more on violence of physical aggression. As acts of juvenile delinquency typically involve physical rather than relational aggression, males become more frequent delinquents than females. In general, there are actually a number of factors that cause acts of delinquency in either gender types.
Through the juvenile justice system, crimes and delinquent acts committed by the youth have been handled separately from adult offenders. A separate set of law, approach, processing and punishment are developed for this purpose. Considering the age and the nature of the crimes committed by young offenders, lesser punishment is typically given. However, there had been complaints on the case of chronic juvenile offenders. Specifically, it has been raised if it is possible to bestow a greater degree of punishment such as incarceration to such young offenders. While it has been noted that the degree of crime committed should match the given punishment, there are certain factors to be considered in the case of juvenile delinquency.
For instance, it has been noted that the efficacy of improving the behavior of a youth offender through incarceration has remained inconclusive. Various authors (Fagan, 1996; Winner et al., 1997; Wiebush et al., 2005) have in fact concluded that 50 to 70 percent of youth confined for delinquency have the tendency to be rearrested after their release within a year or two. High recidivism rates among incarcerated youths have also been observed by research. It has been noted that these effects are mainly caused by the removal of positive influences of family and school from detained youths (Austin, Johnson & Weitzer, 2005).
Aside from incarceration’s unproven efficacy, it should also be considered that there are other methods or approaches that are more helpful and beneficial to chronic juvenile offenders. The implementation of community based programs for instance, is a more cost-effective approach than incarceration as costs brought about by detention centers and security officers can be saved. Programs from relevant organizations will also ensure that the juvenile offender maintain positive ties with various sources of positive influence such as his or her family, friends and community. There are actually a number of programs that have proved to be more effective alternatives than incarceration. One example is the program implemented in Multnomah County, Oregon, which significantly reduced crimes committed by juveniles as well as lessened the number of detained minorities (Angell, n.d.).
Angell, K.M. (n.d.) The Regressive Movement: When Juvenile Offenders are treated as Adults, Nobody Wins. Retrieved January 8, 2007 from www-rcf.usc.edu/~idjlaw/PDF/14-1/9-%20Angell-Final.pdf
Atkinson, L. (1982). Your Legal Rights. New York: Franklin Watts.
Austin, J., Johnson, K.D. & Weitzer, R. (2005, September). Alternatives to the Secure Detention and Confinement of Juvenile Offenders. Juvenile Justice Bulletin.
Ciocchetti, C. (2003). Wrongdoing and relationships: an expressive justification of punishment. Social Theory and Practice, 29(1), 65-86
Fagan, J. (1996). The comparative advantage of juvenile versus criminal court sanctions on recidivism among adolescent felony offenders. Law and Policy, 18(1 & 2), 77–113.
Loper, A.B. (2000). Female Juvenile Delinquency: Risk Factors and Promising Interventions. Juvenile Forensic Evaluation Resource Center. Retrieved January 8, 2007 from http://www.ilppp.virginia.edu/Juvenile_Forensic_Fact_Sheets/FemJuv.html
Roberts, A.R. (2004). An Overview of Juvenile Justice and Juvenile Delinquency Cases, Definitions, Trends, and Intervention Strategies. Juvenile Justice Sourcebook Past, Present, and Future (pp. 6-40). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Wiebush, R., Wagner, D., McNulty, B., Wang, Y., & Le, T. 2005. Implementation and Outcome Evaluation of the Intensive Aftercare Program. Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Winner, L., Lanza-Kaduce, L., Bishop, D., & Frazier, C. (1997). The transfer of juveniles to criminal courts: Reexamining recidivism rates over the long term. Crime and Delinquency, 43(4), 548–563.
Youth at the United Nations (2003). World Youth Report Chapter 7: Juvenile Delinquency. World Youth Report 2003 (pp. 188-211). Retrieved January 8, 2007 from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/documents/ch07.pdf
- Discussion Board
From what I have researched, recent reports had actually noted that teens are the ones who have the tendency to report less cases of victimization as compared to adults. The statistic report from the Bureau of Justice stated that adolescents aged 12 to 19 are the most common victims of various crimes in the US and are victimized twice as much compared to older individuals. While this fact is disturbing enough, it has also been observed that teenage victims are the ones least likely to report cases of victimization to authorities. In fact, it has been noted in report trends that the increased rate of victimization reports is directly proportional to age. Specifically, 38% of the total crimes involving teenagers have been reported whereas 58% victimization cases had been reported by older individuals 65 years and above (Whitman, 2005).
The journal article explained why such tendency in victimization reporting is observed. For one thing, teenagers are hesitant to report cases of victimization due to fear of being punished, of not being believed as well as of revenge. These sources of fear are mainly derived from their many insecurities as well as the pressure they receive from others, especially their peers. This also suggest of their lack of trust to people whom they could ask for help.
Another important factor that makes teenagers unlikely to report victimization is unawareness. Without enough knowledge as to how these cases should be reported and addressed, adolescents tend not to have the victimization case reported. From this it is clear that the lack of assistance from adults is the main factor that causes this issue. Teenagers are unsure of themselves and easily swayed by the influence of others; it is then necessary that proper guidance is given to them, especially from their families.
Whitman, J.L. (2005). Bringing Together Community Youth Development and Victim Assistance to Reach Teen Victims of Crime. CYD Journal. Retrieved January 8, 2007 from http://www.cydjournal.org/2005Fall/whitman.html#r2
Unit 2: Delinquency Theories
- Individual Project
In this discussion, psychological and sociological theories will be explained in relation to certain crimes including shoplifting, breaking and entering a home and carjacking. Cognitive evaluation and prospect theories are the two psychological theories used while the impression management and role theories are the sociological theories selected for the discussion.
Psychological theory: Cognitive Evaluation and Prospect Theories
The cognitive evaluation theory (CET) is a psychological theory that explains that a person’s action is greatly influenced by motivating factors and was introduced by Deci and Ryan (1985). Specifically, there are intrinsic motivators, which are sources of motivation derived from the person inner self, and extrinsic factors that are derived from the person’s environment. This theory explains that there are always stimuli present that encourage a person to do an action; the value of either type of motivator however, varies from each person. Thus, there are people who are more motivated for the purpose of satisfaction, while some are more drive to perform to please others.
The prospect theory is another psychological theory which was introduced in 1979 by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (Kahneman & Tversky, 1992). This particular theory focuses on how individuals assess gains and losses. The prospect theory stresses that people have the tendency to prioritize gains that can be achieved with higher certainty as compared to a gain that is less likely to be achieved regardless of the fact that both gains have the same value. In terms of losses, people will give it their all just so to avoid them, even if it involves greater risks. This theory emphasizes that in order for others to be encouraged in adopting something, its gain must be promoted. On the other, for people to reject something, the losses they could encounter from it should be stressed. Both of these psychological theories are related to the acts of shoplifting, breaking into a home and carjacking.
In order for a person to decide to shoplift, there are certain motivating factors encouraging him or her to do the action. The individual may be mainly driven by intrinsic motivation; thus, shoplifting can be done by a person who intends to achieve self-satisfaction out of doing an illegal and delinquent act. On the other hand, shoplifting particularly among juvenile, occurs due to peer pressure. As this act can be used as some form of initiation to enter a certain group, an individual may also do the act due to environmental or intrinsic reasons. With the cognitive evaluation theory, it is stressed that shoplifting can actually be done depending on the motivating factor most valued by the shoplifter.
In terms of the prospect theory, a shoplifter prioritizes the gains that he or she will acquire out of shoplifting. Losing friends, losing a preferred social status, losing respect or losing authority are some of the possible losses affecting a shoplifter. So as not to experience these losses, the shoplifter will do all possible ways to avoid them. Despite the risk of being caught, the individual is driven to do this delinquent act for the purpose of obtaining certain gains.
- Breaking into a Home
Internal or external needs of a person can also serve as important motivating factors to break and enter into another’s home. An intrinsically-driven person for instance, can acquire self-satisfaction out of doing a highly risky act. On the other hand, a person seeking the acceptance of other people or an individual wanting other people to fear him or her may also do this act out of extrinsic motivation. Depending on the person doing the act, the application of the prospect theory may lead to different outcomes. For instance, a person who will gain something out of breaking into another’s home is more driven to do the act despite the risks involved. On the other hand, a person who is aware of the consequences and who will not gain anything from burglary will choose not to do the action.
Similar to shoplifting and burglary, carjacking is also a delinquent act that is driven by either intrinsic or extrinsic motivation, depending on the individual. A person who finds this act as adventure-like and exciting will be driven intrinsically to carjack. Having friends who enjoy doing this delinquent act and gaining social acceptance out of carjacking further encourages the person to habitually steal cars. On the other hand, this could also work the other way around. In particular, a person who owns a car and is unable to overcome the threat of being a social outcast will not be motivated to carjack. With the prospect theory, an individual who will not gain anything out of carjacking naturally will not face the risks involved once caught of doing this action.
Sociological theory: Impression Management and Role Theories
The impression management theory is a sociological theory that explains that individuals perform a certain process in order to develop an impression they wanted to convey to the public. Goffman (1959) noted that individuals or even organizations develop and retain certain impressions that match with the perceptions they want others to see. This theory states that each individual has a personal goal, and by means of goal-oriented actions he or she is able to create the intended public perception. This process is also known as self-presentation.
Another sociological theory is the role theory, which explains that the behavior displayed by an individual is mainly guided by both personal and external expectations (Belzen, 1996). In order to fulfill these expectations, individuals act in accordance to their designated roles. A simple example is the role of an office worker; based on role-generated expectations, it is expected that he or she will manage paper works, type memos, manage appointments and schedules as well as handle phone calls. This of course is naturally expected from an athlete or a performer.
The role theory actually develops predetermined expectations from certain roles played by different individuals. This is because roles are derived from a person’s day to day activities and behavior that can be observed by others. Based from this conceptualization, the role theory stresses the fact that people tend to spend most of their life with other people around them. From this, norms or standards are formed. Thus, in order for people to comply with these norms, their codified roles must be carried out, otherwise certain punishment or sanction may be given. These theories can also be applied to certain delinquent acts.
It is difficult to perceive how a person would want to develop an impression by doing a delinquent act. However, it can also be surmised that acting delinquently or shoplifting, a person conveys the amount of self-confidence he or she possesses. By creating this impression, it is likely for the shoplifter to feel above others’ who do not have enough confidence to shoplift. Through shoplifting, the individual establishes an impression of greatness and power that others do not have.
The perception of the public to a shoplifter then creates the role of a person who habitually steals unpaid items without being affected by the possibility of being caught. With the role theory, it is possible that the individual was known to be delinquent by others. Thus, in order to perform the role assigned to him or her, more severe acts of delinquency such as shoplifting are performed. In the long run, the role theory somehow predicts that the shoplifter will perform other forms of delinquency just so too comply with his or her role.
- Breaking into Another’s Home
Breaking into one’s home or burglary creates a different type of impression to the public. In this case, it is likely that the burglar derives some form of satisfaction by creating impressions of fear from the public. It is possible that the individual doing this act has this goal of being in authority; thus, by means of breaking into another’s home, the individual able to achieve authority by inflicting fear to others. Typically, this delinquent act is carried out by several other people. With the application of the role theory, it is likely that burglary is done by others so as to comply with the norms of people who are capable of doing the same delinquent act.
The impression built by shoplifting is similar to shoplifting. Specifically, this act also creates the impression that a person who can steal major properties such as cars has great confidence and is capable of doing more serious offenses. In the same way as shoplifting, a person who carjacks may have been initially thought of as a delinquent. Thus, in order to play the role assigned to him or her, the delinquent act of carjacking is carried out. It is also possible that the confidence to steal cars is derived from the encouragement of peers. Hence, to meet the role expectations of others, such acts are done.
Belzen, J. (1996). Beyond a Classic? Hjalmar Sunden's Role Theory and Contemporary Narrative Psychology. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 6(3), 181-199.
Deci, E.L. & Ryan, R.M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.
Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
Tversky, A. & Kahneman, D. (1992). Advances in prospect theory cumulative representation of uncertainty. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 5(4), 297-323.
- Discussion Board
There had been a number of studies that had investigated on the capability of threat of punishment to deter delinquent behavior. Previous researches have stressed that there are actually different way on how threat of punishment prevents an individual from doing a violation or crime. One is through the power of conscience and self-imposed threats (Grasmick & Bursik, 1990). Internally, a person’s conscience thinks about the shame he or she will experience out of delinquent behavior; hence, a person with a strong inner conscience are likely to develop feelings of shame and guilt, resulting to less likelihood of delinquency (Bishop, 1984). Significant people in the individual’s life such as family members and romantic partners also play a role in deterring delinquent behavior. Specifically, the possibility of receiving rejections and disapproval from these people due to a person’s delinquency establishes a form of informal threat, which in turn helps in preventing one from doing violations or crimes (Tripplett & Jarjoura, 1994).
The threat of formal or legal sanctions for delinquent behavior also has the ability to deter delinquency. Being punished by law will take away a person’s freedom from; this can also negatively affect the social status of the person. As people are generally aware of these consequences, it is likely that they will less likely be involved in delinquent acts. However, some studies also noted that threat of punishment is not as effective in deterring delinquent behavior. According to Wright and associates (2004), individuals who are prone to behaving delinquently are typically those who act based on impulse; these are people who think less of their actions’ consequences, thus, they remain unaffected by threat of punishment.
This suggests that the effect of threat of punishment is not effective in general and that certain people will always act delinquently despite the consequences. Delinquent behavior however can be prevented through other means. Guetzloe (1999) for instance suggested that community prevention activities that support at-risk juveniles should be observed. These activities should mainly comprise of social skill enhancement and mentoring, which in turn would protect youths exposed to several delinquency-related factors. Juveniles displaying some forms of delinquent behavior may require more intensive preventive approaches. In this case, programs or plans developed by the child’s school may be applied with the collaborative support of his or her family and community (Walker & Sprague, 1999). A concrete example of this prevention approach is the provision of training support for the family’s enhancement of behavioral skills.
Bishop, D.M. (1984). Legal and Extralegal Barriers to Delinquency: A Panel Analysis. Criminology, 22(3), 403-419.
Grasmick, H.G. & Bursik, R. Jr. (1990). Conscience, Significant Others, and Rational Choice: Extending the Deterrence Model. Law & Society Review 24, 837-861.
Guetzloe, E. (1999). Violence in children and adolescents-a threat to public health and safety: A paradigm of prevention. Preventing School Failure, 44, 21-24.
Tripplett, R.A. & Jarjoura, G.R. (1994). Theoretical and Empirical Specification of a Model of Informal Labeling. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 10(3), 241-276.
Walker, H. M., & Sprague, J. R. (1999). The path to school failure, delinquency, and violence: Causal factors and some potential solutions. Intervention in School and Clinic, 35(2), 67-73.
Wright, B. & Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. & Paternoster, R. (2004). Does the Perceived Risk of Punishment Deter Criminally Prone Individuals? Rational Choice, Self-Control, and Crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 41(2), 180-213.
Unit 3: Delinquency Influences
- Individual Project
The two organizations selected for this discussion are The Center for Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development, and the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA). Below are the details pertaining to these organizations:
The Center for Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development
This organization is centered on coordinating with other agencies in order to provide the necessary resources to ensure the youths’ healthy development. The organization believes that there is no other time to prevent juvenile delinquency but now. The center participates in different activities that would help promote juvenile delinquency prevention. Programs that educate the youth, strengthen family values, enhance awareness on juvenile delinquency as well as promote the avoidance of using illegal substances are some of the activities participated by the organization.
The programs supported by the center are actually related to different institutions. Most of these programs are from schools, universities or government agencies. As the programs are conducted through collaborative approach, I believe the success and efficacy of these programs are high. Aside from this, the programs are truly directed towards the prevention of specific acts of delinquency. Hence, the organizational site features specific programs that help prevent crimes, violence, drug abuse or truancy. I believe that prevention is more effective if the programs or actions developed are directed to the specific roots of the problem. Rather than employ a general education program for all acts of delinquency, the center’s participation to specific programs for juvenile delinquency prevention increases the chances of helping out the youth successfully.
The site of the organization did not mention whether separate programs are done for males and females. However, the center is not solely focused on certain problems brought about by juvenile delinquency. As causes of delinquency arise through different causes, the organization participates and provides resources necessary to address problems on illegal substance abusers, children in gangs, students skipping school as well as youth violence. Although the organization virtually covers all types of problems related to juvenile delinquency, it is also essential that actual juvenile delinquents should also be given support. This is for the purpose of ensuring that young offenders realize their wrongdoings, become more aware of their actions and do things that will be for their own good and the good of other people.
A good program for this purpose would be one that would enhance the knowledge and skills of the juvenile delinquents. Through educators and medical support team, juvenile delinquents can be educated of essential moral values that they should use in their daily encounters with their families, friends and other people. Through moral education, juvenile delinquents will learn more how to act responsibly and appropriately; this will help them realize the consequences of their actions as well as the value of discipline. This aspect of the proposed program can be carried out through classroom education. In order to make the class sessions more interesting, instructors may use different instructional materials (movies, slide presentations, online education) as well as classroom activities (plays, debates) where students will be more involved in the learning process.
The skill enhancement part of the program on the other hand, focuses on the teaching of different activities that children can spend more of their time on. Typical hobbies such as craft making, art, woodworks, gardening, cooking and other similar activities can be taught to children. The purpose of this is to help children become pre-occupied with more productive activities, where their own skills can be enhanced. It is essential that in prevention programs, a mean for maintaining good behavior among children is also integrated.
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)
CWLA is one of the country’s largest and oldest organizations geared towards the protection of the children’s welfare. It is the aim of the organization to make children the top priority of the United States; in order to fulfill this objective, the organization then develops and conducts various programs that promote the well-being of the youth. The organization believes that the collaboration of different sectors, including other organizations, communities, government offices, communities and families, will greatly help increase the chances of protecting the youth from harm and ensuring their healthy development. With this belief, the different programs of the organization is supported by the concept of collaboration, where participating groups along with their individual ideas are joined together to form a common goal for their young targets.
CWLA is actually an organization made up of several departments that handle the different needs of children. One of these departments is its Juvenile Justice Division which was established in July 2000. it is the goal of this department to work with and through other members agencies in efforts geared towards the reduction of juvenile delinquency incidents in the country as well as to reduce the dependence of the nation to incarceration of delinquent youths.
The activities of the CWLA in line with the promotion of juvenile delinquency prevention are mainly dependent on education. Specifically, the organization has developed a process that would help local and state jurisdictions to have more coordinated child welfare as well as juvenile justice system. This effort is comprised of various bulletin releases, which include a Community Implementation Guidebook as well as Promoting a Coordinated and Integrated Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice System. Aside from these materials, the organization has also developed a four-phase framework which aims to increase the success rate of juvenile delinquency prevention programs. The framework’s phases include mobilization and advocacy; study and analysis; action strategy development; and implementation. These activities of CWLA are effective as it promotes the efficacy of related programs; these programs also facilitate the duties of different agencies that have a similar goal for the nation’s youth. However, the prevention effort of the organization appears to lack specificity. In particular, the framework as well as the guidebooks appears to general for a more direct development in juvenile delinquency prevention.
For this reason, it is then essential that CWLA develop materials that are directed to specific juvenile issues. For example, a framework that would assist youths with problems on drug abuse, violence, incorrigibility, truancy and other related offenses should be developed. Materials or bulletins that address individual types of juvenile delinquencies should also be developed by the organization. In this way, a more direct and effective approach can be carried out by CWLA; the benefits of these more specific efforts are also more likely to be achieved.
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) (2006). Juvenile Justice Division. Retrieved January 9, 2007 from http://www.cwla.org/programs/juvenilejustice/default.htm
The Center for Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development. (2006). Retrieved January 9, 2007 from http://www.delinquencyprevention.org/
- Discussion Board
According to Davis (1999), in order to prevent or address problematic behaviors among juveniles, it is essential that caring relationships, positive expectations as well as chances for meaningful participation are present. The importance of these factors then indicates that the family aspect should be the main focus of the prevention effort. This is because caring relations, good expectations and meaningful participation can be achieved by establishing a strong connection between the children and the people closely related to them. It is important that secure attachment is established among children so as to take away anxiety, fear and threat that they tend to feel (Fonagy, 2000). Establishing a strong connection among members of the family help in developing a deep sense of belonging, greater understanding of each one’s individuality as well as clearer communication channel; this in turn helps in inculcating important values in the child’s developing, including love, respect and discipline. Ensuring a good home environment first is then a key to a more effective prevention of delinquency.
After dealing with the family, preventing delinquency behavior should then focus on the children’s school surrounding. This is because administrators and teachers can help out in making the youth more flexible against the many factors that lead to delinquent behavior. In particular, people in the school can serve as sources of protective factors in the form of positive expectations, effective counseling and guidance as well as development of an enjoyable and secure learning environment (Furlong & Morrison, 2000). With the help of both family and school, sufficient guidance for the children can then be administered. With this collaboration, children will be more guided in terms of the people they meet or interact with.
With this in mind, a proposed set of strategies to prevent delinquency has been developed. The proposed procedure is divided into three-parts which targets youth depending on the degree of delinquent behavior:
This initial strategy will be done for the purpose of ensuring that children who are not at-risk of behaving delinquently are properly guided. The aim of this strategy is to enhance the protective factors (good relations with family, good standing in school, caring peers) so as to prevent the occurrences of delinquency among the children. This type of intervention is good as it takes on a proactive approach in delinquency prevention. This strategy will be carried out mainly in two ways. One is through regular family visits and school-wide promotion of discipline among students. The latter strategy will be initiated primarily by the school staff. This promotion will mainly come in the form of classes that focus on moral values and ethics. Family visits on the other hand will involve a brief education among members of the child’s family by a social worker as to how their child can be disciplined and monitored properly.
The secondary stage of the proposed plan is targeted more on specific delinquent problems that are actually done by youth offenders. Targets of this intervention are youths that are at-risk of doing habitual delinquent acts. It is the aim of this intervention to prevent young offenders from displaying delinquent behaviors continuously. The provision of more specific prevention programs based on certain types of delinquent behaviors is effective as it gives greater protection to affected youths (Guetzole, 1999). For this intervention, specific mentoring and social skill enhancement programs are to be conducted for the common delinquent behaviors displayed by at-risk youths within a particular community.
This intervention stage involves the conduction of programs that are targeted for chronic youth offenders. Yell and Rozalski (2000) noted than children subjected to an extensive rehabilitation program for delinquency are mainly those who are out of control and constantly cause serious problems in their environment. At this stage, programs will be carried out in coordination with the juvenile justice system. A proposed program for this intervention is the provision of behavior management training program for the families of targeted youths. Rather than focus on individual programs participated by separate institutions, programs under the third-stage intervention will employ the concept of collaboration, wherein family, schools, community and government should work together in developing one comprehensive program for chronic offenders.
Davis, N. J. (1999). Resilience: Status of the research and research-based programs. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, Division of Program Development, Special Populations & Projects, Special Programs Development Branch. Retrieved January 9, 2007 from http://www.mentalhealth.org/schoolviolence/5-28resilience.asp
Fonagy, P. (2001). The human genome and the representational world: The role of early mother-infant interaction in creating an interpersonal interpretive mechanism. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 65, 427-447.
Furlong, M., & Morrison, G. (2000). The School in School Violence. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 8, 71-82.
Guetzloe, E. (1999). Violence in children and adolescents-a threat to public health and safety: A paradigm of prevention. Preventing School Failure, 44, 21-24.
Yell, M. L., & Rozalski, M. E. (2000). Searching for safe schools: Legal issues in the prevention of school violence. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 8(3), 187-196.