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Juvenile Delinquency: Its Prevention and Treatment, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 616

Essay

Only a very brief overview of the entire subject of juvenile crime can be achieved here. My purpose is to give the reader a quick summary of its most basic issues, the first of which must be the demographical factors subject to statistical measurement, i.e., of those youthful offenders who have been arrested and who now have a record: category of crime, age, gender, socio-economic status, race, and geographic (broadly, rural vs. urban) location.  Second would obviously be the outcome of each case: release without charge, bail, trial, verdict, imprisonment, and (if applicable) parole or duration of sentence. We can see that at this level of investigation, juvenile crime uses the same parameters that measure adult crime, the sole difference being, by definition, the age of the involved individuals. Yet each of these factors necessarily reflect both the local historical success of juvenile-crime prevention, and help construct strategies offering the highest chances for successful treatment, if any, of juveniles at risk – a subject less open to statistical measurement.

Probably one of the greatest distinctions separating juvenile and adult criminals is that in the former case, programs designed to prevent crime also treat its perpetrators at the same time. The late urbanologist Jane Jacobs makes this clear in her seminal book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, where she cites examples of how housing projects and parks serve as both incubators and theaters of juvenile crime. Fix them, and you have both prevented further crime and treated their young inhabitants, who, unlike their adult counterparts, are not free to leave such venues, either to practice their crimes outside their immediate crime-friendly environments or to simply escape them. From this, we may fairly infer without recourse to sources that children can become like adult prisoners, who, without freedom of movement, are forced to either join the culture of crime or face brutal reprisal.

There are now and have long been many programs, public and private, focused on preventing juvenile crime and treating its actors.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have many such programs and offer links to many others that address related prevention and treatment strategies involving drugs, divorce, schools, smoking, and alcohol use. These programs hew to corrective approaches deemed suitable for taxpayer funding and support by the academic community. By contrast, churches, due to their independence (real and perceived) from government, are free to offer their own socially comprehensive ideologies regarding the subjects of prevention and treatment of youthful offenders. The subject, like all important social problems, is an ideological arena.

Juvenile crime, like its adult counterpart, reflects our society and its times. New venues for crime, such as the World Wide Web, open up new problems and opportunities, and challenge assumptions aligning delinquency primarily to poverty. Obviously juvenile crime at the individual level solves itself: the young grow older. It would seem equally self-evident that preventing juvenile crime is a question of either preventing juveniles themselves, or treating the conditions that turn them into delinquents. In conclusion, one cannot study juvenile delinquency without studying nearly everything else, from alienation to zip guns. Thus will specialists always abound and contend — with each other, the public, and the public’s children.

References

CDC. Youth Violence, Retrieved August 28, 2011 from http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/youthviolence/index.html.

Gair, Christopher. (2007). The American Counterculture, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Hess, Albert. (1993). History of juvenile delinquency. Chatsworth: Scientia.

Jacobs, Jane. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House.

Levitt, Steven. (2005).  Freakanomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. New York: William Morrow,

Mathison, Sandra. (2007). Battleground: Schools. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Mirabello, Mark. (2009). Handbook for Rebels and Outlaws. Author.

United Methodist Church. Retrieved August 28, 2011 from Juvenile Delinquency and Prevention, http://www.umc- gbcs.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=frLJK2PKLqF&b=2954109&ct=4206939&notoc=1

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