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CRJ 309 Youth and Crime Thomas N. Davidson, JD
Textbook Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. C. (2012). Juvenile delinquency: Theory, practice, and law (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Boys will be boys? Over and over again, the degree to which we accept violent or threatening behavior is dependent upon either the age of the perpetrator or whether a domestic relationship exists. A twelve-year-old who punches and kicks another twelve-year-old at the park might be dismissed as just “boys will be boys”. The frequent incidence of spousal, child, and domestic abuse in the United States has been well documented. What is the natural consequence of this violence? Karl Menninger once said, “What’s done to children, they will do to society.”
Proverbs Contrary to the many other opinions, I believe the Bible was intended to instruct us in all areas of life. We do not find the concept of compartmentalizing one’s life into secular and religious realms. God has provided the principles for righteous living in all things (1 Peter 1:3). Still, in our American Democratic-Republic form of government, the government cannot dictate to us what to religion, if any, to follow. But, that does not mean that God and the Bible's teachings cannot influence our choices and decision making when confronting issues and problems in the criminal justice setting. I challenge you to incorporate faith in your learning experience anytime it is appropriate to do so. Proverbs is an interesting book on the surface, but it is not just another collection of ancient sayings. It is, rather, a collection of inspired truths in memorable and vivid forms. Proverbs covers a wide range of topics. There are proverbs concerning wealth, wisdom, friends, family, work, and worldliness.
The Adolescent Dilemma 1980 nearly 80% of juveniles under the age of 17 were white, non-Hispanic about 18% were black, non-Hispanic about 11 % were Hispanic about 58% were white about 17% were black about 22% were Hispanic 2010 about 3% were all other races.
Ego Identity Ego identity is formed when youths develop a full sense of the self, combining how they see themselves and how they fit with others.
Role diffusion Role diffusion occurs when people spread themselves too thin, experience personal uncertainty, and place themselves at the mercy of people who promise to give them a sense of identity they cannot develop for themselves. Example: Gangs. For a discussion on what factors increase the chances of gang activity among juveniles got to:
At Risk Youth Young people extremely vulnerable t the negative consequences of school failure, substance abuse, and early sexuality.
Cynical & Preoccupied with Material Acquisitions By the time they reach 18, most young people have spent more time in front of the TV than in the classroom. They see thousands of depictions of rape, assault, murder, theft, and other anti-social behaviors. They also listen to hours of music with violent and sexual content. Research indicates that kids who listen to music with sexual content are more likely to engage in precocious sex than those who don’t.
Each day in America: 2 mothers die in childbirth 4 children are killed by abuse or neglect 5 children or teens commit suicide 9 children or teens are killed by firearms 32 die from accidents 202 arrested for violent crimes 377 arrested for drug crimes 964 babies are born at low birthrate 1,210 babies are born to teen mothers
Each day in America continued: 1,240 public school students corporally punished 2,060 babies born without health insurance 2,175 children are confirmed as abused or neglected 2,222 drop out of high school 2,692 babies are born into poverty 4,435 children are arrested 4,498 babies are born to unwed mothers 18,493 public school students are suspended from school
Poor Education About 70% of all 4 th graders cannot read at level About 90% of blacks About 80% of Latino About 80% of American Indian Black children are about 50% more likely to drop out of school than white children; in part caused by poor reading ability that leads to stress
What is Juvenile Delinquency? Participation in illegal behavior by a minor who falls under a statutory age limit: IC Delinquent child defined Sec. 1. A child is a delinquent child if, before becoming eighteen (18) years of age, the child commits a delinquent act described in this chapter. As added by P.L , SEC.20. IC Delinquent act Sec. 2. A child commits a delinquent act if, before becoming eighteen (18) years of age, the child commits an act that would be an offense if committed by an adult, except an act committed by a person over which the juvenile court lacks jurisdiction under IC As added by P.L , SEC.20
Ind. Constitution on Juvenile Delinquency Article IX, Section 2. The General Assembly shall provide institutions for the correction and reformation of juvenile offenders. (History: As Amended November 6, 1984).
Chronic Delinquent Offenders Have been arrested four or more times Perpetuate the majority of serious juvenile crimes Do not “age out” of crime and continue criminal behavior in adulthood About 6% of offenders
Aging-Out and Persistence Aging-out is the tendency for youths to reduce criminal activity as they grow older. Persistence is the process by which offenders persist in their delinquent careers instead of aging-out.
Historic Perspective of Childhood Paternalistic family is a family where the father is the final authority Lower class children were expected to engage in adult roles as soon as physically able to work or learn a trade Children of nobility also entered adulthood early, but had greater opportunity for education. Girls were likely to be married off early in their teens. Primogeniture was the right during the middle ages of 1 st born sons to inherit land and title. Male siblings had the option of the military or clergy. Dower system demanded that the family of a woman bestow land, money, or property to the man who would marry her. Swaddling was the practice of wrapping babies in cloth to restrict their movements and make them easier to manage.
Historic Perspective of Childhood Poor laws (1535) allowed courts to appoint overseers over neglected and destitute children and allowing placement of these children in homes as servants Chancery courts created to oversee the lives of highborn minors who were orphaned or could not care for themselves Parens patriae means the power of the government to act on behalf of the child similar to that of a parent Child savers (19 th Century) formed to develop programs and reforms.
Best Interest of the Child Parens Patriae: A philosophical and legal viewpoint that encourages the state to take control of wayward children and provide care, custody, and treatment to remedy delinquent behavior.
Status Offenses Conduct is only illegal because the offender is under age. Smoking and drinking Skipping school Runaway Participating in sex Curfew Profanity Disobeying parents Truantcy
Part I Crimes Serious crimes against property and people Murder Rape Burglary Arson Motor vehicle theft Theft Aggravated assult
Part II Crimes All other crimes that are not Part I crimes Public intoxication Driving under the influence Littering Disorderly conduct, et cetera Drug use
What the data says More than 13.6 million arrests each year 2.3 million are Part I crimes 11 million are less serious Part II crimes Juveniles are arrested for approximately 15% of Part I violent crimes and 24% Part I property crimes Kids account for only 6% of population, but are arrested for a disproportionate amount of crime. 1.1 million juvenile arrests in 2009 for Part II offenses 74,000 status offenses arrests in 2009
Time and Place Most delinquent acts occur in summer months of July & August Large urban areas have largest violent offender rates Rural areas have lowest violent offender rates Western & southern states have consistently higher rates of delinquency
Gender and Delinquency Males significantly more delinquent (about 4 to 1 for violent crimes and 2 to 1 for property crimes) Girls more likely to runaway See Table 2.3 page 56.
Race and Delinquency There are about 41 million white and 9 million African American youths from ages 5 to 17 (Ratio of 5 to 1) 70% of juveniles arrested are white; 28% African American (Ratio of 2.5 to 1) Disproportionate number of arrests between the races May be due to discrimination or that African American youths have a greater chance of being arrested. Racial Threat Theory – valid? Racial Profiling
Causes of Delinquency Socioeconomic Status Theory Cognitive Behavior Theory Rational Choice Theory Trait Theory Biosocial Theory Psychological Theory
Motives for Violent Delinquent Behavior Control – victim’s life Retribution – punish wrongdoer Deterrence – stop hostile or threatening acts Reputation – create self importance
Crime Prevention& Deterrence Desire Ability Opportunity Desire Likelihood of being caught Gravity of harm if caught Crime Prevention Crime Deterrence
Social Factors Believed to affect Delinquency Interpersonal interactions: family, peers, schools, jobs Community conditions: inner-city, poverty, decay Exposure to violence Social change: politics, mistrust, economic stress Low socioeconomic status: poverty creates incentive Racial disparity: poverty among minorities is higher than that of whites
Theories Social Structure: delinquency (“D”) is function of place in economic structure Social Process: D as result of interaction with socialization elements Stratified Society: Grouping society into classes based on the unequal distribution of resources Culture of Poverty: View that poor people form their own values which sometimes clash with conventional society
Theories Underclass: Group of poor whose members have little chance of upward mobility Social Structure: D is result of socioeconomic conditions and cultural values Enculturated: The process learning what is accepted in a culture Social Disorganization: Links D to being locked out of economic mainstream which cause anger Cultural Deviance: Lower class culture develops in disorganized areas whose beliefs are in conflict with conventional norms
Theories Social Transmission: Norms and values passed down from each generation Social Control: Ability of institutions to influence social behavior Social Ecology: Law abiding behavior is result of social rather than individual forces Transitional Neighborhood: Transition of population & structure from middle class to poorer (White flight)
Theories Siege Mentality: Residents become suspicious of authority and consider outside world as the enemy. We see this when communities refuse to cooperate with police even when the crimes are outrageous and heinous Collective Efficacy: The ability of communities to regulate behavior through influences of school and family Street Efficacy: Using one’s wit to avoid violence and feel safe
Theories Strain Theory: Suggests that most people share similar values and goals. When people feel shutout they feel frustrated and angry, a condition called strain General Strain Theory (GST): Multiple sources of strain interact with a person’s traits and responses to produce D Anomie: Normlessness produced by rapidly shifting moral values. Personal goals cannot be achieved using available means
Sources of Stress Causing Strain Failure to achieve positively valued goals Disjunction between expectations and achievements Removal of positively valued stimuli (loss of friends) Presentation of negative stimuli (child abuse)
Research that Supports GST People who think they have been treated unfairly report high levels of anger & high levels of theft People who live in strain producing conditions are more likely to commit anti-social acts People who believe that path to success is blocked are more likely to engage in criminal activities Similar results in foreign countries (indicating not cultural based outcomes).
Focal Concerns Unique value system that defines lower-class culture. Conformance to these focal concerns dominates life. Promotes illegal or violent behavior. The need for being seen as tough or the need for excitement, trouble, smartness (streetwise & savvy), fate, and personal autonomy (independent of authority figures).
D Subcultures Status Frustration: Culture conflict experienced by lower-class youths because social conditions prevent them from achieving success as defined by society Middle-class Measuring Rods: Standards used by teachers & others to evaluate behavior-when poorer kids do not meet standards they are subject to failure, which brings about anger and frustration Reaction Formation: ψ Reaction that occurs when a person does or says something that is the opposite of what he really wants or is socially appropriate
Differential Opportunity View that poorer youths, which have limited opportunities, join gangs and pursue criminal careers as an alternative means to achieving success. Criminal gangs: Criminal goals Conflict gangs: Protect their own Retreatist gangs: Retreat and create fringe society; often getting high, sex, and music is goal
Social Process Socialization: People learn to adopt the behaviors of the community in which they live. 1. Family influence 2. School 3. Peers 4. Religion
Social Learning Theory D is learned through close relationships with others; asserts that children are born good and learn bad from others Differential Association: Asserts that D is learned within interpersonal groups and youths will become D if violating the law is favorable to obeying the law
Principles of Differential Association (DA) D behavior is learned Learning is a by-product of interaction Learning occurs within intimate groups Criminal techniques are learned Perceptions of legal code influence motives DA may vary in duration, frequency, priority, & intensity D is an expression of needs & values, but not an excuse
Neutralization Theory (NT) Subterranean values: The ability of youth to repress social norms. Youths can drift back and force between conventional and D norms
Neutralization Techniques A set of attitudes that allow youths to negate moral apprehension so that they may freely engage in D behavior without regret 1. Deny responsibility 2. Deny injury (no one hurt, so not wrong) 3. Deny the victim (he had it coming) 4. Condemn the condemners (world, school, society is corrupt) 5. Appeal to higher loyalties (Caught between being loyal to peers and rules of society)
Social Control Theory (SCT) All people have the potential to violate the law and that society presents many opportunities for illegal activity. Drugs, illicit sex, even theft offer exciting pastimes. Is it fear of punishment that prevents offending behavior (choice theory)? Obeying law is a function of success, so we don’t disobey (structural theory)? Obedience is because of contact with law-abiding parents and peers (learning theory)? SCT argues that internal and external forces control desire and passion. Proper socialization renders us incapable of committing D acts.