RUNNING HEAD: UNIQUE SITUATIONS WHEN DEALING WITH JUVENILES Unique Situations When Dealing With Juveniles Corrections Professor Sunshine Richards Juvenile crime rates have been a main concern for law enforcement officials throughout the past several decades. “Over the past several decades, the number of juvenile arrests have been relatively stable except for increases in juvenile violent crime, as murder arrests for juvenile offenders increased by 93 percent during the 1980s and arrests for aggravated assault increased by 72 percent (Seiter, 2011).
With that being said, many questions have been raised as to what is causing these increased crime rates and how are law enforcement personnel handling the situation. This paper will discuss child development and how it plays a role in juvenile crime, unique situations faced by juvenile crime, punishment for juvenile crime, and what is being done to deter juvenile crime. Violent crimes have increased significantly among juveniles over the last decade and that is because a lot has changed in society in regards to child development.
In todays society when people think about child development and juvenile crimes, there are several main things that immediately stand out in their mind; broken homes, gangs, and drugs. The topic of broken homes and how it affects juvenile delinquency has been researched by many throughout thee years. It is said that boys who are raised without a father are often deprived of the necessary maturation and as a result, they overreact through use of delinquent behavior (“Juvenile delinquency-family structure,” 2011). High rates of broken home among incarcerated youths were taken as evidence supporting his assumption (“Juvenile delinquency-family structure,” 2011). It is said that children who are raised in a single parenting home are more likely to have been exposed to crime promoting influences such as parental conflict and alcoholism (“Juvenile delinquency-family structure,” 2011). A study revealed that children with alcoholic or fathers with criminal history were more likely to have sons convicted of serious crimes, whether the father was present or not in the child’s life (“Juvenile delinquency-family structure,” 2011).
Other issues raised in single parenting environments are supervision issues. Many single parents have trouble finding assistance when it comes to watching their children and because of this it cause the juvenile to be improperly supervised. “Consistent discipline and supervision add social control to the internalized bonds on the route towards forming well socialized adolescents” (“Juvenile delinquency-family structure,” 2011). Other unique situation that law enforcement personnel are fighting on a daily basis is juvenile gangs and drugs.
Juvenile gangs have contributed to a large increase in violent and other crimes over the past two decades (Seiter, 2011). Juvenile gangs not only cause issues due to their violent behavior but are also very destructive of personal and private property. It is stated that juvenile like to mark their territory, meaning vandalism and by doing so it is a threat to other rival gangs to stay away from that particular area because they are in control of it (Seiter, 2011). This only makes it easier for gangs to identify where rival gang members are located and can cause violent crimes to occur upon each other.
Gang members use violence to receive attention and recruit new members; they would rather fight another gang member instead of letting him go (Seiter, 2011). From 1985 to 1994, there was a 103 percent increase of juvenile arrests with weapons in their possession (Seiter, 2011). It is hard to determine why juveniles join gangs but it usually all plays back to a child’s home and surrounding influences. If a child is raised around that type of environment then they will feel more pressured or obligated into having to join a gang.
Some children from broken homes might join a gang to get the sense of brotherhood and knowing someone else is there to have their back. One of the largest battles in America is against drug problems. Drugs use among teenagers has become very common over the last decade and a leading cause to violent or criminal behavior. One main theory suggests that the increase in juvenile violent crime is due to drug accessibility such as crack cocaine. “Crack cocaine is an extremely addictive drug and can result n violent behavior by those using it” (Seiter, 2011). Many juveniles who get addicted to drugs will often get caught up in criminal behavior such as drug dealing and use of weapons. Eleven different cities reported that there was a 40 percent increase of juvenile males in possession of handguns who were associated in the illegal drug market (Seiter, 2011). As juvenile crime became more and more of an issue over time, authorities had to figure out a way to handle the situation. Because of this, the juvenile justice system was created. Juvenile justice system is a system to handle juveniles separate from adult offenders, based on the concept of parens partiae, which was used as the basis for giving the court authority to take over supervision of children when their parents failed to provide proper care or guidance” (Seiter, 2011). In order to properly punish some juveniles for committing such harsh and unbearable crimes, the juvenile justice system came up with a way to transfer a juvenile from juvenile to adult courts. This is called waiver of juvenile offenders and is something that been around since the 1940’s (Seiter, 2011).
There are two different types of waivers, mandatory waivers and discretionary waivers. Mandatory waivers are where if a juvenile commits a certain type of crime, they will automatically be tried in adult courts. Discretionary waivers vary on a case-by-case basis on whether or not the court will process the juvenile as an adult (Seiter, 2011). Being able to charge a juvenile as an adult for their crimes is a good way to properly punish them for their actions as well as deter other juveniles away from committing violent crimes.
Juvenile crime is an issue but there are also many solutions and ways to deter it. Education is one of the biggest factors in deterring juvenile deliquesces, not just education for the child themselves but for the parents as well. Model programs are great programs that offer information and assist family and children. These programs inform parents about the different effects drugs, gangs, sex, and weapons and teach them that juvenile’s actions will have consequences if they are not responsible (Einstein Law, 2008).
After school and recreational activities also play a large role in deterring juvenile delinquency. They provide entertainment for the juvenile in a controlled and supervised environment, which is away from illegal activity. Such activities included sports, after school study programs, music, etc (Einstein Law, 2008). Lastly, community involvement is a huge deterrence method and ensures a safe neighborhood. Groups such as boy scouts, church groups, or volunteer activities in the community are all safe and good alternatives.
These activities allow the juvenile to interact with people in the community in a safe social environment (Einstein Law, 2008). In conclusion, juvenile crime is a main concern for law enforcement agencies. Violent crimes being committed by juveniles have been increasing over the last decade and cause many issues for law enforcement. The juvenile justice system does its best to properly punish these juveniles for their actions but that the same time wants to rehabilitate and deter them from crime. In todays society there are many different influences and causes for the juvenile crime increase.
It is on the parents and peers to supervise their children and put them in certain activities that will deter them from crime Reference Einstein Law. (2008). Lawyershop. Retrieved from http://www. lawyershop. com/practice-areas/criminal-law/juvenile-law/prevention Juvenile delinquency-family structure. (2011). Retrieved from http://family. jrank. org/pages/1006/Juvenile-Delinquency-Family-Structure. html Seiter, R. (2011). Corrections: An introduction (3rd ed. ). Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.