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Childhood Delinquence. Definition, The Extent, Causes, And What Has Been Done To Deal With The Problem

936 words - 4 pages

Remember doing something mischievous or wrong when you were a kid and getting the label'delinquent' slapped on you ? Did you ever wonder what it meant ? That is what my topicfor today is . . . juvenile delinquency. In this report I will: define juveniledelinquency, give the extent of juvenile delinquency, give some suggestions on what causesjuvenile delinquency, and what is being done in various communities to deal with thisgrowing problem. The legal term juvenile delinquent was established so that younglawbreakers could avoid the disgrace of being classified in legal records as criminals.Juvenile delinquency laws were designed to provide treatment, rather than punishment, forjuvenile offenders. Young delinquents usually are sent to juvenile courts, where the mainaim is to rehabilitate offenders, rather than to punish them. But the term juveniledelinquency itself has come to imply disgrace in today's society. A youngster can belabeled a delinquent for breaking any one of a number of laws, ranging from robbery torunning away from home. But an action for which a youth may be declared a delinquent inone community may not be against the law in another community. In some communities, thepolice ignore many children who are accused of minor delinquencies or refer them directlyto their parents. But in other communities, the police may refer such children to ajuvenile court, where they may officially be declared delinquents. Crime statistics,though they are often incomplete and may be misleading, do give an indication of the extentof the delinquency problem. The FBI reports that during the early 1980's, about two-fifthsof all arrests in the United States for burglary and arson were of persons under the age of18. Juveniles also accounted for about one-third of all arrests for larceny. During anyyear, about 4 % of all children between the ages of 10 and 18 appear in a juvenile court.The percentage of youngsters in this group who are sent to court at least once is muchhigher. A third or more of those boys living in the slum areas of large cities may appearin a juvenile court at least once. Girls are becoming increasingly involved in juveniledelinquency. Today, about one of every five youngsters appearing in juvenile court is agirl. In the early 1900's, this ratio was about 1 girl to every 50 or 60 boys.Sociologists have conducted a number of studies to determine how much delinquency is notreported to the police. Most youngsters report taking part in one or more delinquent acts,though a majority of the offenses are minor. Experts have concluded that youthfulmisbehavior is much more common than is indicated by arrest records and juvenile courtstatistics. Many studies have been made in an effort to determine the causes ofdelinquency. Most of these have focused on family relationships or on neighborhood orcommunity conditions. The results of these investigations have shown that it is doubtfulthat any child becomes a delinquent for any single reason. Family...

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