One of the best strategies for combating juvenile delinquency is adopting developmental crime prevention program. Developmental crime prevention programs aim to lower an individual’s potential of becoming criminal. The theory that guides these types of programs is that criminal and deviant activity is the result of early life experiences and learning. These programs put an emphasis on what causes individuals to commit deviant acts in order to identify ways that this activity can be stopped (Lab, 2014). A key piece to developmental crime prevention programs is identifying risk and protective factors for offending.
A risk factor is any variable increases the probability of later offending, while a protective factor is any variable that interacts with a risk factor to minimize its effects. The two categories of risk factors that tend to get the bulk of attention in developmental crime prevention programs are individual and family-level risk factors. Examples of these types of risk factors are low intelligence and attainment and poor parental supervision, respectively (Lab, 2014). Once these factors have been identified, programs are designed to counteract the risk factors, and enhance the protective factors.
An interesting feature that is unique to developmental prevention is that reducing criminality tends to be an indirect consequence of most programs. Many programs are initially implemented to improve early childhood outcomes by increasing cognitive skills, academic achievement, building strong bonds with the family and school, and more. This is done well before delinquency or offending can even be measured.
One type of program that would fall under developmental crime prevention is a preschool enrichment program. The aim of these enrichment programs is to provide children from economically disadvantaged homes with the skills they need to succeed that they might not be able to get at home. These programs work to not only better the child’s immediate learning and social and emotional abilities, but also improve the child’s chance of success over their life course. These types of programs also offer and services for parents, such as parent training, and medical resources so that the enrichment of the child that occurs at schoolcan extend into the home. Preschool enrichment programs not only aide in preventing delinquency and later in life offending, but they also benefit individuals in other life-course outcomes. Children who go through preschool enrichment programs tend to have better outcomes in education, income, substance abuse and family stability (Farrington & Welsh, 2007).
The crime problem I have chosen to focus on is juvenile delinquency. There are many behaviors that fall under juvenile delinquency including, but not limited to violence, drug use, and truancy. These behaviors begin to develop as early as infancy due to risk factors such as poor parental supervision, child abuse, neglect, and poor social...