Juvenile Crime Prevention In America Essay

1858 words - 7 pages

Juvenile crime in the United States is ballooning out of control along with adult crimes, and politicians and law enforcement officials don’t seem to be able to do anything about it. Despite tougher sentencing laws, longer probation terms, and all other efforts of lawmakers, the crime and recidivism rates in our country can’t be reduced. The failure of these recent measures along with new research and studies by county juvenile delinquency programs point to the only real cure to the U.S.’s crime problem: prevention programs. The rising crime rates in the United States are of much worry to most of the U.S.’s citizens, and seems to be gaining a sense of urgency. Crime ranks highest in nationwide polls as Americans’ biggest concern (Daltry 22). For good reason- twice as many people have been victims of crimes in the 1990s as in the 1970s (Betts 36). Four times as many people under the age of eighteen were arrested for homicide with a handgun in 1993 than in 1983 (Schiraldi 11A). These problems don’t have a quick fix solution, or even an answer that everyone can agree on. A study by the Campaign for an Effective Crime Policy has found no deterrent effects of the “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law recently put into effect by politicians (Feinsilber 1A). It has been agreed however that there is not much hope of rehabilitating criminals once started on a life of crime. Criminologist David Kuzmeski sums up this feeling by saying, “If society wants to protect itself from violent criminals, the best way it can do it is lock them up until they are over thirty years of age.... I am not aware of any treatment that has been particularly successful.” The problem with his plan is that our country simply doesn’t have the jail space, or money to hold criminals for large periods of time. There is no apparent way to stop career criminals. Over seventy percent of people who commit crimes will commit another crime within five years (Jackson County 1), and counseling criminals works primarily only with children before their criminal lives start (Feinsilber 1A). So the next obvious solution since incarceration and rehabilitation programs have little to no effect is preventing young people from starting committing serious offenses in the first place. Most criminals have the same backgrounds in common. The majority of offenders come from areas of high poverty, have little education, or have had unstable family lives with broken homes or drug use in the family. Boys whose fathers have served time in prison are very likely to end up in prison themselves when older (Howell 37). Over thirty percent of children in the US live in homes with only one parent (Betts 36). These children are at a much higher risk than children with both parents, and often have no male role model. The experts have been able to find the causes of most of the crime in our country, and have been able to pinpoint high risk youngsters. The next step is developing plans to reduce their risks and get them...

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