Centre on Juvenile and Criminal Justice

Juvenile delinquency has been a problem of major concern in the United States. This is because it affects young people who like in every other society are the future leaders of the country. Juvenile delinquency should not spell doom for the young lives of the offenders. Instead, it should be used by policy makers as a reflection of the weak points in the society. This is because young people in their innocence copy and learn from the older people.

There is no denying that crime has always been a part of the bigger American society. Yet, this is not an entirely American situation. It happens elsewhere too. What makes the United States different is the fact that the American culture is more liberal and exposes children to lifestyles which predisposes them to crime much earlier than other countries. Violence in the media is a common phenomenon and children in their innocence may think that the killing and murder portrayed in action movies are the real situation in real life.

A 1996 report further found out that Youths in the United States have more access to weapons and firearms than any other part of the world (Juvenile Justice Reform, 1996), but again this is not a trend among the youth only; adults in the United States too have an easy access to weapons than most developed countries. Policy makers in the country have long realized that juvenile offenders just like the adult offenders can learn to be better people. This is especially true for the juvenile offenders who have the bulk of their lives still ahead of them.

The criminal justice system was thought to have the solutions to this and thus the juvenile criminal system was modeled on the same principles. However, policy makers had to find another solution upon realization that the juvenile justice system was more punitive than corrective. The importance of the rehabilitation organizations cannot be overrated as part of the solution to juvenile delinquency. This is because seek to unearth the reasons why the young commit crime, the most relevant rehabilitation method for use and also comes up with ways through which they can involve the bigger community to become part of the solution.

Reasons for juvenile delinquency The factors which may cause a juvenile to pursue a delinquent career are shrouded in the prevailing social, cultural and economic conditions of a country. Economic and Social factors There is evidence to suggest that in areas where the economic development is on the decline, then juvenile delinquency will inevitably increase. The negative consequences of poor economic times may weigh heavily on a family, forcing the children to choose a delinquent career as they struggle to make ends meet. Economic crises such as the one currently facing the American economy may lead to increasing cases of unemployment.

This results in low incomes for the family and if the unemployment situation persists for long enough, then the youth are especially at risk of being involved in criminal activity (Kierkus and Hewitt, 2009). Between 1976 and 1992, the number of juveniles in the US increased by 42% and this caused an increase in juvenile crime (Snyder & Sickmund, 1995). Globally, there are areas which may be faced with political instability which weaken the social and economic institutions and increase the likelihood of the youth engaging in criminal activity