Many of the theories that will be presented will be applicable to at least some instances of crime and delinquency in society. Crime is such a diverse topic, that the explanation of this social problem is just as diverse. This perspective sees delinquency as a function of the surroundings or environment that a juvenile lives in. The saying, “society made me do it” could help to better understand this perspective.
The public appears much more aware of juvenile crime today than in the past; this is due in part to more thorough reporting techniques and greater emphasis on publicizing delinquent acts in the media. Official U. S. crime reports in the 1980’s, showed that about one-fifth of all persons arrested for crimes are under 18 years of age. In the 1970’s, juvenile arrests increased in almost every serious crime category, and female juvenile crime more than doubled. During the most recent five year period studied, juvenile arrests decreased slightly each year.
Unofficial report, however, suggest that a higher percentage of juveniles are involved in minor criminal behavior; grossly underreported common offenses include vandalism, shoplifting, underage drinking, and using marijuana. As students work through this unit, they will continually make and judge decisions, and they will analyze decision making by government officials and those seeking to influence government. Responsible decision making involves careful assessment of alternative and their consequences in light of values and goals.
Responsible decision makers consider the effects of their choices on themselves and various others. They will judge the fairness of their choices in terms of both individual and group goals. A responsible citizen might ask; 1) How will my decision affect me? 2) How will my decision affect various others? The responsible citizen tries to make decisions that balance the needs of the individual and of society. This unit will conclude with actual written case studies featuring current topics, issues, and events.
Each case is written to develop one or more decision-making skills can help them achieve goals they value are likely to strive to acquire these competencies. Objectives: 1). Help students acquire knowledge and skills needed to carry out their responsibilities and rights. 2). Help students increase their thinking skills and decision making process. 3). Help students understand causes of juvenile crime. 4). Help students understand the juvenile system. 5). Help students use skills in finding, comprehending, organizing, communicating information, and ideas.
6). Apply questions to decision-making situations. 7). Identify the role of the courts and the juvenile. ` 8). Increasing student vocabulary. 9. The juvenile justice system has evolved over the years based on the premise that juveniles are different from adults and juveniles who commit criminal acts generally should be treated differently from adults. Separate courts, detention facilities, rules, procedures, and laws were created for juveniles with the intent to protect their welfare and rehabilitate them, while protecting public safety.
The root causes of crime are many and diverse. Any hope of addressing those causes successfully requires multi-faceted strategies, bits and pieces of which can be implemented by neighborhoods, communities and various levels of government. There is no silver bulletno simple, expedient answer that can be imposed from above. Any solution to juvenile crime must involve all sectors of society: individuals, families, schools, churches, community groups, governments and businesses. While the scope of effort involved should be as broad as all of society.
Each state should have particular “ownership” of the juvenile crime problems. The inclination toward crime often arises from factors at home; the impact of crime is felt in neighborhoods; the arrests, prosecutions and, in most cases, dispositions are city and county operations. Only 2 percent of juveniles arrested eventually are placed in state institutions. While the state is a bit player in the day-to-day staging of the juvenile justice system, it has the ability and responsibility to carve out a powerful role as a policy leader and facilitator for local solutions.