Juvenile system

Today, a growing cadre of violent teenage boys is growing up with mothers and no resident father, the problem gets serious. What they need most of all is structure and supervision. We may not be able to change attitudes, but we can change behavior. While there is no evidence that any form of therapy can really change a violent repeat offender into someone with empathy for others. The present system actually encourages the young to continue their behavior by showing them that they can get away with it. No punishment means a second chance at the same deviancy.

They think of the system as a game they can win. It is time to acknowledge its failure and restructure the system so that “juvenile system” ceases to be an oxymoron. An example of a man whose life showed no reason to kill was Ted Bundy. During his childhood, Ted was made to believe that his grandparents were actually his parents and that his natural mother was his older sister. This was done in order to protect his mother from the criticism and prejudice of being an unwed mother  (Michaud & Aynesworth).

As young boy, Ted was a shy child, always the butt of jokes yet he was able to maintain high grades in school. He was particularly fascinated in politics. It was in 1967 when he began a relationship with a girl who did not reciprocate his feelings to her. She felt that he did not have any goals or ambition in life. He even lied just to get her affections. (Michaud & Aynesworth). Author Ann Rule said in her book, The Stranger Beside Me, “Ted’s life was so carefully compartmentalized that he was able to be one person with one woman, and an entirely different man with another.

He moved in many circles, and most of his friends and associates knew nothing of the other areas in his life. ” (Rule, 2000, 42). Yet, he was a serial killer whom the investigators learned was a great “sadistic sociopathic killer” (548). Many of the families of young women thought to have been victims of Ted Bundy never did find their daughters’ remains. From time to time, parts of skeletons turn up in rural areas, but to date, there have been no positive identifications made. ” (545). Another example of a criminal who thought well about his crime before executing it was Gacy.

He was a most admired man- astute businessman who spent his time hosting elaborate parties. He immersed himself in entertaining as a clown at local hospitals and in organizations such as the Jaycees. People knew him as fun, generous and hard-working. However, there was another side to him. (Bell and Bardsley). Jeffrey Ringall was picked up by Gacy and Ringall found himself in his place and he remembered the heavy-set Gacy naked before him and before the night was through, he was viciously raped, tortured and drugged by Gacy (Bell and Bardsley).

Gacy’s father was unpleasant and he never got to be close to him. He was a very good salesman who could talk his way in almost anything. Yet he committed crimes that his friends never imagined he would do. Criminals have an intense motivation which is why they behave the way they do. Yet in the case of these serial killers, it was one trauma after another. Their own cognitive and emotional aspects suffered in the end. Two important dimensions of the “whys” of behavior are activation and direction. For teenagers, they are motivated, they do something.

Their behavior is activated or energized. If adolescents are hungry, they might go to the refrigerator for a snack. If they are motivated to get a good grade on a test, they might study hard. Second, when adolescents are motivated, their behavior is also directed. In sum, criminal offenders make decisions that appear rational – to the offenders at least – to engage in specific criminal acts. The immediate roots of rational choice theory are rational choice theory, routine activity and situational crime prevention including economic theories of crime such as those of G. S. Becker (Clarke, R. and Felson, M.. 1993).


Bell, R. and Bardsley, M. John Wayne Gacy. Crime Library, Criminal Minds and Methods. Bjorklund D. F. (1995). Children’s thinking: Developmental function and individual differences (2nd ed) Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Clarke, R. (1997). Introduction. In Clarke, Ronald V. (ed. ). Situational Crime Prevention: Successful Case Studies (2nd ed. ). (pp. 1-43). Albany: Harrow and Heston. Cornish D. and Clarke, R. (eds. ) 1986. The Reasoning Criminal. New York: Springer- Verlag. The Decision to Commit a Crime. Retrieved Nov. 26, 2007 at: faculty.ncwc.edu/TOConnor/301/crimdecd.htm