Negligence by the parents and the state, peer pressure, poverty, legal barriers such as the inability of the prosecutors to effectively link the external variables connected to the child’s criminal tendencies to parental negligence are factors which encourage juvenile crime. In addition, rigid legislations, which are hardly amended to correspond to new research findings, which clearly link environmental factors to juveniles’ crime, are worthy investigating.
Evidently, Brenda’s involvement in drugs may be explained by a number of other factors that are not necessarily intrinsically motivated. For instance, ineffective anti-drug legislation leads to exposure of juveniles to the drugs syndicates. Moralists argue that if laws dealing with drug related issues were effective, Brenda would never have indulged in drug abuse and drug business. Permissive culture is a major predictor factor, which definitely played an important role in influencing Brenda into engaging into such self-destructive ways.
It is apparent that, the cultural background Brenda was brought up in is permissive, and the parent’s leadership style is laissez-faire. This kind of leadership from parents often allows young people a degree of freedom which is not very healthy. A culture of permissiveness is self-destructive to the youths in that it lacks guidance and leaves the youths to do most of the learning by themselves. In turn the youths turn to peers, for advice and more often than not, peer advice is never the best for young people. Brenda seems to have wrongly chosen drug dealers as her role models.
Again this points to the fact that, she was brought up in a culture whereby she could easily mingle with criminals. This again could be a pointer to legal structures being ineffective as it is the prerogative of the police to penetrate and dismantle gangs which unless well thwarted can even take control of whole neighbourhoods. When this happens it is the youths, which are prime targets of the gangs. Brenda certainly was a victim of social, environmental and cultural factors, something which led her into juvenile delinquency and consequently into criminal activities.
As mentioned above, the juvenile system should use a multisectoral approach to deal with Brenda’s case. This means that the juvenile justice should sentence Brenda to indeterminate sentence because evidently if rehabilitated properly she can reform and change, therefore, becoming redeemed and a useful member of the society. The juvenile justice system should treat Brenda’s case as non-serious since she is a first time offender and evidently her actions are motivated by mob psychology and the environment and not really personal decision.
There is an evident danger of subjecting her to determinate sentencing in that, it may serve to harden further her resolve to belong to a gang. Most likely a determinate sentence may result into Brenda who only 15 years old is wasting her life which is not beyond change. There is every indication that Brenda’s actions can change and therefore a determinate sentence will spoil any hope or chances of changing Brenda into a useful member of the society.
Whether Brenda will commit serious offenses as an adult largely depends on what kind of sentencing the juvenile justice system subjects Brenda to. Brenda already has been involved in drug deals, which earned her substantial amounts of income. In addition, Brenda has been involved in violent gang actions as well as a number of petty crimes such as graffiti and disturbing of the peace. It is likely that a determinate sentencing will lead to hardening of Brenda’s heart making it very likely that when she finishes serving her maximum sentence, she may return to criminal activities.
The above contention is based on the fact that determinate sentences contribute to less or no reform on the part of criminals and therefore, subjecting juveniles like Brenda to determinate sentencing denies them a chance to reform. This therefore leads to many youths living abnormal lives. If therefore Brenda is subjected to an indeterminate sentencing, she is likely to reform and as an adult she is less likely to engage in criminal activities. The juvenile justice system in the U. S does not discriminate on gender basis it treats juvenile offenders equally.
Crime is crime according to the law and the sentences should be the same regardless of gender. However, due to different needs between genders, confinement or rehabilitation centers are different especially for the purposes of making sure that programs are responsive to the specific gender needs. Indeterminate sentencing is both suitable for girls and boys alike. Therefore subjecting Brenda to indeterminate sentencing will have a positive impact for the effectiveness of a sentence does not depend on one’s gender but rather on how well intended and suitable a sentence is.