Trouble with the law

Delinquency and Youth Crime gives us insights on the defects of schools, which lead to educational failure and deterioration, thus leading to delinquency. Some of these defects are: 1) Belief in the limited potential of disadvantaged pupils. 2) Irrelevant instruction. 3) Inappropriate teaching methods. 4) Testing, grouping, and tracking. 5) Inadequate compensatory and remedial education. 6) Inferior teachers and facilities in low-income schools. 7) School-community distance. 8) Racial and economic segregation. To begin with, low-income children do not get as much attention compared to the children that come from well-to-do families.

These children do not get the necessary attention and admiration from their peers and teachers, thus softening their self-confidence. If they do not succeed in their classes, they are often disregarded and left behind instead of being given help to pull them up to the standard of the class. Anderson mentions, "school achievement can serve as a crucial background variable in the long causal chain affecting delinquency. " (Anderson, 274) School brings forward two more important factors that play a crucial role in fighting delinquency. These include teachers and peers.

Students, who do not do well in their classes, do not seem to establish strong ties with their teachers. In a similar fashion, students who do well in school have stronger ties and the teachers know them very well and often speak highly of them. As a result, students that under-perform in their school are deprived of attention and approbation. This lack of attention and recognition drives these children to turn to activities that might make them seem important thus pushing them to commit delinquent acts. In the long run, weaker students end up disliking their teachers and their school.

They start to believe that school is not the right place for them since they do not fit into its culture. This results in higher dropout rates and higher delinquent crimes. Likewise, children who are disliked by their teachers and their peers, seek people who are like them, for example an intelligent student would seek the company of a student who is equally intelligent, if not more. On the other hand, children who do not get attention from their teachers and well-off students, form groups commonly known as "gangs", that seem to provide them with the respect and the attention that they are so craving for.

Since these children hang around in groups, it becomes easier for them to commit delinquent acts, for the chances of them getting caught are fewer. When these children do not find the support that they need from their near and dear ones, they usually seek other ways to gain attention. They create subcultures that encompass values, behaviors, norms, beliefs, and language that distinguishes itself from the culture at-large. Gangs can be referred to as "subcultures or contracultures consisting of values, norms, and beliefs passed on from one generation of youth to another and which facilitates trouble with the law.

" (Jensen and Rojek, 289) These gangs have their own set of clothing, rules of conduct, gestures, songs, as well as language. The main reasons to be a part of these groups are 1) Sense of belonging: it makes a person feel confident, in control, and gives them a sense of family. 2) Identity 3) Knowledge, such as those based on survival, as well as social issues. There are four basic types of gangs. These are 1) Social gangs: social group with minimal delinquent activities, and involvement in drugs such as alcohol and marijuana.

2) Party gangs: the focus is on drug trafficking but limited in other types of delinquent activities. 3) Serious delinquent gangs: limited in the use of drugs but heavy involvement in serious delinquent crimes. 4) Organized gangs: this involves heavy involvement in delinquent activity, drug use and its sales. It has a well organized and a visible authority structure that comes close to being a formal criminal organization. One can argue that why is it that upper class people have low crime rates compared to the low-income class when the upper class children can be weak in their studies too.

The obvious answer to that would be that low-income groups are economically distressed which makes them turn to illegal activities to generate cash flow. In order to acquire materialistic things, they turn to underground economy; engage in drug deals and robberies. In addition to the low-income areas and all the problems underlying them, race is another factor that plays an important role in shaping the person. Most of the delinquents are either blacks or have Hispanic origin.

It is not that these groups of people were born criminals but it is through the constant dejection that they have faced from the society due to their race that they turn to unlawful activities. There are many reasons that have kept these people away from getting good jobs; lack of education due to inefficient schools for low class people, lack of connections among different groups of people, lack of social skills, and prominently, a different skin color. All the above factors have demoralized the underclass person, which in turn has made them lose hope for their future.

Recently, due to de-industrialization and the emergence of a global economy, there has been a steady loss of unskilled and semi skilled jobs, manufacturing jobs, which would provide opportunities for people from the urban class. Due to the lack of available jobs, and constant failures, many inner city people and their communities have become distressed. In order to fulfill their desires of becoming affluent and having the vast comforts of life, they seek an easier way to become successful by obtaining material stuff that depicts one's social status.

"When the regular economy cannot provide the means for satisfying them, some of the most desperate people turn to the underground economy. " (Anderson, 112) And the fact that they cannot get decent jobs links back to their social upbringing and their educational background. This can be tied to the Social disorganization/Social control theory. This theory implies that when societies undergo significant social change, the common bond that tie people together can weaken, facilitating various forms of deviance.

The fact that our society is transforming very fast, moving from inefficient mechanisms to efficient mechanisms has lead to the weakening or inhibiting of the certain traditional forms of control, which has in turn, facilitated high rates of delinquency. Edwin Sutherland, a Chicago sociologist, mentioned in his work that the "disorganization (of society) fosters cultural traditions that support such (delinquent) activity. ' (Jensen and Rojek, 209) In fact, this is true when we consider the "ghetto" communities.

Anderson mentions that street families encourage underground economy, for example uncles and aunts would talk their family members into engaging in this sort of business. Furthermore, most of the community members, including family members are aware of the illegal activities that take place in their community but often conform to it since they understand that it is a form of livelihood, for some people. One of the other reasons for conformation is the fact that there are no "old heads" to guide the youths through their developing phases.