Juvenile delinquency is taking part in сomitting crimes by minors who fall under a statutory age limit. Today, this dilemma is urgent to a large extent, as it concerns young generation, whom the future of our nation depends on.
The prerequisites and circumstances for juvenile delinquency, as well as crime in general, are socially determined and depend on the specific historical setting of the societal order on the content and trend of its institutions, on the essence and methods of solving the main contradictions, and other factors.
Juvenile Delinquency has its causes. These are negative socio-psychological determinants that contain elements of economic, political, legal, and domestic psychology at various levels of civic consciousness, generating crime as a consequence .
The genesis of adolescent and youth crime is subject to general laws. There are no special or specific reasons for the crime of teenagers, but socio-economic inequality, as well as inequality of opportunities available to people belonging to different groups, is peculiar with regard to adolescents and younger generation .
One of the drawbacks of this phenomenon is that a great number of minors suffer from intellectual disability. Mental disorders of children are most likely to be the outcome and legacy of the corresponding behavior and life of parents-alcoholics or drug addicts. Certain combinations of mental disorders and socio-psychological deformation of the character are largely explained by the fact that the prerequisites for the pathological development of the qualities of minors are hidden in the asociality and immorality of parents . Abuse against each other and their offsprings is rampant in such surroundings; and a direct consequence of
this is the rapid growth of hazardous vicious crimes committed by teenagers and even children. Cruelty begets cruelty. Thousands of children leave home and boarding schools or orphanages because of the neglect or abuse, and the number of suicides is growing.
Unfortunately, minors become one of the most criminally affected and, at the same time, the least socially protected categories of the population in times of unfavourable changes in the society or other circumstances influencing the living standards of people. Due to the rise in juvenile wrongdoing, the number of convicted minors is also expanding. In recent years, juvenile law-breaking in Russia has been characterized mainly by adverse trends, such as rejuvenation and feminization. Among the crimes committed by minors, there is a large proportion of grave mercenary and self-serving vicious crimes. They are often characterized by such features as excessive, unmotivated cruelty and linking of juvenile and grown-ups crime. Summing up the above mentioned, it would be right to admit that the main causes of juvenile delinquency nowadays are:
Socio-economic: lack of normal living setting of adolescents (vagrancy, unattended children, etc.); the need to independently search for and obtain means of subsistence that is the need to earn their living).
Family: a trouble family (alcoholics, drug addicts, etc.) in which there is parental abuse or neglect, no control over teenagers; hostile relations between parents after divorce; families in which parents or relatives commit crimes and somehow encourage or involve children in unlawful activity; well-to-do family families in which feels lonely though the family looks happy outwardly. Teenagers from well-off families commit crimes for the sake of entertainment or betting; they possess a sense of permissiveness, a sense of impunity.
Psychological: kleptomania; lack of strong-willed qualities under pressure from outsiders; alienation of minors from society; propensity of minors to commit crimes; psychological pressure or rejection, often from peers.
Lack of organized leisure, uncontrolled leisure activities: teenagers that are not engaged in organized after-school activities, who spend most of time in the street, wandering around, very often in the company of their antisocial peers, are more inclined to commit crimes.
Thus, the causes of juvenile delinquency can be diverse but the common thing is that, in most cases, teenagers commit crimes being without of supervision.
Goskomstat states that every fifth Russian child is an orphaned child . After leaving the orphanage, 30% become homeless, 20% – criminals. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, every year more than 90 thousand young Russians run away from home owing to their parents’ mistreatment; 10% commit suicide and every month about a thousand children are missing .
One of the negative manifestations of the unfavourable economic situation is the cut of jobs, which has led to a decrease in employment opportunities for youngsters, affecting primarily those who have served their sentences in penitentiary facilities; thus, increasing the number of repeat offenders .
Juvenile wrongdoing is influenced by both external and internal factors. The causes of parental neglect towards their children are noted above. Parents, trying to ensure material wellbeing sometimes ignore the process of bringing up their children. Most crime-prone teenagers, knowing that the criminal accountability of minors begins at the age of 16, in extraordinary cases at the age of 14, perpetrate with impunity.
Deputies of the State Duma of the Russian Federation proposed reducing the age for criminal accountability for committing grave and especially grave crimes to the age of 12 years, arguing that the cruelty of minors, who can not be brought to justice under the law, is striking. Some MPs are sure that the fear of sentencing will deter young people from committing crimes .
In the history of Russia, the criminal liability of minors at different times used to be imposed at the age of 7, 10 or 12; teenagers were held together with adults, and the same penal measures were applied to them. Nonetheless these procedures could not deter or reduce juvenile crime. Therefore, cruelty is not the right option . The reduction of the causes and conditions of juvenile delinquency cannot be achieved by using harsh measures, but with the understanding that any crime committed will be punished, awareness of the inevitability of punishment. Teenagers and parents must be aware that a minor has responsibilities and is accountable for their misdeeds and illegal conduct. The purpose of the legislation is not to impose a severe penalty on a juvenile delinquent but to direct youngsters towards the path of correction and decent way of life; and to achieve this goal the legislation must be perfect and uniform for all.