Violent Juvenile Crime Essay
Negative Impact of Juvenile Detention Centers Juvenile Justice Program Analysis Today, violent juvenile crime is a major concern in the presence of the juvenile justice system. Over the years, juvenile crimes have been classified in four categories, violent crimes, drug and alcohol violations, sexual offenses and status offenses. Violent crimes committed by juveniles have included assault, rape, homicide, robbery, arson, vandalism, larceny, theft, and auto theft as well as possessions of weapons.
The increase in violent juvenile crime has been evident from the rise of handguns on the street and within schools to assault and rape. One area that has taken storm within the juvenile justice system has been the increase in the rapid growth of juvenile street gangs. There are several things that contribute to violent juvenile crimes. Research has shown where most violent behavior by juveniles is learned behavior. At some point in our lives we all have had some potential for violent behavior. Some juveniles have observed a tremendous amount of violence and know how to do it.
Juveniles in certain communities are committed to conventional norms and values that inhibit their use of violent behavior and they are embedded in social networks, like gangs. In these cases, violent behavior becomes irrational. From experience in working with juveniles violence has been a way of achieving status, respect, and other social and personal needs. According to Polsky’s Diamond, his hierarchy of needs is based on leaders, lieutenants, status seekers and scapegoats; whereas all four of them wants power that can come from violence at a certain extent. For juveniles this could possibly be their only form of power.
In juvenile detention centers when there’s a limited source of alternatives and a weak commitment to moral norms and little supervision of negative behaviors due to lack of staff, violent behaviors become rational for juveniles. During a juvenile’s development, the family could be the major factor because this is where the child begins their learning experiences. Things such as weak family connections, exposure to violence and how’s it tolerated when displayed can contribute in so many ways on how it will affect a juvenile later in life. Violence of juveniles can come from them witnessing it or being the victim.
Research suggests that early exposure to violence increases the likelihood and risk of violent behavior by as much as 40%. Throughout this learners experience television viewing is a factor as well. If it’s not monitored from birth, it could definitely have a negative impact. What’s being viewed in the home can desensitize the rationalizations on violence which interrupts the moral development of a youth. Youth tend to revert to what they know and not always what’s expected by society. The juvenile justice system battles with this especially since there’s a limited amount of alternatives for them.
Many youth are placed back into these same environments; therefore they revert back to their cultural norm majority of the time. Many communities have contributed to violence with juveniles. With the rapid growth of gangs and illegal drugs, it has brought about many negative issues. Instead of youth observing positive roles models, they’re being exposed to a violent atmosphere in which they are not aware it’s dangerous. They youth see what they feel as rewards, but in actuality they are being exposed to the potential of violence, poor role models and future ramifications within the juvenile justice system.
Single parent households are struggling with being proactive in these areas since there’s an influx of gang activity in about every community whether there’s poverty or wealth. When youth see where they can achieve more in one day on the corner of their neighborhood than what they see their parents make in a month you tend to see a rise in school dropouts, pregnancy, substance abuse, unemployment, violence in schools and turf wars. In these situations youth can become the victim of violence in which all of these interferes with their normal course of adolescent development.
No matter if it’s your neighborhood, detention centers provides these same types of environments due to overcrowding and having a mixture of different cultures within one area. When these environments are not properly managed, you’re open to disaster. A youth’s development is critical when it comes to violence. As a youth starts school they are trying to achieve some type of acceptance, belonging and personal worth. Therefore, peer groups can have a lot to do with violence in juveniles, especially if there’s a lack of connection within the home and with family.
If there’s lack of family control children may flock towards those who have no boundaries to be there friends. During stages of normal development according to Erikson, there are certain things to expect or look for. Adolescents tend to struggle with identity and role confusion at this stage of their life and if they are not given the opportunity to have a normal development, there will be some role confusion that may lead to further delinquent behavior. According to Bilchick (2000), from 1987 to 1994, while the juvenile population grew slightly, juvenile arrests for violent crime soared.
Then, as the juvenile population increased slightly from 1994 through 1997, juvenile arrests dropped precipitously. In fact, the magnitude of the decline in violent crime arrests in the 3-year period between 1994 and 1997 was greater than the projected growth in the juvenile population over the next 20 years. No one has been able to predict juvenile violence trends accurately. It is clear, however, that the Nation is not doomed to high levels of juvenile violence simply because the juvenile population will increase. As Attorney General Janet Reno has often said, demography is not destiny.
Most of the violent juvenile offenders in the year 2010 have not yet even entered grade school. Current and future social and policy changes will have more effect on juvenile violent crime and arrest trends than will population changes. Violent juvenile crimes over the past decade have made it very challenging for juvenile justice programs. Since the nineteenth century the philosophy has been to rehabilitate them, but with the rise in the criminal activity, society has demanded legislation to hold them more accountable.
According to CJCJ, in the 1950’s and 60’s public concern grew about the effectiveness of the juvenile justice system, not because of the rehabilitative philosophy, but because of its perceived lack of effectiveness and the number of juveniles who were detained indefinitely. Apparently, years ago juveniles were involved in many minor offenses, but in today’s society there’s been a major threat towards many communities unlike the traditional acts of delinquency committed years ago. According to Yeckel, Congress addressed violent juvenile offenders by enacting tougher laws that allow the criminal prosecution of juveniles in federal court.
In addition, legislation is pending in the Senate that would reshape federal juvenile law and encourage states to adopt a more punitive approach to serious juvenile offenses. Some states now are considering punishment over rehabilitation based on the seriousness of a juvenile’s charge. Yeckel mentioned that because of the perceived escalation of violent juvenile crime, some states have shifted the focus of their juvenile justice systems from rehabilitation to punishment. 77 States justify this shift on one or more of the following theories: (1) unishment will deter future juvenile offenders, (2) punishment will incapacitate juvenile offenders and prevent them from committing future offenses, and (3) punishment satisfies society’s desire for accountability and retribution.
References Cited Bilchik, S. (2000). Challenging the Myths. Retrieved on September 1, 2012 from https://www. ncjrs. gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/178993. pdf Erikson, E. (nd. ), Erik Erikson’s Theory of Identity Development, Chapter 3 (pp. 51-55). Retrieved July 11, 2012, from http://www. aui. ma/old/VPAA/cads/1204/cad-course-1204-rdg-erikerikson. df Polsky, H. (n. d. ). Polsky’s Diamond. Retrieved from http://training. rameyestep. com/Polskys%20Diamond/Polskys%20diamond. pdf Yeckel, J. F. (1997). Violent Juvenile Offenders: Rethinking Federal Intervention in Juvenile Justice. Washington University, 51, 331-362. Retrieved from http://law. wustl. edu/journal/51/Yeckel_. pdf Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice, (n. d. ). Juvenile Justice History. House of Refuge. Retrieved July 20, 2012, from http://www. cjcj. org/juvenile/justice/juvenile/justice/history/0