Sociology paper

Sociology paper - Juvenile Delinquency: How and Why We Need...

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Juvenile Delinquency: How and Why We Need to Prevent Today’s Young Offenders from Growing into Tomorrows Felons Juvenile delinquency is a serious and expensive problem that endangers the health and social development of our nation’s minors and their communities. A study done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed that 30% of all persons arrested in 1990 were under the age of 21, a figure which translated into quantitative terms makes about 1.75 million juveniles. Just as alarming, the report also noted that on a single day in 1985, more than 83,000 children were held in public and private detention and correctional facilities ( Uniform Crime Reports , [FBI] 1991). Juvenile delinquency is as costly a problem as it is widespread, in both social and monetary terms. The average cost of care for an incarcerated juvenile for one year in 1987 was estimated at more than $40,000 (Laak 2003). Costs for the reparation of juvenile-linked vandalism in school alone exceed $200 million tax payer dollars annually. The costs for vandalism to personal property would undoubtedly be many times that amount. Juvenile delinquency within a community also serves to dismantle community peer-peer ties and trust between members. It aids in the development of a poor learning environment for classmates, distressed family relations and a reduction in the quality of life for the victims of delinquent actions. This problem doesn’t just affect the society while the offenders are delinquents, however. Studies show that many of the individuals who commit crimes in their juvenile period may end up as “‘career’” criminals—the five percent of the population that commits more than half of all recorded adult crimes (Bower 1993). While the term juvenile delinquent can apply to such seemingly insignificant crimes as breaking curfew,
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underage drinking, soft drug use, and the viewing of pornography, for the purposes of this discussion delinquency will refer to more serious offenses like motor vehicle theft, larceny, burglary, robbery, vandalism, and arson. Even more troubling is the fact that juvenile delinquency is not a newfound problem. Studies done in the 1930’s reveal that incidences of juvenile crime were high and rising, especially during times of depression (Bogen 1944). The common belief at the time was that the delinquency was to be expected during such periods, as people had no other means but crime to get a source of income. However, as this belief has come to be taken for granted, almost excused, another study by David Bogen (1944) showed that juvenile crime, as self- reported in questionnaires, actually showed an upward trend in times of upward economy as well. Bogen rationalized that during prosperous times, families were more likely to experience problems, as they had less of a reason to bond tightly together in a nuclear unit like they had in times of need. Also, he reasoned, in this time of affluence, families were more likely to have stressful interactions that aggravated
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This note was uploaded on 05/09/2008 for the course SOC 2070 taught by Professor Heckathorn during the Fall '05 term at Cornell.

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Sociology paper - Juvenile Delinquency: How and Why We Need...

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