Patterns Juvenile Delinquency Throughout the World/How Determine Who Juvenile?
Patterns in juvenile delinquency also vary throughout the world, as do the way countries define "delinquency" among juveniles. The Japanese according to Platt (2005) have taken on a much more philosophical approach to juvenile delinquency, supporting a Confucian style structure of education and support, one that works toward educating children to become part of the larger social collective (p. 965). In this environment, children are encouraged to become more socially aware and to self-regulate, often given the opportunity to reform before they are punished for wrongdoings.
This conflicts sharply with juvenile delinquency programs and structures elsewhere in the world. In Australia, juvenile delinquency is often associated with being a member of a juvenile gang, which is defined as "youth hanging out on the streets with gang activity" or street activity that has the potential to lead to mischievous behaviors (Duffy & Gillig, 2004, p. 2). Illegal activity is addressed when territorial behaviors are engaged in, whether or not juveniles act criminally in many cases (Duffy & Gillig, 2004). In Brazil, juvenile delinquency is seen as more common, and associated with children "of the streets" which comprise primarily homeless children who authorities state often engage in crime "to survive" thus are much different according to Brazilian authorities, who promote privatization of policing, than the "street gangs of Chicago or Los Angeles" (Duffy & Gillig, 2004, p. 3).
In the United States, there is more often a mixture of males and females associated with gangs than in other countries, where more commonly male juveniles from ages 12 to 24 may be associated with "juvenile" type crimes (Duffy & Gillig, 2004). This compared with the United States, where typically a child is considered a "juvenile" and subject to imprisonment in juvenile detention centers, rehabilitative centers and subject to more lenient and rehabilitative sentencing to the age of 17 or 17 (Duffy & Gillig, 2004) except in cases involving malevolent crimes, such as homicide or crimes with proven malicious intent, including rape (Duffy & Gillig, 2004; Keynes, 1996).
Globally there is universal acceptance that adolescents regardless of their age are more likely to engage in violent or serious crimes if they affiliate with gangs, and are more likely in these instances to be addressed or punished severely, in the United States and abroad (Duffy & Gillig, 2004). There is little tolerance in the United States for juvenile activities involving gun violence and involvement in drug related activities, including sales or use, which may result in harsher penalties and sentencing (Duffy & Gillig, 2004).
How do these perceptions toward juvenile delinquency affect rates of juvenile delinquency throughout the world? Studies suggest similarities in drug-related juvenile crimes globally, as they do gang-related crimes; the rates of non-violent crimes however are often less in countries where more attention is given to education and schooling, as in Japan, or in Brazil, where privatization discourages many youths from engaging in criminal or juvenile activity, with the exception of those poverty stricken, who as mentioned are often forced to engage in crime to sustain life or find food etc. (Duffy & Gillig, 2004). On reviewing the literature the greatest deterrent to juvenile crime appears to be adequate support, from community and from family; rehabilitation is also an important component, but may not be necessary if community support and parental guidance is stronger at the beginning and throughout one's adolescent years, as studies consistently confirm criminal activity in youths is often linked to parental dysfunction and lack of support from authoritative figures (Duffy & Gillig, 2004; Keynes, 1996).
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