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Juvenile Crime

United States is on the top of western countries experiencing crime activities. Though, till the past decade the rate of crimes has fallen down but still U.S. has the highest rate. Whether they are adults or juveniles, the rate of committing crimes is quite higher in both groups. There are different reasons been explored, why U.S. is facing the highest rate of crimes; however the exploration and discussion is still in progress among the scholars.

The government reserves large amount of budget for the management of juvenile system and rehabilitation of criminals but still the rate of crimes has fallen down only a little. The juvenile crimes have become one of the serious issues in U.S. which are not only spoiling the youth but also affecting other departments of growth as, if the youth of the nation is spoiled the future of the nation gets in to risk. (Justia, 2012)

The high percentage of juveniles in U.S. is even involved in violent crimes like misdemeanour thefts, homicides and premeditated murders. The government is putting in efforts and planning rehabilitation programs for juveniles but receiving an effective output in a slow pace. Therefore, the juvenile crime system must need to explore other factors of high rate of juvenile crimes in U.S. And devise a better plan to deal with this serious issue.

Here in this study, different factors that lead to juvenile crime will be discussed and then the appropriate recommendations will be discussed to eliminate the high rate of juvenile crimes in United States.

Factors Bearing on Problem

As according to the U.S. Department of Justice, there was substantial growth in the rate of juvenile crimes in 1980s tills 1994. However, the rate fallen down to 49% between 1994 and 2004. It percentage raised only by 2% in 2005 and 4% in 2006. However, the percentage of crimes increased more of robbery and murder.

Of the record in 1998, there were 24,537,600 crimes recorded in United States. U.S. were on the top among 72 countries. England too had the higher percentage of crimes recorded but the nature of crime was not involved in violent ones. However, U.S. experienced highest percentage of robbery and murder crimes. (Snyder, 2001)

Where U.S. topped in overall criminal activities, it also has highest percentage of juvenile crimes. In 1998, of the 1,609,303 teenager crimes, 1,000,279 were prosecuted. This number is even higher than if the 7 countries teenager crimes are summed up which includes England, Thailand, Canada, Germany, China, South Korea and Turkey.

According to the 2002 statistics by World Health Organization, U.S. ranked at third position in murder crimes committed by teenagers. Currently, U.S. have the largest population of prisons. Though, there is a large population of prisoners but in U.S. majority prisoners serve in prison for very short time means the rules in juvenile system courts are not as strict as in other countries.

There is not any one factor of the increasing juvenile crimes in U.S. But there are number of reasons. These primarily includes racism, socio-economic conditions i.e. increasing poverty, disturbed family as because of increased rates of divorce/separation, parent-child relationship and media. In U.S., the rate of youths running away from home and drop-outs from school has also risen. (Stimson, 2009)

Family Influence

Researchers state that family influence has an important role to play in building the personality of the child and preventing it from the delinquent behaviour. So, if a juvenile has an emotional bonding and positive influence of the family then there are far less chances of getting involved in crimes. Moreover, the juvenile from a non-traditional family that is single parent or reconstituted are more at risk of delinquent behaviour than the ones from traditional families.

Since, single parent is unable to devote much time of the child and also the resources are limited so the attachment between the parent-child gets weaker. Single parent cannot provide emotional support to the child as traditional parents can do. This leads to psychiatric, drugs intake or delinquent behaviours in children. The divorced or reconstituted parents sometimes set off feeling of hatred in children and they express it in terms of delinquent behaviour.

Children's Trust Fund reported data that of 25,000 cases, the children who were brought up by single parent show low grade point average at schools, poor attendance records, higher rates of school drop outs and lower aspirations to go to college than the ones with two parents. (Family Research Council, 2007)

As according to the research, young people engaged with groups pursuing positive goals are at lower risk of delinquent behaviour, whereas the one who spends time with the individuals involved in activities like smoking and drinking are at chance of delinquent behaviour. Even if the juvenile has a normal relationship with parent and is been grown in fine environment still there are chances of being influenced by a friend. (Martin, 2005)

It is also important that the parents spare time for their children and effectively communicate on topics that help them in character building. But since in U.S., majority people are engaged in tough jobs and both parents don't have time to keep an eye on the activities of their children. So, that is another big factor of disturbed family life and delinquent behaviour of children. Children and parents don't have a strong relationship and so child is more influenced by its friends and other groups. The chances of children being involved in criminal activities thus increases.

Socio-Economic status is another important factor of juvenile crimes. In some of the studies, it is found to be directly related with delinquent behaviour. The kids who have nurturing caregivers and have the supportive environment are less at chance of developing delinquent behaviour as compared to the ones bearing unstable situations, distress and unsupportive caregivers.

Racism

Many researchers have added that racism is another big factor that develops the delinquent behaviour in teenagers. Since, most of the politicians and public view the juvenile crimes as the because of being associated with particular social class or race. Researchers pointed that in statistics the major portion of crime percentage is indicated by youth certain race. In 1995, 68% of the crimes were being indicated as being committed by the minorities with population of only 32%. Since, in U.S. The racism has a strong impact in minds of people. Black people feel inequality in comparison to the white people. This psychology still resides in people's mind since years. That's the reason why the percentage of minorities in juvenile crimes is higher than the majority. As according to another researcher, it was reported that black youth are largely imprisoned as compared to white youth. It is not the case that majority black youth commit more violent crimes than the white youth but actually the behaviour of police in not the same with both communities. This behaviour even worsens the condition of minority race youth and they move towards even severe crimes. Moreover, the black juveniles are not also easily facilitated with mental health facility that experience mental problems leading to delinquent behaviour.

As according to the report, there are not only African youth who is involved in juvenile crimes but there are Latino and Hispanic youth as well. Since, dropping out from school also becomes the factor of delinquent behaviour and this is another reason why there is more percentage of minority youth in juvenile detention. The teachers don't equally treat the students on basis of race and since there is less percentage of African, Hispanic or Latino teachers in U.S. schools therefore there are more cases seen of the minorities been dropped out. Minority students are usually referred to probation in higher number or they are not graded well in the standardized tests. Since, the minority race youth has to face several problems and barriers in U.S., therefore this is one of the major factors of increased percentage of juvenile crimes.

Maltreatment with Children

The 2001 report stated that there is a direct relationship of maltreatment of children and youth with increase in delinquent behaviour. It was also mentioned that the children living in the criminal environment are more likely to develop delinquent behaviour as compared to that living in general environment. Since the child abuse activities are going on rise in U.S. so that is another factor of higher rate of juvenile crimes.

As according to the statistics revealed through survey, it was found that 47% of boys and 20% of girls, who are assaulted sexually, are likely to commit violent crimes. 46% of boys and 30% of girls, who are assaulted physically, are likely to be involved in violent crimes.

The maltreatment of children starts from its own home. The increased number of disturbed family lives in U.S. leads to maltreatment with children. According to the study, it was stated that children are more likely to commit violent crimes that are gone through trauma at their home. The children have more impact of violence on their minds as compare…[continue]

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