Findings revealed the importance of early intervention and other schooling factors in reducing delinquency. They also emphasized the benefits of early intervention as one effective measure in preventing delinquency (Mann & Reynolds).
The study established the connection between a large-scale preschool program and reductions in the incidence, frequency and severity of juvenile crime (Mann & Reynolds, 2006). The connection is between early social functioning and severe behavioral problems. Social functioning measures include the teacher's rating of the young person's classroom adjustment. Social skill problems include difficulty in developing social relationships with either the teacher or peers or an inability to interact well with adults. Adults include police and other authority figures. Children with extreme behavioral problems are likely to become delinquent. Current special education services may not be sufficient to meet their needs. Otherwise, already existing social and learning situations prevent incline them to develop behavior problems. These realities prompt for early social intervention for children with these apparent or persistent behavior problems. Moreover, children who frequently make school transitions are not likely to participate in school activities. They are, therefore, not likely to know school rules or follow them (Mann & Reynolds).
Recreation Programs (Munson 2002)
The best approach to reducing juvenile delinquency is a combination of comprehensive strategies among all the participants - and recreation (Munson, 2002). Social reforms in the mid and late 19th century already thought that recreation could combat this social ill. One of them, Jane Addams, advocated for wholesome activities by public recreation organizations to break the monotony of an intense and unwholesome life. With adequate adult guidance, recreation activities could "promote initiative, build character, discourage delinquency and provide... For training in citizenship (Larson, 1994 as qtd in Munson, 2002). Control theories hold that delinquent acts are likely to be performed when a young person's link with society is weak, broken or threatened. They also argue that delinquency is reduced when the person experiences strong attachment, commitment, involvement or belief. Some theorists also suggest that organized and pleasurable activities can enhance attachment and commitment to conventions and reduce the likelihood of delinquency. These theorists' study showed that the time spent in organized leisure activities, passive entertainment and non-competitive sports was negatively related with delinquency. The conclusion was that attaching or bonding to conventional norms occurs best through participation in such organized activities, passive entertainment and non-competitive sports (Munson).
Predictions on Juvenile Delinquency in the Next 20 Years
The recorded 100,000-child boom already troubling schools will move over to juvenile courts with child welfare and juvenile delinquency cases by 2010 (Thalman 2003). Utah courts have been doing valuable work in containing the wave of cases, but the impending juvenile population blob could neutralize their gains. The reality is that the welfare system is already loaded and overwhelmed as it is. It is already clogged with approximately 20,000 child abuse calls per year. About a third of these must be tried in court. Unsettling statistics disclosed that 30% of all children aged 10 to 18 have interacted with the court (Thalman).
More troubling are substantial cutbacks on drug treatment programs (Thalman, 2003). The situation is devastating, considering that more than 75% of juvenile cases involve parents with substance abuse records, according to the state Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. These cuts on treatment options and the loss of the Salvation Army's residential treatment center will score huge difficulty in getting parents' help. These parents may not cooperate or stay if they can acquire treatment only for a few months (Thalman).
Current Laws on Juvenile Delinquency
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act
The House and the Senate agreed to fund a Department of Justice bill, which included the reauthorization of this Act and the authorization of the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Program (Parks & Recreation, 2002). The Act would authorize five existing federal programs into five existing programs. Recreation is an eligible activity for the grant program. $500 million would be allotted by the bill for the Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grant Program to fund juvenile justice court judges and juvenile incarceration facilities. Park and recreation entities could work with the authorities to develop appropriate programs with this bill (Parks & Recreation).
Urban and Rural Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Act of 2002
This Act would provide grants and loans to develop disease prevention as well as health promotion centers in the urban and rural areas throughout the U.S. The disease prevention center would be used mainly as an indoor recreational facility. It would provide services, programs and activities to enhance disease prevention and health promotion. These include recreation services for persons and groups, public and personal information on health and wellness, health screening and other needed services for public and private health professionals and other concerned entities (Parks & Recreation).
Fervent and praiseworthy efforts have been expended to contain increasing rates of juvenile delinquency. The image of 72.6 million Americans under 18 in 2001 alone can be daunting. If this trend continues, there will be 80.3 million young Americans by 2020. There will be more young offenders to handle. More resources and fervent commitments will be needed to catch up. But as yet, this does not appear to be occurring. The problem itself is getting more and more complex for society's structures to cope with. Despite praiseworthy strides in overall progress, juvenile delinquency in modern America has remained a big problem.
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Mann, E.A. And Reynolds, A.J. (2006, September). Early intervention and juvenile delinquency prevention. Social Work Research: National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved on October 31, 2008 at http://findarticles.com/p.articles/mi_hb6481/is_3_30/ai_n29296326?tag=content;col1
Munson, W.W. (2002, June). Recreation and juvenile delinquency. Parks and Recreation: National Recreation and Park Association. Retrieved on October 31, 2008 at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1145/is_6_37/ai_88702659?tag=content;col1
Onwudiwe, I.D. (2004, October). Theoretical perspectives on juvenile delinquency: root causes and control. Corrections Today: American Correctional Association, Inc. Retrieved on October 31, 2008 at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6399/is_6_66/ai_n29129141?tag=content;col1
Parks and Recreation (2002). Juvenile justice and Delinquency Prevention Act re-authorization likely. National Recreation and Park Association: Gale Group. Retrieved On October 31, 2008 at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1145/is_11_37/ai_95107103?tag=content;col1
Thalman, J. (2003, June 20). "Wave" of children could swamp juvenile courts. Deseret News (Salt Lake City): Deseret News Publishing Company. Retrieved on October 31, 2008 at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m_qn4188/is_20030620/ai_n11400054?tag=content;col1