Environment And Delinquency Research Paper

Environment and Delinquency Over the last several years, the issue of juvenile crime and its impact on the criminal justice system has been increasingly brought to the forefront. This is because there are debates about what to do with these types of offenders and the kind of approach that should be utilized with them. These differences have resulted in considerable amounts of volatility in juvenile delinquency rates. Evidence of this can be seen with the total number of cases that were handled by the juvenile courts from 2000 to 2008 (which is illustrated in the below table).

Total Number of Juvenile Related Cases in the Criminal Justice System from 2000 to 2008


million million


1.678 million


1.687 million


1.689 million




1.647 million


1.658 million


1.653 million

("Delinquency Cases," 2010)

These figures are showing how the juvenile crime rate has continued to remain volatile. This is despite the fact that they are below the all-time high in the total number of cases from 1995 (which is 1.8 million). As a result, there have been a variety of theories and programs introduced that are designed to help curb these amounts. To determine their effectiveness requires focusing on the how their environment will influence the delinquency rates and the criminal justice system. Together, these elements will highlight the way this is impacting these numbers. ("Delinquency Cases," 2010)

The Impact of the a Juvenile's Environment in Comparison with Delinquency Rates

Since the end of World War II there has been a dramatic change in the structure of the American family. This is because the traditional two parent household has quickly disappeared from: divorce, single parent families and increasing teen pregnancy rates. These transformations have led to fewer positive influences in the life of the children (who are living in non-traditional households). Over the course of time, this has meant that more juveniles will become involved in criminal activity. (Hammen, 1996)

Evidence of this can be seen with study that was conducted...


She found that the family environment will have an impact on if someone is influenced by criminal elements with her saying, "Today, the rising divorce rate, increase in teen pregnancy, and prevalence of single-parent households has caused the definition of family to take on several new meanings. The change raises several questions about who is tending to the needs of America's children. Findings have supported the hypothesis that families lacking structure, communication, support and cohesiveness foster delinquency. This research compared 90 juvenile delinquency cases to census data relating to household types. It was found that youth raised in households with both natural parents are less likely to become involved in delinquent behaviors compared to 3 other household types also examined. In today's society, strong family support must replace apathetic attitudes toward delinquency with a positive structure to teach youth how to positively contribute to society." This is illustrating how the home environment will have an effect on if someone will become involved in criminal activities. (Hammen, 1996)
Moreover, a study that was conducted by the UN found that there are other environmental factors which will impact the views of young adults. The most notable include: sadistic conditions at home, drug / alcohol abuse and overcrowding. According to the report, these and other elements will shape how the person sees the world around them with it saying, "Young people who are at risk of becoming delinquent often live in difficult circumstances. These include: parental alcoholism, poverty, breakdown of the family, overcrowding, abusive conditions in the home, the growing HIV / AIDS cases or the death of the parents. Those who are orphans or do not have positive influences in their lives are without the means of subsistence, housing and other basic necessities are at greatest risk of falling into juvenile delinquency." These insights are showing how the environment of an adolescent will have an impact upon the way they react to the world around. This is point that they will participate in criminal activities. When this happens, they will seek out groups and individuals that can address these issues (which makes them susceptible to bad influences). In many cases, these elements and gangs will severe as the…

Sources Used in Documents:


Delinquency Cases. (2010). U.S. Census. Retrieved from: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0340.pdf

Juvenile Delinquency. (2011). UN. Retrieved from: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/documents/ch07.pdf

Hammen, W. (1996). Influences of Family Environments. Missouri Western. Retrieved from: http://www.missouriwestern.edu/psychology/research/psy302/spring96/WendyHammen.html

Lounsbury, J. (2009). Causes of Juvenile Delinquency. Yahoo. Retrieved from: http://voices.yahoo.com/causes-juvenile-delinquency-adult-criminal-3171892.html
Ramirez, L. (2008). Juvenile Delinquency. ABA. Retrieved from: http://www.americanbar.org/newsletter/publications/gp_solo_magazine_home/gp_solo_magazine_index/juveniledelinquency.html

Cite this Document:

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