Transition and Contributing Factors for Juvenile Delinquency and Adult Criminality Dissertation or Thesis complete

Excerpt from Dissertation or Thesis complete :

1. Introduction

· Problem Statement

Last year, America’s largest cities, according to Major Cities Chiefs Association, experienced significant increase in violent crime (Major Cities Chiefs Association, 2017). It is important to note that this was the second year in a row that the said cities had to contend with rising crime rates. While most of those arrested in the U.S. for crimes ranging from homicide to aggravated assault to robbery were adults, juvenile violent crime arrests have also risen substantially, with most juvenile delinquents continuing their criminal behaviors well into adulthood. There is need for a closer look into how juvenile offenders who transition to adult offenders are contributing towards higher crime rates in our cities. Some of the contemporary approaches to the war against crime could include the implementation of early interventions to ensure that young delinquents do not graduate to become adult criminals.

· Purpose and Significance of the Study

Juvenile crime and its influencers remains one of the most studied topics in criminology. Further, research studies have indicated that most juvenile offenders often graduate into adult criminality – effectively feeding a vicious loop of heightened crime rates (National Institute of Justice – NIJ, 2017). Little research has, however, been conducted on what exactly informs or feeds this particular transition. This effectively means that there is a deficiency in well-researched intervention mechanisms to ensure that juvenile offenders do not continue the life of crime on attaining the age of the majority. A study of this nature is, therefore, not only timely but also necessary. The impact juvenile crime has on the entire society; from schools to families, to victims and even the tax payers, is significant (Loeber and Farrington, 2012). The cost to society becomes even greater when criminal tendencies from youth are carried forward to adulthood. The issue, therefore, should not only be the termination of delinquent behavior, but most importantly, understanding the nature of transition from juvenile offending to adult offending and the factors at play. In addition to identifying the nature and extent of the relationship between juvenile delinquency and adult criminality, the present study will focus on the transition from juvenile delinquency to adult criminality, with an aim of identifying the key influencers that facilitate the said transition. To rein in criminal activities in major U.S. cities, there is a need to approach the criminal mind holistically; from its constitution to its development and nurture.

· Conceptual Framework

Juvenile delinquency, in basic terms, “is defined as the violation of the law of the United States committed by a person prior to his eighteenth birthday that would have been a crime if committed by an adult” (Reynolds and Fletcher-Janzen, 2014, p. 548). It, therefore, follows that an adult offender is anybody is above age 18 and who, for all intents and purposes, commits a crime or is found to have violated any law of the United States. In most states, age 18 marks the adolescence to adulthood legal transition age. Most researchers, however, query this transition age – arguing that at 18 years, the human brain may not be “fully mature” (NIJ, 2017). For purposes of this study, the definition of adult offender highlighted above will be adopted.

In the past, punishment for the commission of crime was severe – regardless of whether the crime was committed by an adult or a 12 year old. According to Sharma and Sharma (2006), “as psychologists proceed to draw the attention of the civilized world to the cause of juvenile delinquency, the tradition of punishing children lost favor, to be replaced by efforts at improving and rehabilitating them” (p. 376). It is for this reason that most jurisdictions are adopting a rehabilitative stance against juvenile delinquents, as opposed to instinctive modes of punishment. These efforts, as the authors further point out are aimed at ensuring that the young offender leaves his criminal ways and becomes a responsible and law abiding citizen. A study conducted by the Pittsburgh Youth Study, however, “found that 52 to 57 percent of juvenile delinquents continue to offend up to age 25…” with this percentage dropping to “to 16 to 19 percent” by the time they hit age 30 (NIJ, 2017). The present study will examine this transition with an aim of defining the circumstances that lead to the continuity from juvenile to adult offending.

· Research Questions

The present study will seek to answer the following overarching research question:

· What are the main factors that inform the transition from juvenile offending to adult offending?

The secondary research questions for the present study will be:

a) Are the current structural or systematic solutions towards the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders effective in preventing the transition from juvenile offending to adult criminality?

b) Are there specific errors that have been made in the design and implementation of juvenile offender rehabilitation programs to render them ineffective?

c) Which specific social factors increase the likelihood of juvenile offenders continuing into adult criminality?

2. Literature review

Rhoades, Leve, Eddy, and Chamberlain (2016) point out that while most juvenile offenders elect to leave their criminal ways behind as they turn 18, there are those who persist and ultimately find themselves in adult correction systems. The fact that, as per the findings of the Pittsburgh Youth Study,…

Sources Used in Document:


Houser, R. (1998). Counseling and Educational Research: Evaluation and Application. Thousand Oaks: SAGE

Howell, J.C. (2009). Preventing and Reducing Juvenile Delinquency: A Comprehensive Framework (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: SAGE

Logan, J.S. (2008). Good Punishment: Christian Moral Practice and U.S. Imprisonment. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company

Loeber, R. & Farrington, D.P. (Eds.). (2012). From Juvenile Delinquency to Adult Crime: Criminal Careers, Justice Policy and Prevention. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Major Cities Chiefs Association. (2017). Violent Crime Survey – Totals: Midyear Comparison between 2016 and 2015. Retrieved from

National Institute of Justice – NIJ. (2017). From Juvenile Delinquency to Young Adult Offending. Retrieved from

Reynolds, C.R. & Fletcher-Janzen, E. (Eds.). (2004). Concise Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of the Handicapped and Other Exceptional Children and Adults (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Willey & Sons.

Rhoades, K.A., Leve, L.D., Eddy, J.M. & Chamberlain, P. (2016). Predicting the Transition from Juvenile Delinquency to Adult Criminality: Gender-Specific Influences in Two High-Risk Samples. Criminal Behav. Ment. Health, 26 (5), 336-351.

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