Juvenile Delinquency :
Remember doing something mischievous or wrong when you were a kid and getting the label delinquent slapped on you? Did you ever wonder what it meant? That is what my topic for today is . . . juvenile delinquency. In this report I will define this term, give the extent of child-delinquency, give some suggestions on what causes juvenile delinquency and what is being done in various communities to deal with this growing problem. The legal term juvenile delinquent was established so that young lawbreakers could avoid the disgrace of being classified in legal records as criminals.
The delinquency laws were designed to provide treatment, rather than punishment, for juvenile offenders. Young delinquents usually are sent to juvenile courts where the main aim is to rehabilitate offenders rather than to punish them. But the term juvenile delinquency itself has come to imply disgrace in today's society. A youngster can be labeled a delinquent for breaking any one of a number of laws, ranging from robbery to running away from home. But an action for which a youth may be declared a delinquent in one community may not be against the law in another community. In some communities, the police ignore many children who are accused of minor delinquencies or refer them directly to their parents. But in other communities, the police may refer such children to a juvenile court where they may officially be declared delinquents.
Crime statistics, though they are often incomplete and may be misleading, do give an indication of the extent of the delinquency problem. The FBI reports that during the early 1980's, about two-fifths of all arrests in the United States for burglary and arson were of persons under the age of 18. Juveniles also accounted for about one-third of all arrests for larceny. During any year, about 4 % of all children between the ages of 10 and 18 appear in a juvenile court.
The percentage of youngsters in this group who are sent to court at least once is much higher. A third or more of those boys living in the slum areas of large cities may appear in a juvenile court at least once. Girls are becoming increasingly involved in juvenile delinquency. Today, about one of every five youngsters appearing in juvenile court is a girl. In the early 1900's, this ratio was about 1 girl to every 50 or 60 boys.
Sociologists have conducted a number of studies to determine how much delinquency is not reported to the police. Most youngsters report taking part in one or more delinquent acts though a majority of the offenses are minor. Experts have concluded that youthful misbehavior is much more common than is indicated by arrest records and juvenile court statistics. Many studies have been made in an effort to determine the causes of delinquency. Most of these have focused on family relationships or on neighborhood or community conditions. The results of these investigations have shown that it is doubtful that any child becomes a delinquent for any single reason. Family Relationships, especially those between parents and individual children, have been the focus of several delinquency studies. An early study comparing delinquent and non-delinquent brothers showed that over 90 % of the delinquents had unhappy home lives and felt discontented with their life circumstances. Only 13 % of their brothers felt this way. Whatever the nature of the delinquents' unhappiness, delinquency appeared to them to be a solution.
It brought attention to youths neglected by their parents or approval by delinquent friends or it solved problems of an unhappy home life in other ways. More recent studies have revealed that many delinquents had parents with whom they did not get along or who were inconsistent in their patterns of discipline and punishment. Neighborhood conditions have been stressed in studies by sociologists. Many of these inquiries concentrate on differing rates of delinquency, rather than on the way individuals become delinquents. A series of studies have shown that delinquency rates are above average in the poorest sections of cities.
Such areas have many broken homes and a high rate of alcoholism. They also have poor schools, high unemployment, few recreational facilities and high crime rates. Many young people see delinquency as their only escape from boredom, poverty and other problems. Social scientists have also studied the influence of other youngsters on those who commit delinquencies. For example, they point out that most youngsters who engage in delinquent behavior do so with other juveniles and often in organized gangs.
Studies indicate that the causes of delinquency also extend to a whole society. For example, delinquency rates tend to be high among the low-income groups in societies where most people are well-to-do. The pains of being poor and living in slum conditions are felt more strongly in a rich society than in a poor one. Many efforts have been made to develop programs of delinquency prevention. There is little evidence, however, that any of these programs is truly effective. Some programs provide counseling services to youths who appear to be on the verge of becoming delinquents. Other programs draw youngsters into clubs and recreational centers in an effort to keep them away from situations in which delinquency is likely to occur. In recent years, many efforts have centered on improving the educational and work skills of youngsters. For those juveniles who have already become delinquents, there are programs designed to prevent them from committing future delinquent acts. Probation services are offered through juvenile courts in an effort to provide guidance for delinquent children. The more progressive institutions for juveniles attempt to provide treatment programs for offenders--work experiences, counseling, education and group therapy. However, many other institutions provide little more than protective custody for juvenile delinquents. In conclusion, I have defined juvenile delinquency, explained the extent of juvenile delinquency, gave some suggestions on what causes juvenile delinquency and what is being done in various communities to deal with the problem of juvenile delinquency.
Juvenile Delinquency :
Juvenile Delinquency To HOME PAGE
In this essay we will discuss about Juvenile Delinquency. After reading this essay you will learn about: 1. Introduction to Juvenile Delinquency 2. Meaning of Juvenile Delinquency 3. Incidence 4. Causes 5. Variables 6. Treatment.
- Introduction to Juvenile Delinquency
- Meaning of Juvenile Delinquency
- Incidence of Juvenile Delinquency
- Causes of Juvenile Delinquency
- Variables of Juvenile Delinquency
- Treatment of Juvenile Delinquency
Essay # 1. Introduction to Juvenile Delinquency:
Delinquency has always been considered as a social problem over and above the fact that it is a legal problem. It is also a psychological problem. Hence to avoid this social evil one has to tackle the complex problem of delinquency from the social psychological and to familial angles.
Although laws regarding Juvenile delinquencies have been formed long since, they are also being changed from time to time. Currently, in all the progressive and civilized countries of the world the laws with regard to the Juvenile delinquents have been changed.
Special courts are established with specially trained Magistrates for the trial of the delinquents. Today delinquency is being considered as a misbehaviour, a social nuisense than a crime. So, in every state the children’s Act (1944) required custody, control and punishment of young offenders.
It also provides for the establishment of reformatory schools for them. But the revised Bombay children’s Act of 1948 provided not only for custody and control but also for treatment and rehabilitation of young offenders.
Essay # 2. Meaning of Juvenile Delinquency:
Crime committed by children and adolescents under the age of 18 years, is called delinquency. The maximum age limit and also the meaning of delinquency varies from country to country. But it is always below 18 years of age which is the statutory age for delinquency.
In India any person between the age of 7 and 18 years, who violates the provisions of the children’s Acts, the IPC and the CPO will be considered as delinquent. Persons above this age are considered as criminals.
Juvenile delinquency is defined by the Pensylvania Juvenile Court Act as “A delinquent child is one who violated any laws of the common wealth ordinance of the city, a child who by reasons of being way ward or habitually disobedient is uncontrolled by his parents, guardian, custodian or legal representative, a child who is habitually trunt from school or home or child who habitually so deports himself is to injury or endanger the moral or health of himself or others”.
Delinquency in the view of the Coleman (1981) refers to “behaviour of youths under 18 years of age which is not acceptable to society and is generally regarded as calling for some kind of admonishment punishment or corrective actions”.
Delinquency includes all sorts of crimes committed by children. Starting from the business and use of illegal drugs and homicide murder, it may include various types of dangerous criminal offences.
Delinquency undoubtedly is a social evil. It is a socially unacceptable behaviour committed by boys and girls below the age of 18 years. Instead of giving these delinquents punishment, they are kept in Juvenile jail and correction homes where various corrective measures are taken to change their behaviour in the positive direction.
It is observed that crime and delinquency are increasing day by day with the increase in population and complexity of culture. As population increases the small societies become bigger ones and are found in the form of mass society.
In mass societies there is less scope for mutual interaction and face to face contact. The family bonds and community bonds thus become weak to weaker. Now a days no one knows or cares to know who is staying next door. Parents and children do not meet.
While motivation is derived from the Latin word “Movere” which means move, social motivation refers to those social factors and situations which influence the person to behave in a particular style in a society. To eat is a biogenic need, but what to eat and how to eat is influenced by social forces and social interaction.
One feels hungry, it is a biogenic need but how to satisfy these hunger need and where to ask for food is determined by socialization process.
A child who has gone to a neighbour’s house to play, feels hungry, but he has been taught not to ask for food from outsiders. He is taught only to ask for food at his own house. This is a case of biological motive being influenced by socialization process.
Most of our needs and motives, attitudes and aspirations regarding food, dress, style of living are determined by our cultural values and norms of the society. The process of socialization puts a strong stamp mark on the behaviour of an individual in the society.
Essay # 3. Incidence of Juvenile Delinquency:
Coleman’s Study (1981) indicates that the rate of delinquency increased by 100 per cent within seven years i.e., between 1968-1975. Though, mainly boys are involved in delinquency, now a days it is found that girls are also actively engaged in this antisocial work.
During these 20 years delinquency has further increased. One may not believe, but it is true that almost half of the serious crimes in U.S.A. are committed by juveniles.
Common delinquent acts in females are sexual offences, small thefts, drug usage, running away from home etc. Among the males delinquents are more engaged in stealing, drug usage, robbery, aggravated assaults, sexual abuses etc. Particularly, now a days, the incidence of delinquency is increasing alarmingly in large metropolitan cities and this has become a matter of great concern for the public and country.
While evidences from some studies show that children from lower class families and those residing in slum areas are more engaged in delinquency, other studies do not support this view. In an important study, Heary and Gold (1973) found significant relationship between social status and delinquent behaviour.
In another significant study, it was noticed that the rate of delinquency in case of socially disadvantaged youths appears about equal for whites and non-whites.
Like any other country, as reports of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt, of India, shows, there is a steady rise in the percentage of delinquency in India. While it was 16,160 in 1961, it was, 40,666 in 1974. Thus, in 13 years the increase in the incidence of delinquency, as reports show, has the highest percentage of Juvenile crimes (24.8%).
Second place goes to M.P. (20.5%) and third place to Gujarat (10.9%). Kerala has an incidence rate of only 0.2%.
Essay # 4. Causes of Delinquency:
In many under-developed and developing countries including many parts of India, criminal tendency of a person is looked upon as the results of evil deeds in the past life of the parents. This is undoubtedly a misconception and prejudice.
In the other extreme of the case, when a child develops delinquency many believe that it is due to the fault actions, omissions and commissions of his parents during his childhood.
Delinquents lack ethical standards and emotional ties. They are very impulsive and indulge in acts at the spur of the moment. They are socially insensitive and lack guilt feeling. Delinquents, inspite of their socially unacceptable behaviours, created difficulties for the self as well as for others.
Considered as a learned behaviour, delinquency was found to be highly correlated with low life styles with lack of recreational facilities and lack of permanent residence.
Essay # 5. Variables of Juvenile Delinquency:
The variables of delinquency may broadly be divided into:
(A) Personality characteristics of individual factors
(B) General socio-cultural factors indulging family pattern and interaction, delinquent gang and subculture.
(A) Personality Characteristics/ Individual Factors:
No social factors alone-can contribute to the causation of delinquency though social and cultural factors contribute their share to delinquency. Personality characteristics and individual factors also contribute a lot to the causation of delinquency.
(i) Brain Damage:
As per the reports of Caputo and Mandell (1970), Kiestor (1974) in about one per cent of the delinquents brain damage leads to lower inhibitory controls and a tendency to show violent behaviour. The genetic theorists argue the presence of an extra ‘Y’ chromosome in delinquents.
(ii) Psychopathic Personality:
Large number of persistent delinquents have been found to possess the traits and characteristics of antisocial and psychopathic personalities. A number of studies conducted in UK and India using Eysenck’s personality inventory show delinquents to be more extroverts, more neurotic, more psychotic and to have more criminal tendencies than the control group.
They seem to be quite impulsive, callus, and socially insensitive, they do not have the feelings of sorrow, guilt and repentance. They are not able to establish suitable interpersonal relationship and they do not learn anything from experience in a constructive way.
The persistent delinquents also do not seem to have any reality control or inner conscience or morality. So, they indulge in whatever they wish, which give them pleasure and satisfy their ego with assessing its impact upon the society and their final consequence.
For example, they may steal a very little money actually they do not need or they may steal a scooter, a car or snatch a golden chain without any need or necessity.
Just to fulfil their aggressive and sadistic tendency they may drive their car to a small distance, break some parts of the car and leave it there. They just want to satisfy their destructive tendency, which gives them pleasure. Many psychopathic delinquents are found to cut the brand new cushions in theaters and movie halls.
This author has also observed many delinquents of 10-12 years age who are in the habit of breaking the electric bulb in every lamp post on the road without any reason, in the presence of other people in broad day light. They just did not care, use abusive language and again repeat their aggressive behaviour with more vigour.
Actually, the delinquents do not involve themselves in such nuisance for personal gain, but it really reflects their underlying resentment and hostility towards the outer world, the world for which they have no feeling of involvement or belongingness.
There are others who just move around in a gang aimlessly and get pleasure in eve teasing, in passing filthy remarks whenever a member of the fair sex passes by. Such people are really at the mercy of their uncontrolled, uninhibited impulses.
It would be interesting to note that currently the incidence of psychopathic personality in female delinquents has increased quite rapidly as reports suggest. Fine and Fishman (1968) conducted a study on 155 girls in a State Correctional Institution in Kentuky to know their general personality characteristics.
They found rebelliousness, inadequacy, impulsiveness, instability and immature characteristics commonly found in the psychopathic personality.
It was also found by Ganzer and Sarason (1973) that females more frequently come from personally and socially disorganised families than did males. The theories of both sheldon and Eysenck stress genetic aspects along with environmental aspects to explain delinquent behaviour.
(iii) Drug Abuse:
Quite a large number of delinquents particularly those who are engaged in theft, prostitution and physical assault are found to be addicted to drugs, like heroin, secobarbital and alcohol. Drug addicted females are usually engaged in stealing and prostitution.
(iv) Mental Retardation/Mental Deficiency:
Various studies have been conducted to find out the relationship between intelligence and delinquent behaviour to solve the controversy whether delinquency is environmental or genetic. Long ago, an Italian Scientist Lumbroso made certain empirical studies on crime, and held that criminals have defective physical structure and defective intelligence.
Therefore, various steps have been taken to measure the I.Q. of Juvenile delinquents to verify this view. The study conducted by Healy, Burt and others have demonstrated clearly that delinquents are not mental defectives.
But, nevertheless, the average intelligence of the delinquent group is lower than the average intelligence of the normal group. It is also found that compared to the normal children a larger proportion of mental defectives are found in the Juvenile group.
Various investigators have reported different percentage of average I.Q. for the delinquents, compared to the average I.Q. of the normal as 100. Healy and Bronner (1926) found it to be 90, Burt (1925) found it to be 85, Merril (1947) found it to be 92.5.
The above data of different investigators reveal that the average intelligence of delinquents happen to be lower than the average I.Q. of normals. These data also give clear signal that the Juvenile delinquents as a group, at large, are not mentally defective though they are below average.
However, a low intelligence and mental retardation among 5% of the delinquents may be accounted to delinquent behaviour. Such people have no foresight to the consequences and significance of their action.
That is why, they commit various impulsive behaviour, like small aggressive acts, petty stealing and various other sexual offences. Even more intelligent psychopaths and gangs exploit them and include them in their group. In some cases, mental retardation is associated with serious brain damage and leads to a combination of features of both the organic and the mentally retarded delinquents.
The above facts lead one to conclude that Juvenile delinquents differ from normal persons in degree and not in kind so far, as their I.Q. is concerned. Hence, Juvenile delinquents cannot be looked upon as a group of mental defectives.
Some other studies also show that below 70 I.Q. there are only about 3% of the children who are mental defectives in an unselected population of children. But in the delinquent groups there are 12 to 15 per cent mental defectives.
Thus, the number of mentally defective children among the delinquents is about 4-5 times larger than in a normal population says Kupuswamy. Uday Sankar (1958) conducted a study 011 the mental ability of the delinquents and found that the proportions of mentally defective children is very high among the 140 Juvenile delinquents he has studied. 27.4% of them are below 70 I.Q.
Merril made a comparative study of the average intelligence of the delinquents and non-delinquents. It was found that the average intelligence of juvenile delinquents from socially and economically handicapped group is low.
While those coming from higher socio economic groups was higher. The average intelligence of children from the non- delinquent, but lower groups is also low. Merril took a controlled group and an experimental group, each group with 300 boys and girls.
In the experimental group, the 300 boys and girls were delinquents while in the control group they were non-delinquents. The socio-economic status of both the groups were kept constant. Results showed that while the average I.Q. of the 300 delinquents children was 86.7, the average I.Q. of the 300 non-delinquent children was 89.3.
The results, thus, did not show any significant difference between the I.Q. of the controlled and the experimental group though there was some obtained difference. So, Merril held that it is not justified to assume that larger proportion of the delinquents have lower I.Q. However, it is possible that the higher I.Q. delinquents and criminal may utilize the lower I.Q. children for their criminal purpose and gang work.
In case, they are caught by the police, the intelligent juveniles escape while the less intelligent juveniles arc trapped. Such incidents are not rare in our society. The innocent ones are caught easily because of their lack of understanding and lack of capacity to solve the immediate problems facing them.
About 3 to 5 per cent of delinquent behaviour, seems to be directly associated with psychoneurotic disorders. Here, the delinquent act is mainly tinged with compulsive behaviour, such as stealing things which one actually does not need, or compelled to do.
He will not be stable and remain at peace unless he does these acts. This type of compulsive acts also lead to sexual deviant behaviour because of the sexual restrictions and beliefs that masturbation and other forms of overt sexual behaviour are very much undesirable and a sin.
In a limited number of cases, i.e. about 3 to 5%, delinquent, behaviour is associated with psychotic disorders. In Bandurar’s opinion (1973) often this involves prolonged emotional and social withdrawal arising out of long standing frustration.
Then, there is an explosive outburst of violent behaviour like volcanic eruption. Here, the delinquent act is the function of terrible personality, maladjustment and disturbances rather than a consistent antisocial orientation.
(vii) Emotional Problems:
Delinquency as an antisocial personality is the function of certain pathological and ill developed social environment. Wrong handling and faulty upbringing of the child lead to several emotional problems in the child. Various observations, case histories and interviews have indicated that quite a high percentage of the delinquents displayed emotional disturbances.
Heally and Bronner found that 92% of the delinquents showed emotional disturbances. Feeling of inadequacy, inferiority etc. were frequently found in them. In about 50% of the group, they were persistently present.
The feeling of insecurity, rejection of the parents and other members of the family were next important factors causing delinquent behaviour. About 33% of the group experienced strong feeling of being thwarted. Disharmony and problems of discipline were found in one third of the delinquents.
Quite a number of them also expressed sibling rivalry and jealousy. All these data lead to show that various emotional problems like insecurity, inferiority, jealousy, feeling of being neglected and let down were very common among the delinquent children.
The need for recognition and resentment against the sense of insecurity provides enough scope for a person to be delinquent. Rebellious feeling in oneself makes one antisocial and delinquent.
Because of these emotional problems which are created by dehumanised social conditions the person becomes a delinquent and tries to take action, against others. It is a fact that by their antisocial, sadistic and aggressive action they try to get pleasure and mental satisfaction.
Because of their emotional problems, they should be considered as maladjusted personalities and not as peculiar human beings, who differ from other human beings not in degree but in kind. They should not be considered as abnormal human beings.
Their needs and desires are very much normal, but they have become so because of faulty family upbringing. They become hostile and aggressive because they feel threatened and insecured.
According to Friedlander, delinquent character is the result of three factors:
(i) The strength of the unmodified instinctive urges,
(ii) The weaknesses of the ego and
(iii) The lack of independence and strength of the super ego. He is not able to control his impulsive needs. In his case neither realistic considerations, nor moral considerations operate to check his impulsive actions. Stott (1950) holds that delinquent breaks down is an escape from emotional situation which for the particular individual with the various conditioning of his background becomes almost temporarily invariable.
(viii) Faulty Discipline and Child Rearing Practice:
When the parents or one of them use rigid discipline, it increases hostility in the child. Why? Because of rigid discipline all his wishes and desires are suppressed and restrained. This leads to the development of an antisocial, rebellious and hostile personality in the growing child.
By constant suppression of desires the child never feels free and clear. Conflicting views of parents and teachers regarding discipline also contribute.
If the child rearing practices are faulty and are based on rigid, dictatorial principles, if the child is always left to cry and cry, if the child is not handled with due love and affection, if the discipline is harsh, inconsistent and irrational, his suppressed and repressed aggression is vented through anti-social and delinquent behaviour.
Prolonged parental deprivation particularly at the early age of life, between 1-5 years is extremely adverse for the normal personality development of the child. The affectionless and loveless life due to proper parenting and judicious child rearing practices lead to several maladjustments and in some cases juvenile delinquency.
Bowlby (1946) compared 44 children who committed various thefts and hence were kept in the London child Guidance Clinic for treatment with 44 normal children of the same age and Socio-economic status, who came to the clinic for treatment but who did not steal.
Results showed that 17 of the 44 thief’s had suffered from prolonged separation from their mothers. But in the control group only 02 were separated from their mothers.
Of course, the question why the remaining 27 thief’s of the experimental group inspite of being with their mother took recourse to thefts has not been explained by this factor. But there are other factors besides parental deprivation which influence the development of delinquency.
Stott is of opinion that security, affection, love and proper attention from the parents are basically required for the proper growth of personality of the child. Those children who do not get this from their parents become susceptible to delinquency.
By becoming delinquents they try to get attention from their parents. Further they with an attitude of revolt try to teach their parents a lesson. Some also become vindictive and develop antisocial, reactionary, negative behaviour. They get sadistic satisfaction by giving pain to their parents and causing them worry. They get pleasure by seeing them suffering.
Lower socio-economic status parents usually remain absent from home for earning their bread. Both the father and mother work from morning to evening outside. So the child is deprived from parental care and is neglected.
They also cannot provide a baby sister to take care of the baby because of their poverty. Since the parents of low S.E.S. are not properly educated and properly trained, they cannot take proper care of their children. To add to this the school going children do not get scope for going to good school for their educational and social development. All these factors either separately or in combination pave the way for delinquency.
(ix) Broken Homes:
Studies show that children coming from broken homes, where parents are separated or divorced, lead to delinquent behaviour, than those children coining from broken homes where the home is broken by the death of the parents or one of the parents. In Western countries, where separation and divorce of parents are more common, this is a major cause of delinquency.
But in India, though currently separation and divorce cases are increasing day by day, they are not so rampant like their Western counterparts and hence, is not a major cause of delinquency.
In a study of institutionalized delinquents in the State of Colorado, Barker and Adams (1962) found that only about one-third of the boys and girls come from complete home setting, i.e. where they live with both their original parents. British and American Investigations reveal that nearly 50 per cent of the delinquents come from broken homes.
(x) Socio-pathic Parental Models:
Glueck and Glueck (1969), Ulmar (1971) and Bandura (1973) have found high presence of socio- pathic traits in the parents of the delinquents. Socio-pathic traits include alcoholism, brutality, antisocial attitudes, failure to provide unnecessary frequent absences from home, lack of communication with the child etc. All these traits make the father an inadequate and unacceptable model for the child.
According to Scharfman and Clark (1967) the chief variables of the delinquent behaviour of girls were:
(a) Broken homes combined with emotional deprivation,
(b) Irrational, harsh and inconsistent parental discipline,
(c) Patterns of only aggressive and sexual behaviour modelled by psychopathic parents.
(xi) Parental Absenteeism:
In studies on juvenile delinquency, Martin (1961) and others have emphasized the feeling of unrelatedness and detachment from the family and society as a key cause of delinquency. Communication gap with one or both parents leads to the failure to learn appropriate social values. This finally leads to a tendency to act out inner tension in hostile and destructive manner.
The question is why this feeling of unrelatedness or insecurity arises in young people who differ vastly in age I.Q., personality make up and socio-economic standard. A key source of this feeling appears to be parental absenteeism.
When parents are too much absorbed in their own occupations and activities and do not provide the youth optimum attention, necessary support and encouragement during the crisis period of the growing age, they turn to peers and others as models who might be lacking the qualities of ideal models for the child.
(xii) Mother Dominance:
When the father is mostly busy with his own work and commitments or in other works, and if he plays a submissive role in the family, the mother takes over the function of providing affection and discipline of the boy.
In certain cases, it is found that by nature the mother because of her aggressive personality pattern or earning capacity plays a dominant role compared to the father. When the child grows up with a mother dominance atmosphere in the family, he starts identifying with the mother and greatly depends upon him as a role model.
With this type of attitude when he reaches adolscence, it becomes difficult for the boy to develop a masculine self concept. Thus, now he tries to express his masculanity, independence courage and finally the so called male ego in rebellious and proving offences. By being engaged in such anti-social acts, he gets the satisfaction that he is really masculine.
(xiii) Father Rejection:
Andry, on the basis of the findings of his studies, concluded that the delinquent boys felt rejected by their fathers but loved by their mothers. Non-delinquent boys on the other hand felt to be equally loved and cared by both the parents. A child who is rejected by his parents day in and day out, develops, naturally, an inner feeling of hostility towards him.
The gap in communication and lack of understanding between the father and the child paves the way for anti-social behaviour in the form of anguish, aggression and hostility. When he finds that a large part of his world is unable to deal with him properly, he in turn does not like to understand the world either.
This hostility is transformed in the form of anti-social and delinquent behaviour. He, infact, lacks normal inner controls. He does not have the basic values of life. So, he tends to act out his aggressive impulses.
(xiv) Undesirable Peer Relationship:
Delinquency is said to be a gang experience. In support of this view, Haney and Gold (1973) found that about 66 per cent of the delinquent behaviours are committed in association with other persons. Usually it is a homogenious group so far, as sex is concerned. But in selected cases, as found now a days girls and boys also form gangs and delinquent groups.
(B) General Socio-Cultural Factors:
(i) Alienation and Rebellion:
Many ego psychologists view that the modern youth is only a bundle of confusions as far as his values of life is concerned. Most surprisingly, it is common in youths coming from all socio-economic levels. There is a communication gap and a generation gap.
They do not accept the values of their parents or grandparents and they are even confused of their so called own values and sense of identity. There is also identity crisis in many of them. Thus, in short, they are all in a mess.
They do not know what to accept and what to reject. They always experience a feeling of alienation from family as well as society. This lack of identification and development of clear values turn them to the outer world to peers gangs and friends for guidance and approval. They may take drugs and engage in illegal antisocial activities like thefts, pick pockets, violences etc.
There are innumerable instances where many modern youths who run away from home as a sort of reaction to their rebellious feeling, tend to join gangs indulged in delinquent behaviour, prostitution etc. In the same manner, socially disadvantaged youths, such as belonging to lower income groups, lower caste groups and having very little education, having lower status in the society may turn to delinquency also.
(ii) The Social Rejects:
With the increase in urbanization and industrialization, family ties grow weaker. Joint family systems are gradually disintegrating. People prefer to have their own family of husband and wife and children.
With the formation of mass society, influence of technology on society and erosion of values, social disintegration is increasing day by day. Joint family system has now become a dream. Tolerance and sense of sacrifice and feeling of cooperation is decreasing day by day.
Divorce and remarriage are quite common in the Western countries and urban areas. Though some decades back in India the public opinion was very strong against divorce and remarriage, now it has changed to some extent with the increase in industrialization and urbanization.
The effect of social disintegration, erosion of values, lack of sense of social sacrifice and commitment for the society may make many children social rejects. Young boys and girls who lack the motivation to do well in school because of various familial and social factors and become drop outs who are social isolates as soon as they can.
Normally, they do not qualify for any job. Irrespective of class, sex social status and wealth, they generally feel useless and unneeded by the society. This lack of hope, feeling of uselessness and that they are rejected by the society, lead them to show undesirable anti-social behaviour.
Many of them remain unemployed. Those who somehow get some employment are funnily unable to hold the job, and so, they shift from job to job, engage in delinquent behaviour, partly as a result of frustration and partly due to confusion and hopelessness.
(iii) Delinquent Gang Subculture:
This includes the rebellion with the norms of the society. If a person is rejected by the society, his inner tension is often revealed in serious delinquent acts beating and fighting leading to serious physical injury.
As Jenkins has put it, the socialized delinquents represent not a failure of socialization but a limitation of loyalty to a more or less pedatory peer group. The basic capacities for social relationship has been achieved. What is lacking in an effective integration with the larger society as a contributing member.
(iv) Gangs and Companions:
In addition to other important causes of delinquency, those who feel inadequate and rejected by the group and society join gangs, peer groups and companions and indulge in anti-social activities. As a child grows, he mixes with the members of the neighbourhood and always becomes an important member of their play group. The norms set up for the child at home may not be similar to the norms set up by the play groups.
Because of such differences there may be conflict of values, ideas and norms. Even in the school these norms may be different. He has to conform and adjust with one set of norms at home and another set of norms in the play group and another in the school.
Various studies indicate that secondary groups, like neighbourhood, playmates, peers and school, and others in the society which the child comes in contact more often than not all have tremendous effects on the personality of the child. All these agents of socialization play important role in the process of socialization of the growing child.
Overcrowding of cities, lack of space at home, residence at slum areas, location of various shops and business centres in various residential areas of the city, environmental pollution create a lot of social problems. Such problems have an adverse effect on the social development of the child. Children of such areas do not have a park to play, do not have many recreational facilities.
Some of these children of the slum areas invade the industrial belts nearby for some occasional job and are sometimes thrown out because of their inefficiency. Being frustrated and finding no way out, they mix with other children of the similar category and form gangs. Street corner gangs have tremendous contribution to Juvenile delinquency.
Initially, the gang starts as a play group. In the absence of play ground facility, the children start playing in the streets and eventually organise themselves in to gangs. Various groups of the same or nearby area then start fighting.
Very recently one incident occurred in my residential colony. There is one ‘paan’ (bettle) shop in front of my house. Two days before the last Ganesh Puja when I reached home from market, I found that the two boys of the paan shop along with some outside teenagers are constructing a pendal adjacent to the paan shop.
On enquiry, my orderly peon told me that these boys belong to another nearby colony and they are going to celebrate Ganesh Puja here. They decorated the pendal and also started playing film songs using a mike two days before the Puja.
We were very much disturbed by these unnecessary loud sounds. But nobody dared to object with the apprehension of being misbehaved and malhandled by them. On the night prior to the Puja day this gang of 10 to 12 boys prepared a feast near the pendal and ate to their heart’s content.
At about 2 A.M. we heard loud noise of fighting and shouting in front of our house. We got up from sleep and saw that two gangs are fighting with each other. Some of them broke the image of Ganesh and broke the mike.
Consequently one members of a gang fell down on the ground with severe blows and head injury. After this incident immediately the culprits lied from the spot leaving the injured boy there. After ten minutes two persons came and took away the injured boy in a rickshaw.
After 3-4 minutes Police came to the spot and after necessary enquiry booked the culprits. Members of both the gangs were kept under the custody of the Police for the whole day.
Alas! the Puja could not be performed in time. Why the two gangs fought? Gang No. 1 did not want gang No.2 to celebrate a separate Ganesh Puja. Gang No. 1 wanted Gang No. 2 to contribute to their Puja. So there was conflict and quarrel between the two gangs.
Numerous such quarrels, violence’s and conflicts occur every day between the street corner and Zhopodi gangs. Some members of these gangs are involved in petty theft and anti-social behaviour. They are famous for creating social nuisense.
Why a person becomes a member of a gang? Gang membership provides them a sense of status and approval and a sense of belongingness which they did not get from their family and other social agents. In a gang, the responsibility or blame of threat is not shouldered by any individual member, but by the gang as a whole just like in a mob.
Thus, some prefer to steal or booze and do other illegal acts in the name of gang. Studies have indicated that the groups outside the home have a tremendous impact on the personality of the adolescent. The gang starts as a play group.
In the absence of play ground facility, the children start playing in the streets and eventually form a gang and the behaviour of the person is mostly influenced by the gang and so he develops delinquent tendencies.
Though the gang has all the qualities of an in group like cooperation, unity, fellow feeling and belongingness, it is also associated with crimes, like stealing, eveteasing, rioting, homicide, rape, murder, boozing, taking various drugs and abusing them, dacoity, assault and murders etc.
Thus, they form a racket and in an organised way they create terror in the area. Studies have indicated that these children are roughly between 10-16 years age. They also come from poor families with constant friction between parents and family members. Those children who usually become the members of the gang have often little or no parental guidance.
Studies also indicate that delinquency is committed in groups and in companies. Shaw analysed 6,000 cases of crime and observed that in 72 per cent of the cases two or more companions were involved.
Healy reported that companionship was a single factor causing delinquency in 34 per cent of the cases while Burt gives the figure at 18 per cent. Uday Sankar gives the figure at 23 per cent. Sometimes parents are seen complaining that their child became a delinquent by mixing in bad company.
But bad companionship is not the only cause of delinquency unless there are some defects in the character formation of the individual. However, bad companionship is never the less an important factor which lead to delinquency, since delinquency is also a learnt behaviour.
In a gang or a restricted group the influence of social norm is there, sense of responsibility is divided and a boy feels that cinema and various electronic medias, like TV, Video films of violent and sexual nature lead children to delinquency by being helped through various techniques of delinquency shown in the screen.
However, it is quite reasonable to assume that early childhood training and parental attitude, how the child is reared up, all these have tremendous impact in deciding delinquent behaviour. These predisposing characters are precipitated in a gang thus leading to delinquency.
Recently female delinquents have also formed their gangs with a purpose to protect and defy themselves. They find a sense of acceptance, belongingness and give and take, sympathy, understanding, companionships, loyalty, power and authority which they do not find in a socialized world which they consider to be an out group.
Ample evidences are there to hold that a large percentage of the delinquent children come from poor homes. It is found that even 50 per cent of the delinquents come from lower strata of the society with very poor economic background and hand to mouth living standard. Glueck’s (1934) study revealed that only 28.8% of the children came from comfortable homes with good economic status of parents.
Those who are disadvantaged and under privileged due to their poverty had to take recourse to some anti-social action for their living also.
Hence, keeping all other factors constant, a child coming from a comfortable home has relatively less chance for becoming a delinquent than a child coming from a poor under privileged family, Glueck’s study also showed that 37% of the fathers of delinquent children were skilled labourers while 23% were semi-skilled labourers and 40% were unskilled labourers.
Findings of his study showed that not a single parent of the delinquent children came from the clerical services. Glueck’s study, thus, brings the fact to light that the nature of job of parents is also an important determinant of delinquency.
Of course, Glueck’s study was conducted about sixty four years back and much changes have taken place during these six to seven decades. Children of some well to do highly educated parents doing very good jobs in government and non-govt.
Offices also, now a days, are engaged in delinquency and the percentage is growing up day by day. But compared to their lower SES counterparts the percentage is very low. According to Uday Sankar’s Study 83% of the Juvenile delinquents came from poor homes, 13% from border line (neither poor nor rich) homes and only 4% came from comfortable homes.
But poverty cannot be the role cause of delinquency. Had it been so, in India where poverty is found in most homes, the number of delinquents would have been more than the rich and better off countries which is not a fact. In India the percentage of Juvenile delinquency is very low and most people are peace loving and disciplined unlike other developed and developing countries.
A study conducted by the Ministry of Education (1952) Govt, of India indicates that 32,400 children were awarded sentences for delinquency in 1949. But in 1950 it was noticed that 40,119 children of all the states of India except U.P. were put up for trial in the Juvenile courts. But besides these recorded cases, there might have been some unrecorded cases also.
Poor parents have to leave their children and go for work. Thus, the mother is not available to take proper care of the child. They are neglected and the child becomes wayward. Children from poor homes also do not get scope for education as they have to supplement the earning of their parents. Poverty is, therefore, a contributing cause of delinquency, although it is not the sole cause.
Serious traumatic experiences may lead one to become a delinquent. Clark (1961) found that one- third of the cases studied by him were found to be suffering from trauma. These traumatic experiences may range from death of parents, children husband or wife, broken homes, disorganised families etc.
Burks and Harrison (1962) have also stressed the function of stresses which directly threaten the adolescent feeling of inadequacy and worth as precipitating events in some cases of aggressive antisocial behaviour. Finkelstein (1968) holds that accumulation of emotional tensions also lead to a final outbreak the form of delinquency.
(vii) Delinquent Areas:
Studies of Burt in England indicates that there are certain localities from which majority of delinquent children come. In these areas, there are poor housing overcrowding and lack of recreational facilities. Most delinquents also come from the areas where cinema houses and hotels are located.
Burt found a high correlation of 77 between delinquency and density of population. Shaw in a similar study found that the majority of the Juvenile delinquents came from the centres of Chicago and the number of juveniles decreased from centre to periphery. But this is not applicable to all children staying in the crowded localities.
Essay # 6. Treatment of Juvenile Delinquency:
What is a crime after all? An act which is a crime in one society may not be a crime in another society as crimes are acts which violate the rights of a person or property as envisaged by law or tradition. But never the less certain acts are considered as criminal in every society like murders, theft etc.
Inspite of the cultural variations in different parts of the world, criminals are always punished by the society or law, although the degree of punishment may vary from society to society. Many in the society believe that punishment should be exemplary so that others will not dare to commit it.
This purpose of giving punishment to the culprit in a major way is to prevent criminal acts. But the question arises whether Juvenile delinquents who are below 18 years of age should be punished like the convicts and criminals or not.
Rehabilitation of delinquents has been a great social issue. Delinquency is an anti-social behaviour and it creates unrest and indiscipline in the society. It makes social life hazardous and dangerous. It also affects the peace and prosperity of the nation. It is, therefore, imperative that the readjustment problem of delinquents should be dealt very sincerely and effectively.
Many people in the society feel that Juvenile delinquents should be given severe punishment so that not only they, but others will not dare to repeat such illegal, anti-social action in future. But sociologists and psychologists strongly hold that since Juvenile delinquency refers to the cases of young minds and children at their tender age, one has to deal with such cases very cautiously and carefully.
Juvenile delinquency being a social disease the child or the adolscent has to be treated in such a manner, so that he can readjust with the society. His maladjustment with the society has to be changed.
Since delinquency is mainly caused in the society under social conditions mostly because his basic needs are not fulfilled, efforts should be made first to fulfil the basic needs of every child in a socially approved manner whether delinquent or non-delinquent and extra care should be taken of the delinquent child.
Each delinquent child tries to fulfil his needs in an anti-social manner. But it would be the job of the social reformers and psychologists dealing with the care of the delinquents, to fulfil their needs in a socially accepted manner according to the norms of the society and legal sanctions.
Further, each delinquent has to be considered individually focussing attention on the fulfillment of his needs for power, prestige and recognition. Each individual case of delinquency has to be studied separately keeping in view his specific problems. Then only, it will be possible to rehabilitate, recondition and readjust the individual in the society.
In recent years there has not only been any transformation in the past attitude of the society and social thinkers towards delinquency there has also been change in law with regard to Juvenile delinquency. The outlook is now more progressive and dynamic. Special courts have been established with specially trained Magistrates to handle the cases of delinquents.
They are also sheltered in special homes instead of jails and special care is taken so that they can be rehabilitated in the society. Remand homes are established by law to which the young offenders are sent. Trained social workers are also engaged to study each case. For each case a separate file is built up with the detailed case history, type of crime committed and further improvement in behaviour.
Clinical psychologists and psychiatrists are also engaged in many remand homes to reform these anti-socials. Instead of giving physical punishment to the offenders, constant efforts are made to bring change in their outlook and attitude towards society, towards themselves. In short, the aim of everyone involved is to rehabilitate the individual in the society as a normal individual.
Special schools are also established otherwise known as ‘Reformatory Schools’ with specially trained teachers to help the delinquents to overcome the deficiencies in their socialization and develop the right kind of attitude towards themselves. The teachers of such schools gradually try to become substituted parents and help the children in generating a sense of security, self confidence, right attitude towards society.
They are given various craft and other vocational training to earn their livelihood, once they are rehabilitated in the society. The schools also develop a number of group activities to change the ego and super ego of these children.
In Western countries delinquents in small groups are brought up in residential areas and given individual treatment, to have in them a feeling that they are part and parcel of the society. Thus, they are removed from the aversive environment and allowed to learn about the world of which they are a member.
If required, they are given individual therapy, group therapy and psychological counselling. Here, their behaviour is resocialized by the help of group pressure. Counselling with the parents in the rehabilitation centre is also of great help for the rehabilitation of the Juvenile delinquents.
Institutionalization may not be quite successful in case of Juvenile offenders, i.e. youths whose offenses have involved acts that world not be considered criminal, if committed by an adult such as running away from home or engaging in sexual relations. If such types of delinquents are kept with those who have committed serious crimes, they would in turn learn these from them.
It may, therefore, aggravate their behavioural problems instead of correcting them. The teachers of reformatory schools should also keep in mind to act as substitutes of good, warm and understanding parents and help the children to generate a sense of security and involvement. They should give up the idea that their life is meaningless and their birth is useless.
The school also should make efforts to develop a number of group activities in debate, sports, various social functions, picnics, exhibitions and study tours to change the ego of the delinquent child, to create a feeling of togetherness, belongingness, we feeling, sense of sacrifice and cooperation along with healthy competition.
Positive human values like honesty, sociability, amiability, truthfulness etc. are to be developed through teaching and action. One has to remember that changes are to be made from negative to positive outlooks and values of life.
Parents have also tremendous role to play in the rehabilitation of their delinquent children. They, therefore, must be helped to develop insight to their own behaviour and analyse their own behaviour which might have led to the maladjustment in the child.
They should, therefore, try to rectify their own behaviour so that in future there is no problem from the side of parents when the child returns from the reformatory home to be rehabilitated in the society. Since a lot depends upon parental behaviour and attitude, they should be very cautious.
Finally, the society and public should also change their outlook and attitude towards delinquency in general. They should not hate or distrust the delinquents. The delinquents must be dealt with sympathy, understanding and good behaviour.
They should not be hurt emotionally. Society as a whole should give up its fear and hostility towards the delinquents and anti-socials. It should develop a flexible attitude so that proper analysis of the causes of delinquency is made and adequate steps are taken both with respect to the prevention and treatment of delinquency.
Mentally retarded children should be specially and cautiously, dealt with parents and teachers. Otherwise, they may become susceptible to delinquency. They should be handled with proper care and should be taught in such a way so that their attention can be sustained.
The psychopathic and neurotic children should be given the opportunities of necessary therapeutic measures and prevent the development of delinquent behaviour.
All kinds of delinquents should not be treated identically, in a group or and should not be given similar rehabilitation facilities. For this purpose, differential diagnosis of the delinquents is essentially required. This can be possible by the, services of psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
Increase of population without proportionate increase of space and other living conditions is one of the major causes of rise in delinquency. Particularly people migrate to cities from villages and the cities, semi-urban and urban areas for earning their livelihood.
So they are overcrowded. Various difficulties crop up and so problems of socialization are also experienced. Slum areas in cities create more problems leading to the growth of anti-social feelings in children.
Therefore, vast programmes are now being undertaken to clear the slum areas and for providing educational and recreational facilities for the slum children like parks, gardens, play grounds, doll house. As a result, the children need not play in street corners and constitute consciously or unconsciously street corner gangs.
Large amount of money are being spent in Western countries to rehabilitate the delinquents through various remedial measures. Various steps are also being taken at different quarters to prevent the rise of delinquents. But since delinquency is a very complex problem being caused by multifarious factors, it is difficult, though not impossible, to control it and prevent it.
Inspite of the various rehabilitation programmes developed by different countries of the world, they do not appear to be sufficient to reduce the percentage of delinquency from the society or prevent it significantly.
The inadequacies of the correctional system are being changed as and when necessary. Effective rehabilitation programmes, long range programmes to prevent delinquency should also be prepared to combat the rise of delinquency in the society.
This can be made possible by improving the conditions of the slum areas, providing suitable educational facilities for children staying in slum areas, near railway station, bus stand, market etc.
Along with this minimum education, vocational training and training in different trades should also be provided. By being engaged in work and earning some money during the training period, they can be normalized and can also adjust with the main stream.
The manual training will not only encourage their creative abilities, but also would give them satisfaction. When a child or an adolscent produces a bag or a basket, a toy in mud or a painting he gets immense satisfaction. This sense of achievement produces in him a sense of security and confidence, a sense of adequateness.
Orphanage and destitute homes are not sufficient to rehabilitate the juvenile delinquents in view of their increasing numbers during the recent years. Hence, these along with recreational centres should be increased.
In the school the teacher should show sympathetic treatment to the Juveniles. They should not hate them. Their approach should be different from what they show to the normal children and each Juvenile delinquent should be given individual attention. Mentally handicapped and retarded children should not be ridiculed by class mates and peers. The teacher should give special attention to this.
The rehabilitation programmes are not enough keeping in view the rapid growth of Juvenile delinquency in the entire world. The inadequacies of the correctional system are being changed. Besides effective rehabilitation programmes, long range programmes to prevent delinquency should be prepared.
This can be made possible by improving the conditions of the slum areas, provision for suitable educational and recreational facilities, education of parents disciplined and organised society with role relationship defined, development of proper ego identity and etc.
Odell (1974) has developed a programme that combined educational development and job placement facilitating entry in to the opportunity structure more effective than traditional case work methods in preventing Juvenile recidivision. Finally, it can be said that the emphasis should be more on rehabilitation than punishment.
Juvenile delinquency cannot be curbed fully from the society. No society can ever completely prevent or eliminate crime, practically speaking. However, delinquency and crime can be reduced social scientists and psychologists can plan to reduce delinquency and crime.