By: Alex Del Bosque, Andrea
Saiz, Judy Smith, Kasey Stokes,
& Michael Wiger
Defining Juvenile Delinquency
• Refers to
• Persons who
are under the
age of 18 1
• Truancy 1,5
Juvenile:Percent of Arrests
0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35%
• Girls—25 %
• African American
youths are 5 Xs
more likely to
Juvenile Delinquecy 2005
Anglo Black Hispanic Other
Causes of Juvenile Delinquency
• Poverty – Adolescents from lower SES families
commonly commit more crimes than those from
a higher SES family.
*However, SES has been found to be less of a
• School – Schools known as disorganized
schools – rules are only sporadically enforced.
• Media Violence – Television, Video Games,
Family: Disrupted homes and strained family
relationships can be linked with delinquent adolescents.
Fatherless adolescents is a major factor in the contribution the
Other connections to delinquency include a lack of
cohesion among the family and troubled relationships.
Abuse and neglect in fully intact families lead to a cycle of
Interpersonal Influences cont.
• Peers: When adolescents become delinquent
it is because they are socialized into it, mainly by
An adolescents close relationship with a
peer, who is already delinquent, usually
occurs after negative family interactions
and continued rejection by mainstream
peers takes place.
• Personality - Social assertiveness, defiance, ambivalent to
authority, and have a lack of self control are all traits associated with
Measured personality traits of distress (anxiety, depression, low
sense of well-being, and low self-esteem) and restraint (impulse
control, suppression of aggression, responsibility, and consideration)
(Weinberger,1997). They found that 88.9% of adolescents with low
levels of restraint and high levels of distress were rearrested during the
follow-up. The delinquent with high restraint and high levels of distress
committed fewer but more serious crimes. 1.
• Self-esteem – Delinquents consistently show signs of low self-
esteem while others can sustain high self-esteem through denial,
these become proficient at denial.
• Psychological Disorders – ODD, Conduct disorder, ADHD 2.
• Organic and Biological influences
Genetics is thought to play a key role.
Temperament can be genetically predisposed.
Levels of Testosterone of Serotonin.
• Substance Abuse
It has been shown that drinking is strongly
associated with delinquency.
Concurrently there is a strong relationship with drug
usage and criminal activity.
1. First contact
2. Take action
Police Actions cont..
3. Report the problem to parents
4.Refer cases to schools, welfare agencies,
clinics, counseling centers or family society
5. Take the juvenile into custody for
6. Arrest juveniles and turn the matter over to
Critique of Police Actions
• One of the biggest problems with the
juvenile justice system is in the beginning
the cases are left entirely to the police
1. Residential Districts
• One reason why adolescents may
become bitter toward police officers
Early Reforms in Juvenile Court
-legal system treated juveniles as adults
• Reformers—worked to change this policy
-Argued that juveniles should be
rehabilitated rather than punished
-Strove to enact parens patriae
a. The philosophy that juvenile court is to act
in the best interest of the child
Highlight: The Case That Changed
• Gerald Gault (15 year old boy)
--arrested for allegedly making obscene
calls to a neighbor
--was sentenced to live in a detention center
until the age of 21
--at the time the maximum sentence for an
adult was a two month jail stay and a
--the Supreme Court was presented with the
case in 1967, and the verdict was found in
Gerald’s favor (5 to 4 ruling)
• Today, the juvenile and adult systems are
separate; and minors are now guaranteed
the law and child
Court Systems cont…
• Probation Staff Under State Supervision
--have a limited case load
• Record System
--is maintained and safeguarded against
indiscriminate public inspection
--ordered to get
Correctional Systems cont.
• Backbone of the correctional system
--stage where juveniles are placed under the care
of probation officers
--approx. 1/3 of adolescents in detention centers
are not juvenile delinquents
--they are either abused or neglected and have
fallen under the care of the court system
• The 24 hour positive learning environment
--A reward system
Students earn points for good behavior
which can be converted into money
--the worst rehab for juveniles is sending
them to adult prisons
Preventing Juvenile Delinquency
• Research Results
--children are at risk of
before age 6
--early prevention can
reduce the rate of
2. Role Models
Religion—What the Research
--Overall, religion does seem to help, when
combined with other factors such as family
• INSIDERS—Involving Neighborhood
Schools in the Delivery of Existing
Resources to Students
• PIE--Positive Involvement Enterprise
• Specialized Programs—Boys and Girls
Effects of Juvenile Delinquency
• Disruption of family
• Possible Divorce for
--other siblings can start acting out in order
to get attention
--or other siblings go virtually unnoticed by
• Recent studies
independent of other
--role model status
--focused more on
brothers due to
Usually free or low cost
Cost of incarceration per
child—$35,000 to $64,000
Effects on the
• Feeling of
--may give them a
way to act out their
--sense of control
• Drug use as a
means of escape12
Effects on Society
• Tax Hikes
--vandalism (can cause rise in property taxes)
--court costs and fees
in some cases have been found to be more cost
early intention programs can prevent as many
as 250 crimes per $1 million spent while the
same amount spent in prisons would prevent
only 60 such crimes a year.
1 The Adolescent Development, Relationships, and Culture. F. Phillip Rice, Kim Gale Dolgin
2 Benda, Brent & Corwyn, Robert F. (1997). Religion and Delinquency: The Relationship After
Considering Family and Peer Influences. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 36, 81.
3 Cohn, Alvin W., 2004, Juvenile Focus, Federal Probation, 68, 64-67. (Journal Article)
4 Feld, Barry C.; 5 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology; September 22, 1997;
5 http://en.wikipedia.org (encyclopedia)
6 Jenson, Jeffrey M. Howard, Matthew O.; July 1, 1998;
7 Parker, Jennifer S. Morton, Todd L. Lingefelt, Megan E. Johnson, Katie S. (2005). Predictors of
Serious and Violent Offending by Adjudicated Male Adolescents. North American
Journal of Psychology; 2005, Vol. 7 Issue 3, p407-417, 11p, 2 charts
8 Pearce, Lisa D. & Haynie, Dana L. (2004) Intergenerational Religious Dynamics and Adolescent
Delinquency. Social Forces, 24, 1553-1572.
9 Regnerus, Mark 2003. Linked Lives, Faith, and Behavior. Journal for the Scientific Study of
Religion, 42, p.189-203.
10 Regoli, Robert M., and John D. Hewitt. Delinquency in Society (3rd edition). The McGraw Hills
Companies Inc., 1991.
11 Sloane, Douglas M. & Potvin, Raymond H. 1986. Religion and Delinquency: Cutting Through
the Maze. Social Forces, 65, p.212-213.
12 Slomkowski, Cheryl, Richard Rende, Katherine J. Conger, Ronald L. Simons, Rand D. Conger.
Child Development. January/February 2001, Volume 72, Number 1, Pages 271-283