Juvenile Delinquency Theoretical Approach

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Juvenile Delinquency Theoretical Approach

Juvenile delinquency can be referred as the act of young people who are under the legal age of being recognized by the particular nation as adults being involved in unlawful conduct. In today’s society, the juvenile has become victims of immorality and unethical behaviors which put them in trouble of facing law actions. Many theorists have come up with various philosophies that tend explain the reasons behind juvenile delinquency in a different perspective. The significant drive towards juvenile delinquency are peer pressure, erosion of conducts in the society where the youths are brought up in and desire of getting wealthier through illegal means such as drugs trafficking and burglary among many others (Bartollas, et.al 2017). Many theories explain juvenile delinquency, but in this discussion, the control theory and an early group-conflict theory will be put into consideration. In this paper, juvenile delinquency is elaborated in a profound extent with regards to the control theory and group-conflict theory in consideration of their application to juvenile delinquency, the weaknesses as well as the strongholds of these theoretic approaches.

The control theory is the best chosen theoretical approach that intensely explains about juvenile delinquency. The model by Hirschi was developing during the year 1969 and tends to consider juvenile misbehavior at an individual level. He argues that engagement into the misconducts is due to lack of goals and being uncommitted hence end up being uncontrolled. In his argument, Hirschi has suggested that the most appropriate way to explain juvenile delinquency is nonexistence of control. Apart from a commitment to conventionality, there are other types of controls required such as attachments to family, school and friends, involvement in the community, school and other development activities as well as belonging to various principles and beliefs (Thornberry, 2018). The theorist argues that the act of juvenile being involved in illegalities is inversely proportional to having the mentioned control values. In consideration of the control theory, peoples’ strong bond with the society comes as a result of more attachment, involvement and having firm beliefs. Hirschi hypothesizes that goals are essential for the elimination of delinquent behavior and it is crucial for the elimination of the elements that bring variation and constraints to the social cohesion.

It is clear according to the control theory that having success values with no means of achieving them may result in juvenile delinquency as it is the case in the initial stage with the absence of these goals. Therefore, with regards to the theory juvenile delinquency can be eradicated through emphasizing the social values as well as the family and school playing their part in the values to action (Siegel, & Welsh, 2014). For instance, let us take an example of a student who does not take his time to study and still have the goal of passing the examination as well as joining a tertiary level institution. To accomplish his objectives, he will be forced to go against the school roles by either copying from his colleagues or to cheat the examination in any other way which is an irregularity. If the supervisor tends to catch him cheating appropriate steps according to schools laws will be put into action, and the individual will end up suffering a punishment. The same case applies in the society where young people want to acquire things through illegal and unethical means. Thus they end up in juvenile courts. All this happens due to lack of values and self-principles that guides and gives control of what one is supposed to do.

The model takes the best theoretical approach in explaining juvenile delinquency as it is considered at the individual perspective and the community and other social groups are just taken as vessels of imposing core values and principles of preventing misconduct. The fundamental information regarding the theory is that an individual has the responsibility of controlling juvenile delinquency and has to make right decisions on the values as well as beliefs to follow (Hewitt, & DeLisi, 2016). On the other hand, the control theory has some weakness from various assumptions that Hirschi made when coming up with the model. The assumptions regarding not putting in consideration of the environmental conditions and other influential factors that might make juvenile get involved in the unlawful deeds. For instance, the juvenile gets involved in delinquency due to peer pressure or the act of being brought up in a moral deprived community. Here the case is different and there are more factors than control principles that have played a part in causing the misconduct. Therefore, there needs an in-depth consideration of such factors even though erosion of individual social principles significantly takes part.

On the other hand, the Group-conflict theory is regarded as the weakest theoretical approach in consideration of the juvenile delinquency. The theory was first written about by George Vold, an American sociologist in the year 1958. Vold postulated that juvenile criminality includes both the human acts and the judgment of the laws by the others whether the particular behaviors are acceptable and suitable or inappropriate and unacceptable in the society. Considering both factors, Vold considers definitions and judgment more significant in determining juvenile delinquency than the human behaviors (Greenwald, 2014). He explains that people and groups put values of judgment on the other acts thus defining them as either illegal or lawful. Vold refers the juvenile delinquency as the minority group and the society on the other hand as the majority group that determines what is right and wrong. He argues that the juvenile perceives to do right things, but according to police definition and law judgment that represents the adults’ world the deeds are considered unethical and illegal. Regarding the Vold’s primary argument, juvenile delinquency involves an intergenerational value conflict where the adults lead the society with their urge of controlling the legal processes.

The group-conflict theory is regarded as the weakest theory explaining about juvenile delinquency as it takes it in a different manner between the juvenile and the nation’s law which represents the adults. Vold assumes that the juvenile is always right apart from the put in place laws that perceives them as cut up. To an extent, the group-conflict theory is misleading and can result in disagreement within the community as the youth will fight back the legal laws arguing that they are put in place to undermine them. In actual sense, if one commits a criminal offense, the authority bodies have to take actions as per the law that protects the civilians’ rights (Burfeind, & Bartusch, 2015). A nation without law can be disorganized and one of the worst place to live in as their cognition could guide people and do things their beneficiaries without considering the life of the others.

With Regards to the discussion above, both Hirschi and Vold gives an entirely different theoretical approach regarding juvenile delinquency. Hence, the variation in regarding the control theory as the best model and the group-conflict as the weakest one. Having principles and core values to drive one’s personality and actions are the best way to curb juvenile misconduct. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the community and individual at a personal level to impose sound values and beliefs to the juvenile that will enable them to evade illegalities as well as having the capability to distinguish the right and wrong actions.

Bartollas, C., Schmalleger, F., & Turner, M. G. (2017). Juvenile delinquency. Pearson.

Burfeind, J., & Bartusch, D. J. (2015). Juvenile delinquency: An integrated approach. Routledge.

Greenwald, R. (2014). Trauma and juvenile delinquency: Theory, research, and interventions. Routledge.

Hewitt, J. D., & DeLisi, M. (2016). Delinquency in society. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. C. (2014). Juvenile delinquency: Theory, practice, and law. Cengage Learning.

Shoemaker, D. J. (2017). Juvenile delinquency. Rowman & Littlefield.

Taylor, R. (2014). Juvenile justice: Policies, programs, and practices. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Thompson, W. E., & Bynum, J. E. (2016). Juvenile delinquency: A sociological approach. Rowman & Littlefield.

Thornberry, T. (Ed.). (2018). Developmental theories of crime and delinquency. Routledge.

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