Assessing Juvenile Delinquency in Trinidad and Tobago Using Subcultural Theories

2274 Words Mar 17th, 2013 10 Pages
Assessing Juvenile Delinquency in Trinidad and Tobago using Subcultural Theories
Diane S Lewis
University of the West Indies

Abstract Devin Mills, a student I privately tutored, was gunned down while walking in Deigo Martin in January 2011, newspaper reports portrayed him as a typical lower-class male who got caught up in the wrong things and believed his murder was gang-related. I did not understand why everyone viewed him as such because to me, Devin was a sincere and compassionate young man who was trying to make the best out of his circumstances in life. This unfortunate event inspired my interest in juvenile delinquency and how it relates to gangs. As a result, this paper will assess juvenile delinquency using subcultural theories
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Supporting evidence of this theory can be found in the first study of criminal gangs done by UWI sociologist C Victor in the 1960s. As part of an analysis of juvenile delinquency in Trinidad and Tobago, Victor studied three gangs from Port of Spain, and his conclusions about how gangs function seem to hold today (Baldeosingh, 2010). He reported that one gang member told him, “We gangsmen must obey we rules, if even we have to break everybody else own, is only so we could look out for weself . . .” (Baldeosingh, 2010). This statement, made by an actual gang member, clearly validates Cohen’s fourth benefit of being part of a subculture. Members of the subculture evaluated life in a different manner than that established by the wider society. Individuals who are already part of or would like to join the subculture must demonstrate disenchantment with the larger society. According to Victor, there is a singleness of purpose (within the subculture) — to foster the values of the group (Baldeosingh, 2010). Lower-class juveniles who are not able to achieve the middle-class goals may have felt estranged from such a society, and as a result, become part of a delinquent subculture where they feel a greater sense of
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