Essay Juvenile Delinquency

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Juvenile delinquency is a problem that affects society as a whole. Understanding Juvenile delinquency is important because it is part of trying to figure out how people in American society should react to it; specifically, in terms of law enforcement officers, their agencies, and State legislators. When deviant behavior becomes "continuous, chronic and widespread it gets perceived as a significant part of the population as threatening to the general well-being of society" (Thompson and Bynum, 2010, p. 44). This is a societal problem that requires attention from various forms of social control. However, a lot of the burden is absorbed by an imperfect Juvenile Justice System. As time has passed, argument has ensued over
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The functionality of juvenile courts has increasingly become "a system of criminal social control to protect society from young offenders, rather than as a welfare agency to nurture and protect vulnerable children from a wrathful community" (Hickey, 2010). This shift has caused more of a focus on an individual as a criminal in contrast to the innocence of a child. In turn this has created hostility, which has led to more emphasis on social control and incarceration (Hickey, 2010). In addition, the shift has moved juvenile courts further away from a rehabilitative standpoint. The point of rehabilitating juveniles when they are in adolescence is to try to prevent adult criminal behavior.

Another problem is that juvenile courts lack resources to provide social welfare for children. This issue was created because of state agencies having the "control over the institutions and programs to which judges send delinquents," rather than juvenile courts having the control (Hickey, 2010, p. 148). The lack of resources by juvenile courts has occurred because the responsibility of providing child welfare does not rest solely with the juvenile courts (Hickey, 2010). The best way to describe this problem is that "providing child welfare is a societal responsibility, not simply a judicial one" (Hickey, 2010, p. 148). Some people support reform of the juvenile court system to re-emphasize its social welfare agency aspect. They suggest that more

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