Understanding Juvenile Delinquency in the United States

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Statistics show that in the United States, there were more than 4,000 arrests “for every 100,000 youths” between the ages of 10 and 17 in 2011 (USDOJJDP, 2011a). Juvenile delinquency is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “conduct by a juvenile characterized by antisocial behavior that is beyond parental control and therefore subject to legal action” (“Juvenile delinquency,” n.d.). A number of jurisdictions have been exerting effort to prevent minor offenders from involvement in the juvenile delinquency system (USDOJJDP, 2011b). Efforts have been made due to the emphasis on detrimental effects of juvenile delinquency and confinement on youth put forward by research. The following paper will describe the a number of social factors as well as the cooperative cognitive and biological factors that contribute to the development of juvenile delinquency and promote understanding of the psychological process. Neglect can play a significant role as a social factor in increasing the risk for juvenile delinquency (Ryan, Williams, & Courtney, 2013). Neglect is defined by the United States Department of Health and Human Services as the caregiver’s failure to provide suitable attention and care in spite of sufficient means to do so (USDHHS, 2012). According to a study done by Ryan et al. (2013) in Washington State, maltreatment, whether consistently throughout life or solely during adolescence, elevates the likelihood for an adolescent to develop into a juvenile delinquent. Statewide
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