Juvenile Delinquency and Why It Happens

Juvenile delinquency is a raised issue that impacts societies and generations. The transition from childhood to adulthood is like a rollercoaster because many young people are going through changes biologically, psychologically, and sociologically. Throughout this process, many young people fall into to the trap of becoming a juvenile delinquent. The significance in studying juvenile delinquency allows us to understand the risk factors and the effects of them, and to draw correlations on why juveniles commit crimes. I will provide detailed examples of a delinquent juvenile, juvenile status offender, two types of a neglected deprived/ dependent juvenile and two types of an abused deprived/dependent juvenile. These examples will be based on knowledgeable real life experiences.

A delinquent juvenile is a juvenile who has committed an act resulting in breaking the law. In less restrictive terms, these acts aren’t considered crimes but rather delinquent acts. The law does not make out delinquent juveniles as criminals unlike adults who commit crimes. This leads to my example of a delinquent juvenile. Last year, two juveniles stole a car near a daycare center in Columbus, Georgia. The owner of the vehicle had a tracking device on their vehicle and tracked down the car that led to Stadium Drive in Phenix City, Alabama. When the owner arrived, the car and the two juveniles were still in the area. As the owner approached the car, both juveniles opened fire at the owner. Police officers arrived to the scene and had to chase both juveniles down South Railroad Street which is near Phenix City Intermediate School. Both juveniles were found in a creek near the school and were arrested. The police obtained two firearms and the two juveniles were charged with attempted murder and bringing stolen property across state lines. Although the two juveniles did not necessarily commit “crimes”, they cannot be labeled as criminals even if society logically thought that they were.

A juvenile status offender is a juvenile that violates rules and commits offenses that would not be considered offenses towards adults. Those status offenses include runaway, underage drinking, truancy, and being confirmed to their tendencies. This leads to my example of a juvenile status offender. A 16-year old girl who was known for being incorrigible decided that she wanted to run away from home. In Georgia, this can be defined as being an “unruly child”. This comes from the Georgia Code 15-11-2 (12); 15-11-47/48/49 (OCGA, 2010). The 16 – year old girl did not care if it affected her family and society. She ran away to hang out with her guy friends who also had a history of being incorrigible. She returned home safely shortly after the 24-hour mark and acted as if nothing happened despite the concerns from her family. I believe that unruly youth do not care at times about the consequences of their actions but rather achieving a social (ascribed) status.

A deprived/dependent juvenile includes juveniles who are neglected, psychologically or physically abused, or caught between conflict from their parents. This falls under the Georgia Code 15-11-12 (OCGA, 2010) where it explains that a deprived child does not receive proper parental care/control, education, and subsistence that is required by law. This also includes the care/control of their mental, physical, emotional health, or morals. This leads to my first example of neglected deprived/dependent juveniles. A 12-year-old girl, 10-year-old boy, and 8-year old boy were not attending school in Lagrange, GA. This led to Child Protective Services going to the home to investigate why those kids were not attending school. Child Protective Services discovered that the three children were home alone without any power, little to no food, and had not received a shower in days. The 12-year-old girl had a head full of lice and was trying to find food so that she could feed her brothers. The parents were nowhere to be found. My second example of a neglected deprived/dependent juvenile is that a 15-year-old boy’s parents were contributing to his truancy. The parents were too lazy to get their son a proper education. In the state of Georgia, parents can face criminal charges for violating the compulsory education laws. This comes from the Georgia Code 20-2-690.1 (OCGA, 2010).

Child abuse causes serious consequences for child development and even affects families. It can cause behavior problems, disordered psychological development and long term difficulties. My first example of an abused deprived/delinquent juvenile is something that I heard of a few years ago. A mother who had a 6-year-old son would whoop him every time he would pee the bed. It got to the point where things got out of hand and she left physical bruises on the young boy. Instead of taking time to train her child and finding the root of the problem, she chose to physically abuse the child. I believe that there are better ways to discipline a child than to spank and leave bruises because it probably caused psychological issues with the 6-year-old boy. My last example of an abused deprived/delinquent juvenile happened to an individual that I knew of in high school. A 16-year-old girl’s mother was very abusive physically and verbally. The girl’s mother was a drunk and had mental health issues and took her anger and frustration out on her daughter. Her mom would slap her, punch her, spit on her and say some pretty horrible stuff towards her daughter. The sad part is that it only happened when she became drunk. The 16-year-old was a very smart and sweet girl but to know what she had to go through was very heartbreaking. In conclusion, I believe that abusive parenting can lead to violent delinquent behavior because of the environment that a child is placed in and prolonged trauma. I also believe that a child can turn out just fine, but an individual or child especially will always remember traumatic experiences no matter how hard they try to forget them.

Juvenile delinquency is a big problem that covers an array of factors. Studying juvenile delinquency is necessary to help validate the theories concerning the causation of juvenile delinquency. It is also important to discuss and develop possible solutions to such a raised issue. Society is ever changing and many more generations are on the horizon which is why becoming informed and understanding the depth of juvenile delinquency can possibly be used to deter it.