Juvenile delinquency is the participation by a minor child, usually between the ages of 10 and 17, in illegal behavior or activities. Juvenile delinquency is also used to refer to children who exhibit a persistent behavior of mischievousness or disobedience, so as to be considered out of parental control, becoming subject to legal action by the court system. Juvenile delinquency is also known as “juvenile offending,” and each state has a separate legal system in place to deal with juveniles who break the law. To explore this concept, consider the following juvenile delinquency definition.
- Definition of Juvenile Delinquency
The behavior of a minor child is marked by criminal activities, persistent, antisocial behavior, or disobedience which the child’s parents are unable to control.
The origin of Juvenile Delinquency: 1810-1820
What is Juvenile Delinquency?
Juvenile delinquency occurs when a minor violates a criminal statute. When a juvenile commits a crime, the procedures that take place differ from those of an adult offender. In all states, juvenile court systems, and juvenile detention facilities, deal specifically with underage offenders. While it is common for state statutes to consider people under the age of 17 as minors, the justice system can charge minors even younger as adults, if the crime committed is very serious. Juvenile delinquents are often defined as children between the ages of 10 and 17 who have committed a criminal act. There are two main types of offenders: repeat offenders and age-specific offenders.
Does the word Juvenile come from?
The word ‘juvenile’ has derived from the Latin word ‘juvenile’ which means young. In other words, ‘juvenile’ connotes a young person without fully developed traits of youth. According to John Eric, “Juvenile delinquent is a person between 8 and 16 years of age, who violates a law; and ordinarily, the law does not hold a child 8 years of age legally responsible for anti-social behavior.
Types of Juvenile Delinquency
Juvenile delinquency, or offending, can be separated into three categories:
- Delinquency, crimes committed by minors which are dealt with by the juvenile courts and the justice system;
- Criminal behavior, crimes dealt with by the criminal justice system;
- Status offenses, offenses which are only classified as such because one is a minor, such as truancy, also dealt with by the juvenile courts.
- What is Juvenile Crime?
‘Juvenile delinquency’ refers to antisocial or illegal behavior by children. So, the juvenile delinquency is the term used for offenses committed by children under a particular age limit. According to the Children Act, 1974, the age limit of children is 16 years in Bangladesh. But in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), 1989 ‘juvenile’ refers to a person under the age of 18 years. So, children’s laws and policies in Bangladesh are not consistent with UNCRC. The definition of a child or a juvenile is not uniform in the laws of Bangladesh. Different
Legislations provide different age limits for the delinquents but all of them are within 12 to 18 years of age.
Juvenile delinquency in Bangladesh:
Juvenile delinquency simply means the offence committed by youthful offenders under a particular age limit and for Bangladesh; all offenders who are under 18 years old will be treated as Juvenile delinquents. But, there is no criminal liability for a child under the age of 9.
Juvenile Delinquency is one of the serious problems of mass society .It is almost an outcome of rapid urbanization and industrialization of modern times. This has almost become a universal problem in most of the industrialized countries including India & Bangladesh. Before proceeding further it is necessary to understand what Juvenile Delinquency is.
Delinquency is a kind of abnormality. When an individual deviates from the course of normal social life, his behavior is called Delinquency. When a juvenile, below an age specified under a statute exhibits behavior which may prove too dangerous to society or to himself he be called a Juvenile Delinquency.
The second United National Congress on the prevention of the prevention of crime and treatment of offenders (1960) states, “By Juvenile Delinquency should be understood the commission of an act which is committed by an adult, would be considered a crime”.
In Bangladesh, we have not experienced any counter youth culture like Teds, Mods, Rock’n’ Roll, Hippy or Punk of Britain or any young gang culture of the U.S.A. outraging moral and social concern. But the process of urbanization (which started from the 1960s), migration from village to city (which started on a large scale from 1980s), vulnerable economic condition and the impact of globalization caused social transformation, though slow, of Bangladesh. The large joint families started to break into segments and single parent family begun to get prominence. Economic deprivation, unemployment, poverty, flimsy family ties, media influence and criminalized politics made a fertile ground for increased rate of juvenile delinquency.
There are three correctional centers in Bangladesh for rectification and rehabilitation of juveniles. Two (one is in Tongi, and another in Jessore) for male child, and one (it is in Kunapara) for a female child. Two categories of children are kept their first category constitutes of uncontrollable children and referred by parents and second category comes to the correction centers after committing offenses and referred by the courts.
In simple words, it can be said that Juvenile Delinquency is a type of abnormal or anti-social behavior with a juvenile who is below an age specified by statute. Each country has its own precise definition of the age range covered by the world juvenile. India & Bangladesh it is 16 years up.
- What are the major causes of juvenile delinquency?
Poor School Attendance
Poor school attendance is one of the top factors contributing to delinquency. School is not only a place to learn and grow; it is also a structured routine that provides children with a goal to accomplish each day.
The routine of getting up, getting prepared, attending school, completing the work, and returning home each day establishes a routine that is a basis for good choices in the future.
Children who are not encouraged to learn this type of routine are losing out on establishing good habits. They are also experiencing a lot of free time that can be used to “learn” about other things that will not enhance their lives or their futures.
Failure to accept the routine of attending school actually instills in children that they do not have to comply with societal norms and that they can do as they please.
Poor Educational Standards
The type of school that a child attends may also contribute to their delinquency. Overcrowded and underfunded schools tend to lack discipline and order.
The chaos often experienced in these schools lead children to act more defensively because they are scared by their surroundings.
Parental involvement in school work and school based activities has been found to be a very large deterrent for delinquent activities.
When an adult is active in the lives of a child, that child is more prone to perform well in school and social surroundings because they know that the adult will see their actions.
Violence in The Home
One of the largest contributing factors to delinquency is violence in the home. Every Tulsa juvenile criminal defense attorney will tell you that when a child is subjected to violence, they are in turn violent people.
Lashing out at others for the violence they experience at home is very common.
Teens subjected to violent actions, or those who witness it to others, are more likely to act ut their fears and frustrations. They often have a “don’t care” attitude and this allows them to get into trouble more easily.
Violence in Their Social Circles
If the neighborhood is in which a child lives is violent, the children will have a tendency to be more prone to delinquency.
Many people describe this as street survival methods because the child gets into trouble as a way to stay out of trouble from area gang members or violent people. In many cases, when you remove the child from this type of situation, their tendency for delinquent actions is removed.
Similar to neighborhood pressures, peer pressure from direct acquaintances can have an effect on how a juvenile reacts to bad situations. If all of their friends are committing delinquent acts, the child may feel pressured to do the same to be accepted.
The best way to avoid this type of situation is to be actively involved with who your child is hanging out with on a regular basis. Know their friends. Know about their friends’ parents. This not only instills confidence in your child to do the right thing, but it can also help parents keep their children away from bad influences.
Juvenile delinquency is more common in poorer neighborhoods. While all neighborhoods are not exempt from delinquent activities, it is believed they happen more in areas where children feel they must commit crimes to prosper.
Theft and similar crimes may actually be a result of necessity and not that of just a petty crime. The only true help for this situation is to make sure that children in these areas have access to what they need and understand that they do not have to commit a crime to get ahead in life.
Substance abuse in a home or by the child is a very common cause for delinquency. Children who are exposed to substance abuse often do not have the necessities they need to thrive and are forced to find these necessities in other ways. Others, who become dependent on a substance, may also need to commit crimes to sustain their habit.
Counseling and treatment for this type of situation is the only real remedy to help these children. This type of situation can cause their self-worth to deteriorate and allow them to commit acts that they would not otherwise have considered.
Lack of Moral Guidance
Parental or adult influence is the most important factor in deterring delinquency. When a parent or other adult interacts with the child and shows them what is acceptable behavior and what is considered wrong, the child is more likely to act in a way that is not delinquent.
It is very important for a child to have a bond with a good adult who will influence their actions and show them the difference between what is right and what is wrong.
Even if your child has committed an act of delinquency, their lives are not over. You, as their caregiver have the chance to turn around their lives and show them how to change their ways.
It starts with hiring a quality Tulsa juvenile criminal defense attorney so that they can receive a fair trial. Once they have gone through this process, as a caregiver, you can begin to change the influences in the child’s life so that they can start fresh and go into adulthood with a clean slate.
Some effects and consequence of juvenile delinquency
Effects on the Victims
The most obvious people affected by juvenile delinquency are the victims. Whether the crime involves theft, vandalism, or violence, the victim always suffers loss. The victim may incur expenses related to lost wages, health care, or psychological care in addition to the cost of replacing damaged or destroyed items.
Effects on the Juvenile Delinquent
The juvenile who commits a crime also suffers effects that he or she is probably unable to predict. He or she may lose his or her freedom while being incarcerated or placed on probation. The juvenile may lose ground academically as well. Although placement in residential detention centers for juveniles may be appropriate consequences for the adolescent’s criminal actions, it also puts him or her in relationships with other delinquents, who may be more sophisticated or influential. This makes recidivism likely and, in many states, when a juvenile older than 14 becomes a repeat offender, he or she can be tried and sentenced as an adult. The delinquency may even have future consequences on the adolescent’s college and career choices.
Effects on the Families
The upheaval and trauma of having a family member who is a juvenile delinquent can create instability for the other relatives. Not only does the family have to cope with the needs of the child who is in trouble, but they may also have to raise large amounts of money to pay for lawyers. In addition, the family has to face the ethical issues of responsibility to the victims of the child’s crime. Families must usually attend group counseling sessions, which can be disruptive and costly during the time when the child is in detention or on probation.
Effects on the Community
There is a correlation between juvenile delinquency and drug use, gang involvement, alcohol abuse, and sexual behavior. All of these issues challenge communities by making neighborhoods unsafe and costing large amounts of public money to be spent on law enforcement and school safety.
Effects on Society
Young people who commit serious crimes before they are 18 years old challenge the future for everyone involved. They may be acting out to protest perceived abuses that have been perpetrated against them. They may believe that there is no future for them outside of a life of crime. They may be expressing anger or frustration directed against another person or group or looking for approval from a gang. Whatever the motive, juvenile delinquency affects too many American individuals, families, and communities. It is a serious problem that challenges the efforts of government agencies, politicians, educators, faith communities, and nonprofit organizations alike.
- Who involved and why in Juvenile Delinquency?
Organized crime groups in Bangladesh hire street children to conduct serious crimes. They carry weapons, sell drugs, collect extortion money and commit political violence. Some young people are involved in land grabbing and even contract killings. The children and juveniles concerned should be considered illicit child laborers since they are neither entirely innocent victims nor full-blown criminals. More should be done to protect their rights and to halt the spread of organized crime.
The Seattle study found that children and youth are two to four times more likely to join gangs if they are affected by these factors 3. Youth at risk or already involved in gangs tend to be from groups that suffer from the greatest levels of inequality and social disadvantage.
Linking School Performance and Delinquency
A great deal of scientific research examines the relationship between poor school performance and delinquency. The direction of the causal link between education and juvenile delinquency is fundamentally complex. Early aggressive behavior may lead to difficulties in the classroom. Such difficulties, in turn, may result in a child’s receiving
unfavorable evaluations from teachers or peers. These, in turn, might result in delinquency. Equally, delinquency could be another manifestation of whatever characteristics got the child into trouble with school authorities in the first place.
Bangladesh, street children in a railway station in Dhaka
A group of street children in a railway station in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bangladesh has an estimated number of above 670,000 street children. Many of the street children in Dhaka are orphans or they left their family in rural areas because of poverty. When they grow up they probably work as a porter on the market or as rickshaw drivers.
Juvenile Delinquency through the Lens of Bangladesh:
Police Document from the magazine
Law enforcement agency members often express their concern as they have found that a number of such teen gangs exist in different areas of the capital including Uttara, Dakshinkhan, Old Dhaka, Dhanmondi, Hatirjheel and Khilgaon along with other parts of the country. Sometimes law enforcement agencies arrested some of the gang members, but the teenagers again got involved in crimes after their release from the jail in bail. Thus the importance of uprooting the core of the problem should be given priority.
Taking advantage of the psychology of the adolescents a group of people, particularly a section of local political activists, use them to seal their benefits. Muscle power is an essential feature of our filthy practice of political conflicts. Political activists aim to create an impression before their leaders by spreading their influence. They control their respective areas by patronising these teenage gangs. Besides backing the teenagers, they start providing different unethical facilities to them. The most common item that the godfathers use to draw attention to the adolescents is drug as the curious teenagers easily get attracted to it. But the real problem starts when they become addicted. Then these teenagers desperately trying to collect money to buy drugs. Realising their situation the opportunist groups employ them in criminal activities and use them as drug trafficker.
All the above discussion it can be said that delinquency is an ongoing problem in today’s society, there needs to be more programs created in order to correct this issue. While there are many agencies already established that could help to prevent or correct delinquency, there can be some additions to the system.
Author- Ericsson peris
Notre dame university Bangladesh
Member of ‘ARE Writers Community’
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