“All kids need is a little help, a little hope and somebody who believes in them.”
Juvenile delinquency is a serious problem and it is detrimental for the social order of nation. This problem is viewed as a socio-legal category invented in conjunction with the juvenile court; as a label applied to youth at the end of a chain of decisions involving the police, public and juvenile court officials and as form of behavior that violates legal codes, regardless of its detection or processing. The analysis of statistical data available at official sites shows increasing interest and involvement of juveniles in heinous crimes. Juvenile crimes have become such a common problem and they raise serious concern day by day. Those children who are involved in such crimes all over the world develop different rate of crime and world-view. With the time they increased their ability to think, develop their own views about the problems arising in their life. There is also a tendency of making comparison and there is complex in their mind. The problems arise when juveniles develop delinquent tendencies and having conflict with laws.
Our children being an important asset, every effort should be made to provide them equal opportunities for development so that they become robust citizens physically fit, mentally alert and morally healthy endowed with the skills and motivations needed by society.
JUVENILE DELINQUENCY – What it means?
Etimologically, the term ‘delinquency’ has been derived from the Latin word delinquer which means ‘to omit’. The Romans used the term to refer to the failure of a person to perform the assigned task or duty. It was William Coxson who in 1484 used the term ‘delinquent’ to describe a person found guilty of customary offence. The word also found place in Shakespearean famous play ‘Macbeth’ in 1605. In simpler words it may be said that delinquency is a form of behaviour or rather misbehaviour or deviation from the generally accepted norms of conduct in the society.
The early penology did not recognize any discrimination between adult and juvenile offenders so far punishment was concerned. The problem of juvenile delinquency is therefore, essentially of a recent origin. The youngsters between a certain age-group are easily attracted to the temptations of life and lend into criminality. As is often said, the child of today is the citizen of tomorrow. The criminal tendency in youngsters must therefore, be timely curbed so that they do not turn into habitual criminals in their future life. It is with this end in view that most countries are presently tackling the problem of juvenile delinquency on priority basis. Many of them established separate juvenile courts to deal with young offenders and the procedure adopted in these courts radically differs from that of regular trial courts. In India, special provisions providing for the care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of neglected or delinquent juveniles and their trial and disposition are enacted under the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (Section 6 of 2000) which are uniformly applicable throughout the country excepting the State of Jammu & Kashmir and rules under the Act enacted to be known as the Juvenile Justice Rules, 2007 which came into force w.e.f. October 26, 2007.
Causes of Juvenile Delinquency :
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. Children 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 child 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 their friends parents. This not only instills confidence in your child to do the right thing, it can 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 care giver 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 care giver, 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.
Justifications which the Juvenile may advance against their delinquent Act-David Matza (UK). in his theory of delinquency has attributed the following justifications or excuses which the juveniles very often advance to explain or neutralize their criminal activity.
They usually deny responsibility by claiming that the act was a result of uncontrollable passion, accident, poverty or parental neglect etc.
The delinquent may take the plea that no one is actually harmed, either physically or financially by his criminal act. Those indulging in alcoholism, drug-trafficking, vagrancy etc. It may justify their act on this ground. They may even perceive it as an act being done for their victim’s good.
He may claim that the victim was also criminal and therefore, he should not complain or that the victim was the first to start trouble, hence, he has no moral justification to attribute criminality to the delinquent. For example, in the case of sex-offence, the delinquent may allege that it was the victim who initiated the cause or in case of domestic violence, that the victim deserved the violence because he or she had misbehaved.
The juvenile offender might claim that since everyone has at sometime or other committed a criminal act, hence no one has a moral justification to blame or condemn him.
The approval of the gang or group or criminal organization may be more important to the delinquent than that of his family or society and he may justify his criminal act on that ground. This is generally true with juveniles associated with criminal gangs whose loyalty they consider more important than that of their own family members.
Juvenile delinquency in other countries
The problem of juvenile delinquency still remains a paradox despite unbridled efforts on the part of penologist to curb this menace. Several causes such as slum-dwelling, poverty, neglect or partiality by parents towards their children. Lack of parental care and social security may be attributed to the unprecedented increase in juvenile delinquency. The situation in European countries in this regard is, however, not so alarming as in United States where the problem has touched its climax in recent years. Ms. Sophia M. Robinson in her learned article entitled “Why Juvenile Delinquency Programmes are Ineffective” has aptly pinpointed the cause of the failure of preventive efforts in suppressing juvenile delinquency in United States.
Norway – In Norway, the criminal cases of young offenders between the age group of 14-18 are referred to the Municipal Juvenile Welfare Committee consisting of 5 members. This committee functions to suggest adequate measures with regard to juvenile delinquents. The enactment of Child Welfare Act,1953. However, provides the delinquent child should be allowed to stay at home and the Juvenile Welfare Committee should take preventive steps by visiting the delinquent’s home at frequent intervals and suggest effective measures to keep the offenders away from criminality. There is greater emphasis on medico-psychological method of treatment of young delinquents in recent years.
Turkey- Turkey has shown keen interest in juvenile justice. Even though rate of juvenile delinquency is not high, slightest rise in child delinquency excites concern in that country because of the stronghold of the family institutions.
The eminent Turkish scholar Nephan Saran dealt with socio-cultural pecularities of the children under 18 years of age who were involved with the police of Istanbul during 1956-1968. He observed that theft, sexual offences, violence, smuggling and pick pocketing were the most prevalent crimes and delinquency was concentrated in the age group of 16-18 years. The main causes of the delinquency were crowded families, unemployment, poor housing and culture conflict.
International Concern for Juvenile Justice
The immensity of the problem of juvenile delinquency has been engaging the attention of penologists at international level also. The International Penal and Penitentiary Commission worked successfully on the prevention of crime and treatment of offenders until October 1951 and repeatedly stressed on the necessity of rationale and humane treatment methods which could be avoid the need of keeping juvenile offenders in prison in order to disassociate them from the criminal world.
The pressing problems of juvenile delinquency in developed and the developing countries drew attention of the United Nations to work out some guiding principles for Juvenile Justice System. The United Nations Asia and Far East Institution made significant contribution in this behalf as a result of which the 7th U.N. Congress on Prevention of Crime & Treatment of offenders adopted, in September 1985.
India being a U.N. member has responded favourably to this call of the international body and enacted a comprehensive law on the subject called the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986.13.5
Juvenile Justice in India
Available statistics on juvenile delinquency in India reveal that the problem is not as tense in the western world. This may be due to variations in living conditions such as greater family affiliations and parental control, stronghold of religious convictions and due regard for moral precepts in Indian society. This is not to suggest that the proportion of juvenile delinquency in India is negligible. The impact of western civilization and temptation for luxuries and pompous life has greatly disturbed the modern Indian youth. Consequently, there has been a considerable growth in crimes committed by juveniles. India like other country, also seeks to tackle the problem of juvenile delinquency on the basis of three fundamental assumptions:
- Young offenders should not be tried, they should rather be corrected;
- They should not be punished but reformed;
- Exclusion of delinquents i.e. children in conflict with law from the ambit of Court and stress on their non-penal treatment through community based social control agencies such a Juvenile Justice Board, Observation Homes, Special Homes etc.
The Indian law contains a more precise and clear-cut definition of juvenile delinquency. It provides that any violation of existing penal law of the country committed by a child under 18 years, shall be an act in conflict with law for the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Justice Board.