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Juvenile delinquency—negative behaviors of children and teens that may result in crimes or legal action—frequently causes widespread problems in communities. RAND's research on juvenile delinquency includes populations from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and features studies related to crime and juvenile justice, at-risk populations, violence, bullying, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and adolescent mental health.

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Research Brief

As Youthful Arrests Spike, Their Consequences Rise, Too

Americans ages 26 to 35 are 3.6 times more likely to have been arrested by age 26 than those who are at least age 66. The consequences may be serious and lasting for these young people—and for the nation.

Jul 19, 2019

African American teacher helping high school student in the classroom

Journal Article

To Educate or to Incarcerate: Examining Disparities in School Discipline

Several factors contribute to disparities in office referral, suspension, and expulsion in high schools. Helping students engage in school may protect against disproportionate school discipline.

Sep 30, 2016

Explore Juvenile Delinquency

Promising Services for Justice-Involved Youth: A Scoping Review with Implications for the Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act

The authors of this report provide a review of the literature that evaluates programs for youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system to identify promising and effective practices, describing implications for Los Angeles County.

Jan 5, 2023

Class 2-2021 of the West Virginia National Guard’s Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy

National Guard Youth ChalleNGe: Program Progress in 2020–2021

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program serves young people experiencing difficulty in traditional high school. This report documents program trends in 2020–2021 and presents analyses on the Job ChalleNGe program.

Aug 22, 2022

A Gap Analysis of the Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act Portfolio

This report presents findings from a gap analysis, which examined the extent to which best practices for juvenile justice systems are considered in funding decisions for Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act–funded programs in Los Angeles County.

Jan 4, 2022

An instructor in a classroom helps students with questions

Examining Career and Technical Education in National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Programs

The authors examined career and technical education opportunities for participants in the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program, a residential, quasi-military program for youth ages 16-18 who are experiencing difficulty in traditional high school.

Apr 12, 2021

National Guard Youth ChalleNGe: Program Progress in 2019–2020

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program serves young people experiencing difficulty in traditional high school through a 5.5-month residential program. The authors of this report document the progress of program participants in 2019 and 2020.

Mar 15, 2021

National Guard Youth ChalleNGe: Program Progress in 2018–2019

In the fourth annual report on the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe, a residential, quasi-military program for youth struggling in traditional high school, researchers provide information on participants who entered the program in 2018.

Nov 6, 2020

Evaluation of a Trauma-Informed Program for Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth: The Pilot Program at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center

In this report, the authors present the results of a process and outcome evaluation of a trauma-informed pilot program run by the Colorado Division of Youth Services (DYS) in one of their residential youth facilities.

Jan 30, 2020

Process Evaluation of AssetPlus

A process evaluation of the roll-out of AssetPlus (assessment and planning framework used by youth offending teams) in England and Wales. Practitioners supported the ideas behind AssetPlus but faced challenges with easy use and information-sharing.

Dec 18, 2019

Cadets from Class 18-2 at the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy work on assignments during one of their classes in Pierce, Idaho on Sept. 10, 2018, photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/U.S. Air National Guard

National Guard Youth ChalleNGe: Program Progress in 2017–2018

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program is a residential, quasi-military program for youth ages 16 to 18 who are experiencing difficulty in traditional high school. An ongoing program analysis seeks to understand how the achievements of ChalleNGe graduates compare to similar youth who do not participate in the program.

Oct 15, 2019

RAND Weekly Recap

Boris Johnson, Teacher Training, Youth Arrests: RAND Weekly Recap

This weekly recap focuses on Boris Johnson's Brexit challenge, how educators feel about their training programs, a spike in youth arrests, and more.

Jul 26, 2019

RAND Weekly Recap

Trump-Kim Summit, Climate Change, Zarif: RAND Weekly Recap

This weekly recap focuses on the Trump-Kim summit, how cities can prepare for climate change, Mohammad Javad Zarif's resignation, and more.

Mar 1, 2019

Teenager in handcuffs against a car, photo by kali9/Getty Images

News Release

Younger Americans Much More Likely to Have Been Arrested Than Previous Generations; Increase Is Largest Among Whites and Women

Americans under the age of 26 are much more likely to have been arrested than Americans born in previous decades, with the increase in arrest rates occurring most rapidly among white Americans and women. The rising rate of arrests and convictions is associated with a variety of negative ramifications.

Feb 25, 2019

Pittsburgh Police stand with a group of Pitt students

Helping Police Find Better Strategies to Fight Crime

Which policing strategies are the most effective? A new RAND toolkit aims to help law enforcement agencies identify the best approach for the situation, and the key steps to success.

Dec 14, 2018

National Guard Youth ChalleNGe: Program Progress in 2016–2017

This report presents information on recent participants of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe, a quasi-military program for young people lacking a high school diploma. It also documents program progress in academics, fitness, and other areas.

Aug 20, 2018

The Long-Term Economic Impact of Criminalization in American Childhoods

In this article, I document some salient and disturbing trends concerning the interaction of American youth with the criminal justice system based on a module I recently added to the PSID.

Aug 17, 2018

Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act: Fiscal Year 2016–2017 Report

This annual report to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors evaluates the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act, which offers programs to high-need juvenile probationers and at-risk youths.

Aug 8, 2018

Classroom behind bars

Education for Incarcerated Juveniles: A Meta-Analysis

Though the evidence base about what works in juvenile correctional education remains incomplete, the existing research does suggest promising directions for future programmatic investments.

Jul 3, 2018

Phillips County courthouse in Helena, Arkansas

Leveraging Research and Philanthropy to Reduce Crime and Violence in the Mississippi Delta

The crime and violence rates in the two most populous cities in the Mississippi Delta region are significantly higher than in their surrounding areas. How are foundations funding crime and violence reduction in these areas?

Jun 29, 2018

School-Based Interventions for Reducing Disciplinary School Exclusion

The evidence suggests that school-based interventions are effective at reducing school exclusion immediately after, and for a few months after, the intervention.

Mar 15, 2018

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Research & Statistics

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) supports high-quality, rigorous research, evaluations, and statistical analyses across a range of juvenile justice topic areas. These activities are central to OJJDP's mission to prevent and respond to youth delinquency and victimization.

OJJDP’s research provides information about the risk and protective factors that contribute to or deter youth’s involvement in juvenile justice systems. It also helps the field understand adolescent behaviors, system responses, and the interventions that are most likely to promote positive youth outcomes.

OJJDP uses this information to prioritize issues, guide the development of policies and programs, and inform training and technical assistance. OJJDP also uses the latest tools and resources to disseminate juvenile justice data, statistics, and research findings and make these findings more accessible and applicable to local needs and issues.

OJJDP Model Programs Guide

Looking for what works?

Visit OJJDP's Model Programs Guide (MPG) for evidence-based program, literature reviews, implementation guides, topical summaries, and more.

OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book

Seeking statistics?

Access the Statistical Briefing Book (SBB) for juvenile justice information and learn more about youth involved in juvenile justice systems.

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Guidance for OJJDP Research Grantees

OJJDP awards that include research activities and those made under solicitations funded with OJJDP research funds have additional research-specific special conditions and grant requirements.

Research grantees should work with their assigned program manager on specific questions. The OJJDP Research Grantee Guidance web page outlines the general policies and procedures of those conditions.

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National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Institute of Justice, and OJJDP sponsor the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD).

NACJD facilitates research in criminal and juvenile justice through the preservation, enhancement, and sharing of computerized data resources; through the production of original research based on archived data; and through specialized training workshops in quantitative analysis of crime and justice data.

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DOJ and OJJDP priorities guide the research, including:

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Mentoring Programs for Youth: A Promising Intervention for Delinquency Prevention

National Institute of Justice Journal

Mentoring programs are a prominent strategy in the United States for preventing negative outcomes and promoting resilience among at-risk youth. [1] Although diverse in their design and implementation, mentoring programs share a common aim of providing young people with structured support from older or more experienced people, such as adult volunteers or students at higher grade levels.

These programs date back to initiatives in the early 20th century that sought to engage men from local communities to be positive role models for boys from disadvantaged life circumstances and, in doing so, stem the tide of young males becoming involved in the justice system. [2] Today’s mentoring programs serve a wide range of age groups — from young children to older adolescents — and populations with diverse needs and risk factors — from poverty and neighborhood disadvantage to specific vulnerabilities such as disability, mental health challenges, or experiences of commercial sexual exploitation. Current program models and approaches differ according to the age of the mentor (e.g., older peers vs. adults), whether mentors are volunteers or paid staff, format (e.g., one-to-one vs. group), and location (e.g., school vs. community). Some programs focus on delinquency prevention while others promote mental health and academic achievement.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is the largest federal funder of mentoring programs and awarded nearly $1 billion in grants to mentoring organizations from fiscal year (FY) 2008 to FY 2019. Between FY 2017 and the first half of FY 2019, OJJDP-funded programs recruited 95,000 new mentors and served more than 600,000 youth nationwide. [3]

For such a large and broad investment portfolio to yield the desired results, it must be informed by rigorous and actionable research. This includes identifying ways to enhance program effectiveness [4] and, in doing so, minimize the risk of unintended harm to any participating youth. [5] It is equally important, however, to use research to advance understanding of how to implement effective programs with sufficient scale and reach to make a measurable difference in delinquent behavior, juvenile arrest rates, victimization, and other outcomes at a community, state, regional, or national level. [6]

This article takes stock of the current state of mentoring research on program effectiveness and population-level impact. Each section reviews the research to date, notes key challenges and remaining questions, and highlights promising directions for addressing limitations in the current evidence base.

Mentoring Program Effectiveness

There is ample evidence that mentoring programs have the potential to contribute to positive outcomes for at-risk youth across a variety of demographic groups (e.g., age, gender, race/ethnicity) and program approaches, including cross-age peer, one-to-one, group, and both school- and community-based. [7] Studies find, in particular, that connecting youth to mentoring programs is a viable strategy for both preventing and reducing delinquent behavior. [8] In line with this research, CrimeSolutions — an initiative of the National Institute of Justice that reviews justice-related practices and programs for evidence of their effectiveness — has rated mentoring as “effective” for “reducing delinquency outcomes.” [9] CrimeSolutions has also rated several specific mentoring programs aimed at preventing delinquency or reducing recidivism for those with justice system involvement as “promising” or “effective.” These include, for example, Reading for Life, a group mentoring program that uses works of literature to facilitate moral development and character education as an alternative to court prosecution for juveniles who have been adjudicated for their first or second time. A randomized controlled trial found statistically significant declines in rates of rearrest and number of arrests for a two-year period following program participation, with these impacts most evident for relatively serious felony offenses compared to misdemeanors. [10]

Research suggests that the effectiveness of mentoring programs tends to be enhanced by practices that are directed toward training and supporting mentors, as well as implementation of programs with fidelity. [11] Furthermore, a strong emotional bond with one’s mentor and related interpersonal experiences (e.g., when youth develop a sense that they matter) have emerged as important mechanisms through which mentoring relationships can promote positive outcomes, [12] including prevention of delinquent behavior. [13]

Conversely, findings also indicate a potential for program participation to be harmful under various conditions, such as when mentoring relationships end prematurely [14] or mentors fail to follow through on basic expectations for maintaining contact with youth. [15] Of particular relevance to delinquency prevention, one study found that participation in a mentoring program was associated with increased involvement in criminal behavior among youth who did not have significant prior arrest histories and who, due to the nature of the program, were exposed to youth who had been arrested. [16] Thus, even though mentoring programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters have been recommended as a way to minimize opportunities for peer contagion and deviancy training (e.g., peers modeling and rewarding deviant behavior), [17] they are not immune to this risk when they incorporate opportunities for peer interaction.

Challenges and Unanswered Questions on Mentoring Program Effectiveness

Despite significant research on youth mentoring to date, a number of challenges and unanswered questions remain. One is how to account for the substantial variability in the effectiveness of programs that have received rigorous evaluation. [18] CrimeSolutions has reviewed and rated 55 programs that involve mentoring. Of these, nearly one-third (17) have a rating of “no effects”; the remainder are rated as either “promising” (30) or “effective” (8). Because a program must be implemented with fidelity to receive a rating, differences in the extent or quality of implementation are unlikely to fully account for this wide variation.

A second and related challenge is that efforts to incorporate new practices or activities into programs to help increase effectiveness have had limited success. A recent OJJDP-funded review of mentoring research looked at several studies that used randomized controlled designs to examine the effects of hypothesized enhancements to mentoring programs in areas such as mentor training, mentor-youth activities, staff support, and supervision of mentoring relationships. For the most part, the findings failed to reveal significant differences in youth outcomes based on whether they and their mentors had been selected to receive the new practices. [19] These results are concerning, in part, because most mentoring programs, even when demonstrating effectiveness, have been associated with only modest improvements in youth outcomes. [20]

Another challenge is the need for a deeper and more complete understanding of the specific mechanisms through which mentoring relationships influence youth outcomes in areas such as delinquent behavior. Both the lack of well-developed theories of change in the design and description of mentoring programs and the lack of measurement and analysis of potential mediators of outcomes have contributed to this limitation in the current knowledge base. [21] Research that illuminates the “black box problem” of what happens in mentoring relationships is likely to be key for better delineating sources of variation in youth outcomes within and across mentoring programs and then designing innovations that improve effectiveness. [22]

A final challenge worthy of note is that most research on mentoring programs to date focuses on their relatively immediate effects on the outcomes of participating youth. [23] Particularly striking is the limited investigation of the ability of programs to produce sustained, long-term effects on educational attainment, employment, arrests during adulthood, and other key outcomes. [24] Evidence that program effects can decay rapidly following program participation [25] underscores the need for greater understanding of this issue.

Conversely, many programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters have open-ended time frames for participation (e.g., until youth reach age 18) but have been evaluated largely with respect to only brief durations of involvement (e.g., one year). This limits our understanding of the effects that may accrue as youth receive “full doses” of mentoring over more extended periods of their development.

Promising Directions for Mentoring Program Effectiveness

Recent research provides promising directions for addressing these limitations in the knowledge base. One is to use evaluation to inform modifications to programs that have, in turn, resulted in greater evidence of their effectiveness. [26]

This potential avenue for strengthening mentoring programs is illustrated by recent research on the Quantum Opportunities program of the Eisenhower Foundation, an intensive, year-round, multicomponent intervention for high-risk minority high school students from inner-city neighborhoods. Youth receive both individual and group mentoring from paid staff. Following an initial evaluation that yielded mixed results, a randomized controlled evaluation of a subsequent iteration of the program found that participants had significantly higher grade point averages, high school graduation rates, and college acceptance rates. [27] For example, approximately 76% of program youth graduated from high school, compared with 40% of control youth. The stronger results were attributed, in part, to modifications made to the program, including a new “Deep Mentoring” training curriculum for staff that fosters more intensive and longer-lasting mentoring relationships with participating youth. The training includes an emphasis on mentors serving as advocates for youth — visiting their homes to discuss problems and find solutions, attending parent-teacher conferences, and standing in for parents when needed, for example.

Relative to the research referenced earlier, which tested potential improvements to mentoring programs with largely disappointing results, examples such as this point to a program-specific, data-driven, and iterative approach as more promising for increasing impacts on youth outcomes. This idea is well aligned with the tremendous diversity that exists across mentoring programs, both in their target populations and core models — a reality that makes one-size-fits-all enhancements seem unlikely.

At the same time, notable progress has been made in delineating broader avenues for strengthening programs. Two meta-analyses have identified significant trends toward greater effectiveness for programs that feature support for mentors to provide youth with intentional teaching or guidance as well as advocacy. [28] These findings stand somewhat in contrast to earlier research that pointed to the potential for overly directive, prescriptive mentoring approaches to conflict with youths’ developmental needs for autonomy and constrain opportunities for emotional bonding between mentors and youth. [29] They also run counter to an emphasis in many programs (particularly those using volunteers) on the need for firm boundaries in mentor-youth relationships, presumably to minimize any risk of harm to participating youth. [30]

Further study is needed to understand the conditions under which supporting more encompassing and directive roles for mentors helps avoid pitfalls and improve outcomes. Tasking mentors with highly structured, curriculum-based approaches to guidance, for example, has not been associated with greater effectiveness, [31] suggesting the need for more nuanced and flexible ways of incorporating a teaching role. Recent advances in measuring the distinct processes involved in mentoring relationships offer a promising direction for helping to answer these questions. [32] Researchers, for example, recently reported initial validation research on measuring five mentoring intervention processes: identification with the mentor, social and emotional support, teaching and education, advocacy, and shared time and activity. [33] Examining these processes in relation to youth outcomes could be highly informative in the design and ongoing development of mentoring programs.

Finally, evaluations have emerged that examine the longer-term effects of mentoring on outcomes extending into adulthood. On the whole, the findings provide intriguing preliminary evidence that mentoring received through a program during childhood or adolescence can indeed foster improved functioning at least into early adulthood. [34] One study, for example, recently reported that elementary and high school students randomly assigned to receive school-based mentoring, combined with case management through Communities in Schools (CIS), had fewer arrests in adulthood and, among females, were more likely to attend post-secondary education compared to those receiving CIS case management alone. [35] Meanwhile, a follow-up study of participants in a randomized controlled trial of the Youth Nominated Support Team-Version II (YNST-II) intervention — which helps adults from family, school, and neighborhood or other community settings provide support to suicidal youth following psychiatric care — found that those in the program had significantly lower rates of overall mortality, as well as deaths due to suicide or drugs, at follow-up 11 to 14 years after receiving the program. [36] It is notable that the longer-term impacts of these two programs are evident despite limited evidence of their effectiveness when evaluating outcomes closer to the time of program participation. (The YNST-II program’s rating in CrimeSolutions has changed from “no effects” to “promising” based on the results of the follow-up study.) This pattern of results supports the idea that it can be important to examine the implications of mentoring program participation for later life outcomes, even when evidence of effects on more immediate outcomes is limited.

Scale and Population-Level Impact

It is critically important to consider the extent to which mentoring programs are reaching the youth who stand most to benefit from them, as well as the factors that may be inhibiting achievement of this goal.

Based on a 2013 survey of a nationally representative sample of youth between ages 18 and 21, researchers estimated that of the approximately 24 million at-risk young people, 15 million will have had an adult mentor at one or more points between ages 8 and 18. Structured mentoring relationships — that is, those established through programs — were substantially less common than informal mentoring ties with individuals such as neighbors or teachers. Nineteen percent of the surveyed youth reported having had a structured mentoring relationship, and 44% reported having had only an informal mentor. [37] The greater the number of risk factors reported, the more likely respondents were to recall a time when they did not have, but wished they had, an adult mentor (43% of those with two or more risk factors compared with 22% with no risk factors).

A recent national survey of mentoring programs [38] found that mentor recruitment was the most commonly reported challenge faced by programs (47%). More than 1 in 4 programs (28%) also reported program growth and sustainability as challenges. On average, programs reported that more than 50 youth were waiting to be matched with mentors, which is significant given that the average program served approximately 250 youth. Boys referred to programs were particularly likely to be on a waitlist and to have relatively long waits, with nearly half of programs reporting an average wait time of more than four months for boys. [39]

For youth involved in the juvenile justice system, the reach of mentoring programs has been limited. [40] A national study funded by OJJDP found that only about 6 in 10 juvenile justice settings provided mentoring to youth through their own embedded programs or services or referred youth to external mentoring programs. [41] Among the settings that did not use or refer youth to mentoring, the most common barrier cited (51%) was a lack of access to mentoring programs. Furthermore, more than one-third (39%) of juvenile justice settings reported that one-quarter or fewer of the youth they referred to outside programs were ultimately matched with a mentor. In line with the challenge of mentor recruitment, mentoring programs most commonly cited lack of mentor availability as a barrier to providing services to referred youth (50%). A substantial portion (27%) also reported that refusal or lack of acceptance of the referral by the youth or family was an issue.

When gauging the potential of mentoring programs for population-level impact, it is important to consider whether programs can be effective when implemented widely throughout a community (e.g., in a school system) or nationally. Several multisite randomized controlled trial evaluations of mentoring programs have reported evidence of their ability to positively influence youth outcomes. These include the Big Brothers Big Sisters community- and school-based mentoring programs, [42] Friends of the Children, [43] and the National Guard Youth Challenge program. [44] It should be noted, however, that the results of these evaluations have been somewhat mixed. For example, the National Guard Youth Challenge evaluation reported impacts on outcomes such as receiving a high school degree, but not on justice outcomes such as arrest.

These types of studies often place restrictions on site eligibility in ways that may limit the generalizability of findings to the full population of youth served by the program across all sites nationally. For example, affiliate agencies for the Big Brothers Big Sisters school-based mentoring trial were required to have at least four years of experience delivering the program, strong agency leadership, and strong established relationships with participating schools. [45]

Challenges and Unanswered Questions on the Reach and Scale of Mentoring Programs

It is clear from existing research that mentor recruitment is a pervasive challenge that substantially limits the reach and scale of many mentoring programs. However, investigation of this problem — particularly the effectiveness of different recruitment strategies — is strikingly limited. The OJJDP-funded National Mentoring Resource Center reviewed research on the effectiveness of male mentor recruitment practices, for example, and identified only one study that met methodological criteria for rigor. [46]

A second key challenge is the unknown effectiveness of most of the mentoring programs that have successfully scaled up to a regional or national level and are thus serving the largest numbers of youth. Furthermore, as noted above, the demonstrated effectiveness of widely disseminated or scaled programs that have undergone rigorous evaluation is mixed. These studies have noted challenges with maintaining fidelity of implementation within and across sites, as is common with scaled-up programs. [47] The burgeoning field of implementation science [48] offers frameworks and methods for cultivating a deeper understanding of such issues and developing and testing approaches to address them. However, for the most part, implementation science has not been integrated into research on youth mentoring. The companion area of dissemination science [49] likewise provides an opportunity to explore conditions and strategies that can encourage broader uptake of mentoring programs that show robust evidence of efficacy when implemented on a smaller scale.

Promising Directions for the Reach and Scale of Mentoring Programs

Broadening the range of people who are engaged as mentors is one promising direction for increasing the reach of mentoring programs. Some programs use mentors whose backgrounds may not necessarily align with conventional views or criteria for mentor eligibility or appropriateness, but whose life experiences align with those of participating youth in ways that are thought to make them “credible messengers.” For example, the Arches Transformative Mentoring Program, a group mentoring program that seeks to reduce recidivism among youth on probation in New York City, often uses mentors who have been formerly involved in the justice system, are from the same neighborhood as participants, and have been recipients of similar types of programs or services. A quasi-experimental evaluation of the program found statistically significant reductions in felony reconvictions for program participants compared with comparison group youth at 24 months. [50] However, there were no statistically significant differences in arrests, felony arrests, or reconvictions.

A conceptually related approach involves engaging existing members of the youth’s social network — people who are already involved in his or her day-to-day life. The previously referenced Youth Nominated Support Team-Version II and National Guard Youth Challenge programs employ this strategy. Youth recruit mentors from their own social networks; specific socialization agents, such as teachers in the youth’s school [51] or coaches, [52] can also serve as mentors. Such programs provide a promising approach for expanding the pool of adults involved in mentoring youth by actively engaging those who might not otherwise be considered appropriate for the role or seek it on their own.

Some programs provide mentoring to all youth within a given setting (e.g., a school). Sources of Strength, for example, is a school-based suicide prevention program that uses youth opinion leaders from diverse social cliques to develop and deliver, with adult mentoring, messaging aimed at changing the norms and behaviors of their peers within the entire school population. A cluster-randomized trial [53] of the program involving 18 high schools found significant improvements in perceptions and behaviors pertaining to suicide and in social connectedness among students in program schools. [54] CrimeSolutions rates the program as “promising.” This type of “whole setting” approach has received only limited evaluation to date, and not all results have been clearly supportive. [55] Yet, in view of its potential to greatly increase the number of young people whom structured mentoring programs can reach, it is a strong candidate for further investigation.

Also notable is a promising strategy from the broader prevention field that involves using technical assistance to help communities select, implement, and sustain evidence-supported prevention and promotion programs that are matched to their local needs and resources. [56] Cluster-randomized trials of these approaches have indicated sustained positive effects on youth outcomes, such as violence-related behavior and substance misuse. [57] Applying these approaches to youth mentoring programs could encourage greater uptake of evidence-supported mentoring programs within communities and other settings (e.g., schools, juvenile justice systems), especially given the wide range of program parameters that must be considered and the reliance of programs on local resources (e.g., types of available mentors) in making these decisions.

Research and Practice Going Forward

To realize the potential of youth mentoring programs, we must advance the knowledge bases required for optimizing both program effectiveness and the capacity for achieving broad, population-level impacts.

Several topics stand out as worthy priorities in the area of effectiveness research. First, there needs to be more intensive investigation of the change mechanisms that are most important in driving youth outcomes. The National Institutes of Health recently established a funding priority for investigations of mechanisms of change based, in part, on the prospects that such studies could help unify research on behavior change strategies and better delineate key targets for intervention. [58] Extending this approach to youth mentoring research, including its applications to juvenile justice, holds similar promise and could be supported through more consistent measurement of common relationship processes in evaluation studies. [59]

Second, greater attention should be given to the ongoing development of mentoring programs to optimize their effectiveness. Iterative cycles of development, rigorous evaluation, and program refinement appear particularly promising in this regard. This type of research can help better delineate the outcomes and youth who are most likely to benefit from a given mentoring program. Clearly, no mentoring program will serve all purposes or benefit all youth. Greater understanding of which types of mentoring (e.g., one-to-one, group, or peer) are best suited for different purposes and youth would provide a valuable foundation of knowledge for research-informed matching of individual youth with specific programs.

Greater investigation of the longer-term effects of mentoring program participation also merits priority status. This is especially true given the research findings that suggest that some effects occur or continue several years after program participation on important justice-related outcomes. Data already collected in evaluations of shorter-term outcomes could be leveraged to extend the scope and examine program effects at later points in time in a relatively cost- and time-efficient manner. It is clear, furthermore, that this type of follow-up may be useful even when programs have demonstrated limited signs of initial effectiveness.

Advancing the knowledge base for population-level impact should include rigorous impact evaluations of mentoring programs currently being implemented at relatively large scale (e.g., on a regional or nationwide basis). To optimize generalizability of findings, these evaluations need to be designed with representativeness of program sites and participants in mind. Such studies also should carefully examine factors that facilitate or constrain implementation of key program components (e.g., mentor training) both across and within sites; this information can be leveraged to design approaches to improving the quality and consistency of delivery that then can be tested rigorously in the contexts of dissemination and scale-up.

Research that can help expand the reach of local programs also is needed. The relative efficacy of different strategies for recruiting mentors, especially those who are most often in short supply (e.g., males), is one area that is clearly ripe for investigation. Another is the development and evaluation of approaches for reaching larger numbers of youth, including using nontraditional mentors and infusing widely available opportunities for mentoring into sites such as schools and correctional settings.

The future directions of research are meaningful only if they can be applied to future practice decisions and programming structures. Research must not just explain what has been observed, but also provide a systematic and structured path to applying that information in the dynamic reality of everyday practice. In keeping with these considerations, it is important to bear in mind that advancing the foundations of knowledge required for program effectiveness and population-level impact — although discussed separately here — stand to be mutually informative and synergistic in ways that support effective translation of research into practice. Consider, for example, strategies for encouraging uptake within communities and other settings of evidence-supported mentoring programs that are tailored to their specific needs and resources. Such approaches offer the promise of increasing the dissemination and reach of programs, thus furthering their potential for broader impact. At the same time, the viability of this type of strategy clearly depends on continued investment in research on program effectiveness. This research will be vital for ensuring that a robust menu of options for evidence-supported mentoring programs exists for those working on the ground in communities to leverage mentoring as a strategy for addressing the needs of young people.

A final and related point to underscore is the field’s need for overarching initiatives and infrastructure to support mutually informing connections between research and practice. These connections are essential for translating research findings into practice — thus ensuring that new knowledge makes a meaningful difference. They are equally important for keeping research appropriately aligned with the most pressing needs of programs and the communities they serve, thereby avoiding gaps in areas of knowledge that are critical for supporting practice. To that end, the National Mentoring Resource Center, funded by OJJDP, has the goal of connecting research and practice through a variety of mechanisms, including reviews of the research evidence to support different program practices and a curated repository of resources that facilitates sharing of practitioner innovations.

For More Information

Visit the OJJDP-funded National Mentoring Resource Center for mentoring tools, program and training materials, and technical assistance.

About This Article

This article was published as part of NIJ Journal issue number 283 .

[note 1] David L. DuBois and Michael J. Karcher, “Youth Mentoring in Contemporary Perspective,” in Handbook of Youth Mentoring, ed. David L. DuBois and Michael J. Karcher, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2014), 3-13.

[note 2] David B. Baker and Colleen P. Maguire, “Mentoring in Histori­cal Perspective,” in Handbook of Youth Mentoring, ed. David L. DuBois and Michael J. Karcher (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2005), 14-29.

[note 3] “ Mentoring ,” U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

[note 4] David L. DuBois, “Program Evaluation,” in Handbook of Youth Mentoring, ed. David L. DuBois and Michael J. Karcher, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2014), 481-498.

[note 5] Sarah E. Kremer and Becky Cooper, “Mentor Screening and Youth Protection,” in Handbook of Youth Mentoring, ed. David L. DuBois and Michael J. Karcher, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2014), 411-425.

[note 6] David L. DuBois and Michael J. Karcher, “Youth Mentoring: Progress and Prospects for the 21st Century,” in Handbook of Youth Mentoring, ed. David L. DuBois and Michael J. Karcher, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2014), 525-534.

[note 7] For reviews, see David L. DuBois et al., “ How Effective Are Mentoring Programs for Youth? A Systematic Assessment of the Evidence ,” Psychological Science in the Public Interest 12 no. 2 (2011): 57-91; Michael J. Karcher, “ Ten-Year Follow-Up on the RCT Study of Mentoring in the Learning Environment (SMILE): Effects of the Communities in Schools Mentoring Program on Crime and Educational Persistence ,” Technical report to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, grant number 2013-JU-FX-0008, April 2020, NCJ 254619; and Gabriel P. Kuperminc and Nancy L. Deutsch, “Group mentoring,” under review for publication, National Mentoring Resource Center Research Review (2020).

[note 8] For reviews, see Stephanie Hawkins et al., Mentoring for Preventing and Reducing Delinquent Behavior Among Youth , National Mentoring Resource Center Research Review, February 2020, NCJ 254592; and Patrick H. Tolan et al., “ Mentoring Programs To Affect Delinquency and Associated Outcomes of Youth At-Risk: A Comprehensive Meta-Analytic Review ,” Journal of Experimental Criminology 10 no. 2 (2014): 179-206.

[note 9] National Institute of Justice, “ Practice Profile: Mentoring ,” CrimeSolutions, 2013.

[note 10] Alesha D. Seroczynski et al., “ Reading for Life and Adolescent Re-Arrest: Evaluating a Unique Juvenile Diversion Program ,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 35 no. 3 (2016): 662-682.

[note 11] David L. DuBois et al., “ Effectiveness of Mentoring Programs for Youth: A Meta-Analytic Review ,” American Journal of Community Psychology 30 no. 2 (2002): 157-197; and Michael Garringer et al., Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring , 4th ed. (Boston: MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, 2015).

[note 12] Amanda Bayer, Jean Baldwin Grossman, and David L. DuBois, “ Using Volunteer Mentors to Improve the Academic Outcomes of Underserved Students: The Role of Relationships ,” Journal of Community Psychology 43 no. 4 (2015): 408-429; and Jean E. Rhodes and David L. DuBois, “ Mentoring Relationships and Programs for Youth ,” Current Directions in Psychological Science 17 no. 4 (2008): 254-258.

[note 13] Hawkins et al., Mentoring for Preventing and Reducing Delinquent Behavior Among Youth .

[note 14] Jean B. Grossman and Jean E. Rhodes, “ The Test of Time: Predictors and Effects of Duration in Youth Mentoring Programs ,” American Journal of Community Psychology 30 no. 2 (2002): 199-219; and Jean B. Grossman et al., “ The Test of Time in School-Based Mentoring: The Role of Relationship Duration and Re-Matching on Academic Outcomes ,” American Journal of Community Psychology 49 no. 1-2 (2012): 43-54.

[note 15] Michael J. Karcher, “ The Effects of School-Based Devel­opmental Mentoring and Mentors’ Attendance on Mentees’ Self-Esteem, Behavior, and Connectedness ,” Psychology in the Schools 42 no. 1 (2005): 65-77; and Renée Spencer, “ ‘It’s Not What I Expected’: A Qualitative Study of Youth Mentoring Relationship Failures ,” Journal of Adolescent Research 22 no. 4 (2007): 331-354.

[note 16] Clifford R. O’Donnell and Izaak L. Williams, “ The Buddy System: A 35-Year Follow-Up of Criminal Offenses ,” Clinical Psychological Science 1 no. 1 (2013): 54-66.

[note 17] Kenneth A. Dodge, Thomas J. Dishion, and Jennifer E. Lansford, “ Deviant Peer Influences in Intervention and Public Policy for Youth ,” Social Policy Report 20 no. 1 (2006): 1-20.

[note 18] DuBois et al., “ Effectiveness of Mentoring Programs for Youth: A Meta-Analytic Review ”; and DuBois et al., “ How Effective Are Mentoring Programs for Youth ?”

[note 19] David L. DuBois et al., Synthesis of OJJDP-Sponsored Mentoring Research: 2019 Update, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention National Mentoring Resource Center, 2020.

[note 20] DuBois et al., “ Effectiveness of Mentoring Programs for Youth: A Meta-Analytic Review ”; DuBois et al., “ How Effective Are Mentoring Programs for Youth ?”; and Tolan et al., “ Mentoring Programs To Affect Delinquency and Associated Outcomes of Youth At-Risk .”

[note 21] DuBois et al., Synthesis of OJJDP-Sponsored Mentoring Research: 2019 Update ; and Tolan et al., “ Mentoring Programs To Affect Delinquency and Associated Outcomes of Youth At-Risk .”

[note 22] Patrick H. Tolan et al., “ Improving Understanding of How Mentoring Works: Measuring Multiple Intervention Processes ,” Journal of Community Psychology 48 no. 6 (2020): 2086-2107.

[note 23] DuBois et al., “ How Effective Are Mentoring Programs for Youth ?”

[note 24] DuBois et al., “ How Effective Are Mentoring Programs for Youth ?”

[note 25] Carla C. Herrera et al., Making a Difference in Schools: The Big Brothers Big Sisters School-Based Mentoring Impact Study (Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures, 2007).

[note 26] DuBois et al., Synthesis of OJJDP-Sponsored Mentoring Research: 2019 Update .

[note 27] CrimeSolutions rated the program “effective.” Alan Curtis and Tawana Bandy, The Quantum Opportunities Program: A Randomized Control Evaluation, The Eisenhower Foundation, 2015.

[note 28] DuBois et al., “ How Effective Are Mentoring Programs for Youth ?”; and Tolan et al., “ Mentoring Programs To Affect Delinquency and Associated Outcomes of Youth At-Risk .”

[note 29] Thomas E. Keller, “The Stages and Development of Mentoring Relationships,” in Handbook of Youth Mentoring, ed. David L. DuBois and Michael J. Karcher (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2005), 82-99.

[note 30] Kremer and Cooper, “Mentor Screening and Youth Protection.”

[note 31] DuBois et al., “ How Effective Are Mentoring Programs for Youth ?”

[note 32] Mary A. Hamilton et al., “ Functional Roles of Important Nonfamily Adults for Youth ,” Journal of Community Psychology 44 no. 6 (2016): 799-806; and Tolan et al., “ Improving Understanding of How Mentoring Works .”

[note 33] Tolan et al., “ Improving Understanding of How Mentoring Works .”

[note 34] Jennifer E. Blakeslee and Thomas E. Keller, “ Extending a Randomized Trial of the My Life Mentoring Model for Youth in Foster Care To Evaluate Long-Term Effects on Offending in Young Adulthood ,” Technical report to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, award number 2013-JU-FX-0001, February 2018, NCJ 251418; David L. DuBois, Carla Herrera, and Julius Rivera, “ Investigation of Long-Term Effects of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Community-Based Mentoring Program: Final Technical Report for OJJDP ,” award number 2013-JU-FX-0003, February 2018, NCJ 251521; Karcher, “ Ten-Year Follow-Up on the RCT Study of Mentoring in the Learning Environment (SMILE) ”; and Cheryl King et al., “ Association of the Youth-Nominated Support Team Intervention for Suicidal Adolescents With 11- to 14-Year Mortality Outcomes: Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial ,” JAMA Psychiatry 76 no. 5 (2019): 492-498.

[note 35] Karcher, “ Ten-Year Follow-Up on the RCT Study of Mentoring in the Learning Environment (SMILE) .”

[note 36] Cheryl King et al., “ Association of the Youth-Nominated Support Team Intervention for Suicidal Adolescents With 11- to 14-Year Mortality Outcomes .”

[note 37] Mary Bruce and John Bridgeland, The Mentoring Effect: Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring. A Report for MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (Boston: MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, 2014).

[note 38] Michael Garringer, Samuel McQuillin, and Heather L. McDaniel, Examining Youth Mentoring Services Across America: Findings From the 2016 National Mentoring Program Survey (Boston: MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, 2017).

[note 39] Garringer, McQuillin, and McDaniel, Examining Youth Mentoring Services Across America .

[note 40] Hawkins et al., Mentoring for Preventing and Reducing Delinquent Behavior Among Youth .

[note 41] J. Mitchell Miller et al., “ Researching the Referral Stage of Youth Mentoring in Six Juvenile Justice Settings: An Exploratory Analysis ,” Final report to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, grant number 2010-JU-FX-0118, October 2012, NCJ 240820.

[note 42] Jean Baldwin Grossman and Joseph P. Tierney, “ Does Mentoring Work?: An Impact Study of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program ,” Evaluation Review 22 no. 3 (1998): 403-426; and Herrera et al., Making a Difference in Schools .

[note 43] J. Mark Eddy et al., “ A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Long-Term Professional Mentoring Program for Children at Risk: Outcomes Across the First 5 Years ,” Prevention Science  18 (2017): 899-910.

[note 44] Megan Millenky et al.,  Staying on Course: Three-Year Results of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Evaluation , MDRC, 2011.

[note 45] Herrera et al., Making a Difference in Schools .

[note 46] National Mentoring Resource Center, “ Strategies for Recruiting Male Mentors .”

[note 47] Millenky et al., Staying on Course .

[note 48] Implementation science involves the study of methods to improve the integration of research-based practices into typical programs or services in the community. For an overview, see Paul A. Estabrooks, Ross C. Brownson, and Nicolaas P. Pronk, “ Dissemination and Implementation Science for Public Health Professionals: An Overview and Call to Action ,” Preventing Chronic Disease 15 (2018): 180525.

[note 49] Dissemination science is the systematic study of processes and factors that facilitate widespread adoption of an evidence-based intervention by organizations or groups for whom use of the intervention is intended in the community. For an overview, see Estabrooks, Brownson, and Pronk, “ Dissemination and Implementation Science for Public Health Professionals .”

[note 50] Mathew Lynch et al., Arches Transformative Mentoring Program: An Implementation and Impact Evaluation in New York City (Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2018).

[note 51] Laura J. Holt, Brenna H. Bry, and Valerie L. Johnson, “ Enhancing School Engagement in At-Risk, Urban Minority Adolescents Through a School-Based, Adult Mentoring Intervention ,” Child & Family Behavior Therapy 30 no. 4 (2008): 297-318.

[note 52] Elizabeth Miller et al., “ ‘Coaching Boys Into Men’: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial of a Dating Violence Prevention Program ,” Journal of Adolescent Health 51 no. 5 (2012): 431-438.

[note 53] A cluster-randomized controlled trial is one in which groups (such as all students attending the same school) rather than individual students are randomized to the intervention or control group. Cluster-randomized controlled trials are also sometimes referred to as group-randomized trials or place-randomized trials.

[note 54] Peter A. Wyman et al., “ An Outcome Evaluation of the Sources of Strength Suicide Prevention Program Delivered by Adolescent Peer Leaders in High Schools ,” American Journal of Public Health 100 no. 9 (2010): 1653-1661.

[note 55] For example, Lisa Merrill, Mentoring, Technology, and Social and Emotional Learning: Findings From the Evaluation of iMentor’s College Ready Program (New York: The Research Alliance for New York City Schools, 2020).

[note 56] David L. DuBois, “Prevention and Promotion: Toward an Improved Framework for Research and Action,” in APA Handbook of Community Psychology: Theoretical Foundations, Core Concepts, and Emerging Challenges, Vol. 1, ed. Meg A. Bond et al. (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2017), 233-251.

[note 57] J. David Hawkins et al., “ Youth Problem Behaviors 8 Years After Implementing the Communities That Care Prevention System: A Community-Randomized Trial ,” JAMA Pediatrics 168 no. 2 (2014): 122-129; and Richard Spoth et al., “ PROSPER Community-University Partnership Delivery System Effects on Substance Misuse Through 6 1/2 Years Past Baseline From a Cluster Randomized Controlled Intervention Trial ,” Preventive Medicine 56 no. 3-4 (2013): 190-196.

[note 58] Lisbeth Nielsen et al., “ The NIH Science of Behavior Change Program: Transforming the Science Through a Focus on Mechanisms of Change ,” Behaviour Research and Therapy  101 (2018): 3-11.

[note 59] Tolan et al., “ Improving Understanding of How Mentoring Works .”

About the author

David L. DuBois, Ph.D., is a professor in the Division of Community Health Sciences within the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). He is also associate dean for research in the School of Public Health and an associate director of the UIC Institute for Health Policy and Research.

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Research proposal on juvenile delinquency

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The research project aims at establishing the contributing factors to the outbreak of delinquency in juveniles. The study focuses on identifying some of the ways through which the criminal justice system can assist in intervening the juveniles before their graduation to the criminal justice system. The study will focus on three main issues: childhood mistreatment, neighbourhood disadvantage and the inefficient monitoring of the young adults. Prevention of the rise in delinquency in adolescents is possible from comprehending the causes of juvenile delinquency. Through this research, it is feasible to understand the causes of delinquency in young adults and ways in which the removal of such causes can result in awareness in the community.

Introduction and research question

Delinquency implies both the antisocial and criminal behaviours committed by individuals under the age of 18. However, when the people reach adulthood, such actions are identified as the crime. Some of the common delinquency committed by juveniles include murder, rape and burglary. The population of juveniles is largely ignored by the written law and society thus creating significant social and economic costs for the affected nations. Juvenile delinquency thus needs addressing and allocation of funds for their research to manage the increase in juvenile crime effectively. The presence of high rates of unemployment and poverty, several juveniles resort to crime as means of sustaining their lifestyles in their notably dangerous neighbourhoods.

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The research question significant in this study is; ‘The factors that contribute to onset of delinquency in juveniles – childhood maltreatment, neighbourhood disadvantage and improper monitoring of the adolescents.’ The element of the study would focus on juvenile delinquency. The potential significance of this study is to enable the development of understanding to the prevention techniques concerning the factors causing the onset of delinquencies. The study is thus applicable to the public agencies, youth mentoring programs and the study of criminal justice. The study is essential to these groups in their role of improving the general policies for the delivery of necessary services to the youth members of the community as well as the family members in their involvement in the delinquency .

The study focuses on providing an indication to the factors of childhood maltreatment, neighbourhoods disadvantages and the lack of monitoring in adolescent for the prevention and intervention measures applicable to the onset of juvenile delinquencies. The successful prevention of juvenile delinquencies involves the application of policies provided by the community services and family units. Even though the criminal justice system provision for reformation for the juvenile delinquent it is less preferable. The study of juvenile delinquent onset prevention is thus significant in assisting the adolescents before their need for the criminal justice system.

Literature Review

The youth justice system in America has undergone several stages of development. The judicial system has undergone notable changes leading to its movement to a new direction. The transitions resulted from the reforms implemented to restore the primary purpose of the juvenile justice systems. The evolution of the juvenile justice system has seen it transform from focusing on rehabilitating the juvenile delinquents to delivering punishments. The changes in the administration of juvenile justice symbolise the national trends in the juvenile delinquencies and also trace ways through which America responds to such trends. However, the juvenile delinquencies are notably attributable to the maltreatments the individuals undergo during their childhood, adverse impacts of their neighbourhoods, and the lack of proper monitoring of the adolescents.

Even though several studies are examining the relationship between the childhood maltreatment and delinquency, the knowledge concerning the relation is limited because of the methodologic problems inherent in the prior studies. Such problems include the over-reliance on the retrospective designs and the absence of control or comparison groups of non-abused and non-neglected children. According to the strict interpretation of the ‘cycle of violence’ hypothesis, the children who underwent physical abuse in contract to other forms of ill-treatment or neglect tend to exhibit high risks of arrests for the violent criminal behaviours. The hypothesis thus implies that being direct victims of violence as children provide a model for the child to learn, imitate, and thus act in the similar way when the child grows.

In the research on childhood maltreatment, the assessment of the adults who experienced abuse revealed close relation to delinquency. Other notable topics of discussion include the connection between community and school that lead to the interpretation on whether the violent activities originated from the student and school characteristics and engagement in violent delinquency. The research methods implemented by the scholars include both qualitative and quantitative analysis of data collected through interviews and questionnaires. Additionally, the scholars found that the schools played a significant role in the delinquency.

Steuwig and McCloskey researched on the various forms of maltreatment in both the childhood and parenting during the childhood that results in delinquency. Their study focused on finding the relationship between the psychological problems in abused children to the onset of the delinquencies. The research, however, produced findings in different broad questions. Stuewig and McCloskey thus concluded in their research that emotions do not relate directly to delinquency but relate directly to depression, which is significant in inhibiting the onset of delinquency.

Adolescents who grow up in disadvantaged neighbourhoods associated with gangs and criminal activities are prone to delinquency. Dupere, Lacourse, Willim, Vitaro and Tremblay in their study of the affiliation of the adolescents in groups sampled the Canadian neighbourhood. Their aim was to discover the possibility of youths raised in neighbourhoods associated with gangs contributing to the onset of delinquency. Their methodology of their study was the survey of the potential gang members in the targeted neighbourhood. The findings of their study indicated the existence of the close relation of the youths growing up in unstable neighbourhoods to the onset of criminology.

Additionally, Dupere et al. found out in their study the presence of a close relation between the ineffective monitoring of adolescents to the onset of delinquency. For instance, the youths coming from families exhibiting less guardianship are likely to be deliquescent. These youths tend to interact with their guardians for less duration hence the lack of proper guidance from the parents. These study findings are significant to the moulding of the research hypothesis: neighbourhood disadvantage results in the onset of juvenile delinquency.

Research Questions and Research hypotheses

The objective of the study is to discuss the contributing factors to the onset of juvenile delinquency concerning maltreatment during childhood, neighbourhood disadvantage and the lack of proper monitoring of the young adults. Since the topic entails the wide range of factors, it is important to develop hypotheses significant to the analysis of the data relevant to the study.

First Hypothesis: Childhood maltreatment contributes to juvenile deliquescent.

Adolescents whose childhood was characterised by abuse and crime are likely to engage in criminal activities as a result. The research on this hypothesis aims at presenting questions concerning both the history and relationships of the abuse of the individual and violence within their families to the onset of the criminal activities. The execution of the questions, in this case, will thus be as the focus group and random sampling from the various targeted clusters. The measurement unit is based on how the abusive backgrounds relate to the various age groups and the onset of delinquency. Based on the history of the juveniles to their present tendency towards delinquency, the study data are essential in cross-referencing for the contribution of the childhood maltreatment to current delinquency.

Second Hypothesis: Neighborhood disadvantage results in the onset of juvenile delinquency.

The study on this hypothesis will focus on providing data based on the observations of disadvantage neighbourhood. An essential part of the analysis is to execute quantitative research on the juvenile detainee’s neighbourhood backgrounds. The qualitative study data on the disadvantaged neighbourhood and quantitative research data on the detainee’s childhood are essential in establishing the contribution of the disadvantaged neighbourhood to the onset of delinquency in adolescents.

Third hypothesis: Lack of monitoring of the adolescents contributes to the onset of juvenile delinquency.

The study aimed at achieving the objective of this hypothesis entails formation of clusters based on ages. The clusters thus form the units of analysis whereby the amount of lack of monitoring is classified into various stages. The study will focus on seeking out the primary caregivers to the clusters as well as the primary influencers based on the units; teachers, parents, family members or other non-family related person. The study will include the control group of children based on their ages, gender and approximate social class.

Sample Population and Methodology

Currently, in the US, there is a significant rise in juvenile delinquency. Consequently, the study targets the youth in the various states across the US. The reason for considering several states across the US is to ensure that the study is specific. It is important to consider the cultural differences in the various clusters across the neighbourhoods hence the need for focusing on selected clusters. The basis of choosing the research sites is the diverse range of respondents drawn from the various areas, culture, society and beliefs sampled across the various states.

The first sample was collected by visits to the high schools to conduct surveys and focus groups. The collection of the data is through handing the students questionnaires during break time and offering incentives to the students such as sweets as a token of appreciation. The presentation of stimuli is significant in encouraging the participation of the students in the survey. However, the incentives pose the challenge of affecting the outcome of the survey whereby the ethics of the research become questionable. It is thus necessary to emphasise to the participants well in advance that their involvement is voluntary.

The teachers, parent and youth workers will then be invited to attend the focus group sessions, which would be held in the various community centres across the states. The sessions are significant in allowing the students and the teachers to familiarise with the setting. It is important for the researcher to undergo training on the different techniques of handling the discussion groups to minimise the occurrence of errors.

Additionally, it is important to interview the youths, social workers. The execution of the interviews is a word for word using the prepared questionnaires to ensure consistency of data analysis. The interviews are essential in allowing the researcher to be more personal to the respondents and thus make the filling of the questionnaires engaging and more interactive.

To obtain more samples the researcher will visit the malls and skate parks. These sites are preferable because of their association with a large number of adolescents. The methods of obtaining samples are the presentation of interviews and questionnaires. Informal focus groups will also be held to the teens with some incentives to volunteer. It is important for the researcher to ensure the respondents comprehend their freedom of participating in the focus group voluntarily.

Stratified sampling is the applicable method for the various techniques of collecting data. The target audience for sampling include the teachers, social workers, family members and the students. The variables in the sampling population vary concerning the factors of the topic in discussion. For instance in the factor of ‘childhood maltreatment,’ better part of the community compose of the social workers. The factor of ‘neighborhood disadvantage’ the variable is the family members. The factor ‘lack of monitoring in adolescents’ majority of the data would come from the teachers. It is important to note that permission must be sought from the education and training departments of the state before the research in situations where the site for collecting the data is in schools.

The samples required for the study must be precise and free of bias. To ensure free of bias, the sampling must be specified, and the acceptance of the response results monitored to minimise the errors associated with sampling. The first approach of the survey would be the delivery of questionnaires. The questionnaires would be presented to the participants for self-administering. The participants would fill the questionnaires at their convenience and collected by the researcher on completion. Attachment of the informed consent form to the questionnaire will be ensured as part of the required response to the technique.

The execution face to face interviews with the individual juveniles in the private setting is essential in collecting the self-report information necessary assessing the causes of onset of delinquency in relation. The advantage of the use of information obtained from the self-report rather than the juvenile justice records is that the researcher can measure the actual violent behaviours and thus ascertain when the delinquency began. In addition to the interview data, the study collected a significant amount of data from the official records such as school, police and juvenile courts. The various necessary information regarding the development of the adolescents would be obtained from both the parents and teachers of the children.

In the collection and analysis of the data, the qualitative methods are applicable due to their flexible nature. The flexibility of the qualitative techniques enables the researcher to adapt and develop the applied methods whenever it is necessary. The inclusion of the qualitative methods in the study enables the collection of a wide range of responses to the topic of the study, which is significant to the amount of data collected for analysis. The application of the focus group is because it is an essential technique of data collection. Some of the questions to be presented to the focus group include:

The technique involves the delivery of open questions, which is essential in obtaining a large amount of responses from the sample population. The focus group technique applies to the sample that entails the teachers and social workers randomly selected from the various states.

Data Analysis

The credibility and validity of the data measurement technique applicable in the study are essential. It is also important for the researcher to perform the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data independently. On completion of the quantitative collection of the data, it is prudent to assemble the data in data matrix containing details whereby the information is sorted into columns, variables and values. The resulting data model are thus essential for both statistical and percentage calculations necessary for the data analysis. Mapping of the primary characteristics of the samples is achievable through the distribution of variables, which include age, gender, and location of the participants.

Additionally, proper coding of the variables is essential to allow for the analysis of the data by the use of a computer. The quantitative data analysis is achievable through the application of SPSS. SPSS is essential in the cleaning and transformation of the available data to ease the interpretation of the data. The analysis of the qualitative data is achievable through the application of various techniques. It is essential to perform simultaneous analysis of the qualitative when collected.

Anticipated Results

The expected results of the study will be essential to the policymakers, parents and the various organisations charged with the role of protecting the rights of juveniles. The outcome of the study is critical in making rational decisions regarding ways of preventing the adolescents from engaging in criminal activities. The procedures applied in the study emphasise the understanding of the roles that the maltreatment at childhood, improper monitoring of the youths and growing in disadvantaged communities play in the onset of juvenile delinquency. Analysis of the impact of the environment on the decisions made by the youths concerning delinquency is essential to the study. The significant organising principle and the end goal of this study are the provisions of clear roadmaps of policy options and consequences.

The study expects to determine whether there is a relationship between the abuse and mistreatment adolescents undergo in their early life with the inception of delinquency in juveniles. The study also intends to assess the extent to which the disadvantaged neighbourhoods characterised by criminal activities lead to the start of delinquency of minors. Additionally, the study aims at determining the onset of delinquency in adolescents concerning improper monitoring of the lives of young adults. These outcomes are essential in developing clearer understanding the youth’s response to their surroundings and thus be able to develop practical solutions to minimise the onset of delinquency in youths.

Before delivering the questionnaires to the participants, its contents will be discussed with the study’s supervisor. The supervisor will also attend the discussions involving the educators and student participants.

Delinquency, drug use and other problems associated with the juveniles usually commence much earlier in their lives. For most children, these behaviours begin before becoming teenagers. The co-occurrence of the problem behaviours tends to be common. However, only serious delinquents are likely to be involved in serious offences such as drug abuse, juvenile gangs and gun ownership. There is a significant shift in the demographic characteristics of youth offenders. Older males and females reported greater involvement in the serious violence beyond expectations.

The development of the delinquent behaviours in boys usually follows procedural fashion whereby less severe problems are often preceded by problems that are more serious. Individuals often proceed along the single developmental paths towards serious antisocial behaviours. The childhood maltreatment increases the risk of juveniles engaging in adolescent problem behaviours. Furthermore, the history of abuse elevates the risk that teens will experience significant problems during adolescence.

The significance of the study lies in the applicability of the results to understanding the root causes of juvenile delinquency. The findings of this study are essential in proving that delinquency is attributable to several other factors that lead teenagers into taking different paths in life.

Implication for Criminal Justice Policy

The results of the study are relevant to the organisations charged with the role of enhancing the juvenile delinquency prevention programs which in most cases have limited funds and staff. Through identification of the roles played by the various conditions to the onset of delinquency, it becomes easier to establish programs that target their efforts in more efficient and cost-effective manner. The study is also essential in enhancing understanding of the problem of juvenile delinquency. The study results are critical in understanding the criminal severity of the consequences attributed to the various offences, which is significant in advocating for the personal accountability of the juvenile’s actions. The analysed data of the study are as well critical in helping in the understanding of the baseline requirements of the system necessary for shaping the juvenile criminal justice’s ability to work efficiently.

By proper implementation of the appropriate preventive measures by the various agencies to the juveniles towards limiting juvenile delinquency is economically efficient. The trials involving juveniles are usually many hence; the juvenile justice system spends a significant amount of time-solving the cases, and there is the need for hiring more individuals to the juvenile judicial system as well. Therefore, by implementing necessary techniques for avoiding the creation of environments favouring the onset of delinquency in juveniles the cost of solving the minor crimes can reduce to manageable levels. The study results are essential in devising policies necessary for limiting the occurrence of juvenile delinquencies.


Although the study reached its objective, there were some unavoidable constraints. The first limitation arose from the sample size. The sample size is significant as it involves individuals from various states in the US. Therefore, the delivery of the questionnaires and delivery of the interviews is time costly. The presentation of incentives to the students influences significantly to the credibility of the responses given by the students. Some of the results could be out of the interest for the encouragement and please the researcher rather than provide truthful information. Giving the participants questionnaires for them to fill at their convenience also resulted in a significant amount of surveys remaining uncollected. The responses obtained were thus from a fraction of the intended sample size. The qualitative study questions limited the possible responses submitted by the respondents. The participants are likely to fill the questionnaires inappropriately.

The responses obtained from interviewing the parents regarding the improper monitoring of the children are likely to be biased. Most parents are usually protective of their children hence few would admit that the delinquency of their children is attributable to their improper parenting.

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NMU Commons

Home > Student Works > THESES > 12

All NMU Master's Theses

Trends in Juvenile Delinquency

David L. Jones Mr. , Northern Michigan University Follow

Date of Award

Degree type, degree name.

Master of Science

Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice [discontinued]

First Advisor/Chairperson

Warchol, Gregory L


David L. Jones

This is a study on trends in juvenile delinquency. The research proposal mentions, within the introduction, factors such as unemployment rates, high school dropout rates, poverty, and juvenile delinquency case rates in the United States, which are actually the variables that are used in the study to illustrate a relationship between them and the current trend in juvenile delinquency. In establishing the link, the paper does a brief literature review of various perspectives associated with juvenile delinquency and mentions some hypotheses that are relevant to the study. Further, the paper gives sample data types related to the mentioned methodologies that are used in performing the research together with their sources. Within the context of the research proposal, the method of longitudinal analysis is the main method of data assessment used in establishing the link. Towards the end of the proposal, the paper indicates that longitudinal analysis method is vital in the analysis of variables of the same type that are meant to be compared within a given range or period of time.

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I.  The Problem and Setting

The Statement of the Problem and Subproblem

Juvenile delinquency is a persistent and pervasive social problem in America. Juvenile crime represents over 40% of the total arrests for major crimes, including murder, rape, and burglary (Hawkins and Weis 1985).  The increasing rate of juvenile incarceration mirrors that of adult incarceration.  This disadvantaged population, which has been largely ignored by both the written law and society, creates great social and economic costs for the United States.  Juvenile delinquency and crime needs to be addressed and funds need to be allocated to research in order to control the increased rates of juvenile crime and, in addition, provide more programs for rehabilitation to this delinquent youth population.

The District of Columbia has the highest rates of juvenile delinquency in the country and, not surprisingly, there are far more crimes committed in minority and low-income neighborhoods than in the wealthy ones.  That said, much of the district consists of largely urban and disadvantaged areas.  With high rates of unemployment and poverty, and without family and neighborhood support, many juveniles turn to crime as a way of sustaining their lifestyles or surviving in an otherwise dangerous neighborhood. Prison time provides street credibility instead of alienation from society.

The juvenile justice system in the District of Columbia has followed the national trends — representing a transition from a rehabilitative focus, established by the creation of a separate juvenile legal system, to a more punitive focus, marked by stricter laws and harsher punishments. Recently, this has shifted back to a rehabilitative stance focused on community-based resources, counseling, and other mental health services. Society’s approach towards helping this population and eradicating youth crime has changed dramatically.

Various factors –media coverage; policy implementation, public opinion, and level of funding and resources — have influenced these transitions in the juvenile justice system. Although the juvenile justice system and crime rates is largely misunderstood by the public.

In order to better understand the underlying reasons for this transformation and evolution, specific factors will be researched and analyzed.  The problems faced by Oak Hill Detention Center represent many of the larger issues that plague the juvenile justice system.

Using an exploratory and qualitative approach, this research project will generate a summary of the transitions in the juvenile justice system.  The researchers believe that factors, such as the media perception, policy implementation, and accessible funding and resources, play an influential role in how the system is implemented.  Through interviews and archival research, new factors and theoretical constructs may surface to be significant in our study.

The researchers believe that Oak Hill correctional facility mirrors the larger transformations in the juvenile justice system and acts as the focal point of this study.

The Need of the Community Being Addressed in this Research

The majority of youth offenders in Washington live in minority, low-income neighborhoods.  They attend poor schools and have few educational or recreational resources.  These disadvantaged communities need to have their experiences, voices, and opinions heard by the government and the public.  The communities that seem to foster juvenile crime and delinquency do not have the resources to provide for their youth in constructive ways.  There is not the appropriate funding provided to programs and there are low levels of education, employment and opportunity.

In 2000, the District of Columbia reported that 20% of the population was in poverty (32% children in poverty), 22% did not have a high school diploma and 52% of families with children were headed by a single female.  It is important to note that in Ward 3, a traditionally affluent area of DC, only 7.5% of the population was in poverty (2.9% children in poverty), only 4% did not have a high school diploma, and there was only 12% female-headed families with children.  In Ward 8, a more dangerous area with a greater number of juvenile delinquents, 36% of the population was in poverty (47% children in poverty), 34% did not have a high school diploma, and 68% of the families with children were run by a single female.  These staggering statistics speak directly to the overwhelming need of these communities for funding and proper education, as well as opportunities to create stronger job markets and family structures (NeighborhoodInfo DC).

Delimitations and Definitions

This project is limited by the lack of research and resources that have previously gone into this topic.  It is a limited field and lacks the funding to promote greater participation and change within the system.

There are several definitions that are key to this research surrounding juvenile justice in the District of Columbia.

Oak Hill Youth Detention Center , opened in 1967 in Laurel, MD. This facility housed DC’s juvenile delinquents until the spring of 2009, when it was closed due to evidence that the youth population there was being treated in an inhumane way.

New Beginnings Youth Center , a new $46 million dollar facility, opened in Laurel, MD to replace Oak Hill. The facility encourages the delinquent youth to engage in education and counseling resources and helps the juvenile justice system move away from punishment and towards rehabilitation.

The Jerry M. lawsuit , filed in 1985 by the Public Defender Services and the American Civil Liberties Union, criticized the poor treatment and resources given to youth detained at the Oak Hill Youth Center. The complaint focuses on the ineffective education and job training, the incompetent medical and mental health treatment, and the poor recreational and community resources afforded to the delinquent youth population. In addition, the Jerry M. litigation notes the increasing violence in the facility, and the presence of unqualified staff – both factors that neglect the need for fair juvenile rights.

Importance of Work

This research is important because it may provide a forum for the juvenile justice system, and the subproblems and influences associated with it, to be recognized and understood.  It may allow various stakeholders in the system — from lawyers and politicians and non-profit leaders and academics to single mothers and delinquent youth — to voice their opinions and share their perspectives in a constructive manner.

In addition, juvenile crime, and detention center costs, is very expensive. It is possible that improving the system is not only a moral imperative, but it may save valuable resources for cities that face severe budget cuts. In other words, more money for rehabilitation would mean less money needed to incarcerate juvenile offenders.

This research will provide a theory of change.  It may outline the most important factors for change in the juvenile justice system as well as target the areas that are in most need of improvement.  The results could be used as an example for other jurisdictions that want to move towards juvenile rehabilitation.

II.  Review of Related Literature


The juvenile justice system in America has been through several stages of development. In recent years, it has undergone substantial changes and, as a result, has moved in new directions.  These transitions have occurred as a result of reforms made to revive the original purpose of juvenile justice — the purpose of bringing “individual justice” and rehabilitation to the core of the system (Mennel 1983; Healy and Bronner 1930).  The juvenile justice system has evolved throughout history from focusing on rehabilitation to punishment.  While there is much historical literature outlining this evolution, there is very little research on the reasons behind this transformation.  This review of relevant literature looks specifically at the available research on juvenile detention centers in order to show the negative effects of taking a punitive approach in juvenile justice.  It begins with an historical review in order to put the rise of detention centers in context.  The paper then goes on to discuss specific issues within juvenile detention centers and outlines their impact on rehabilitation.  The aim is to use the available data on detention centers to demonstrate the transformation of juvenile justice, from rehabilitative aims to punitive aims, and call attention to specific factors that have hindered the rehabilitation process.

Changes in the juvenile justice system reflect national trends in juvenile delinquency and also trace America’s response to these trends.  In the past three decades, rates of juvenile delinquency have increased and, as a result, policymakers have established more severe punishments for juvenile offenders. Juvenile justice moved away from the original aim of rehabilitation toward a more punitive approach as a result of both a more conservative political environment and a lack of financial resources.  With the rise in juvenile delinquency, confinement of juveniles in detention centers increased; in the ten-year period between 1987 and 1997 the number of juveniles in detention centers increased five-fold (Steketee 1989).  The role of juvenile detention, which is defined as “the temporary and safe custody of juveniles who are accused of conduct subject to jurisdiction of the court who require a restricted environment for their own or the community’s protection while pending legal action” (Roush 1996, p.33), is one of the issues that causes the most conflict because it is not at all clear that juvenile detention centers are contributing in any way to the rehabilitation of America’s youth.

Research on juvenile detention centers, while scarce, provides information on the common problems of injustice within these centers.  Multiple studies have identified the issue of unsafe facilities and overcrowding (Snyder and Sickmund 1999; Barton and Schwartz 1994; Guarino-Ghezzi and Loughran 2004). Research has also recognized minority overrepresentation (Bolin and Jones 2005; Foster, Williamson, and Buchannon 2004; Styve et al 2000), inadequate healthcare (Bolin and Jones 2005), and lack of education services (Morrison and Epps 2002; Foster et al 2004) to be central concerns of the juvenile justice system. Finally, literature on the juvenile justice system often focuses on program implementation and effectiveness at addressing rehabilitation, as well as diversion techniques within the system (Greenwood 2008; Lipsey 2002; Simpson 1976; and Rojek and Erickson 1982; Zimring 2000; and Styve et al. 2000). This review examines these issues in greater detail and locates them within the larger struggle in the juvenile justice system to rehabilitate juvenile offenders.

Historical Context

Juvenile justice has proved to be as reactive as it is proactive.  Snyder and Sickmund (1999) found that as early as 1825, there was a significant push to establish a separate juvenile justice system focused on rehabilitation and treatment.  In the 1980s, in response to rising juvenile crime rates, more punitive laws were passed. In the 1990s, the United States legal system took further steps regarding transfer provisions which lowered the threshold at which juveniles could be tried in criminal court and sentenced to adult prison; enforced a sentencing authority which allowed prosecutors and judges more discretion in their sentencing options; and reduced confidentiality standards which made juvenile court proceedings and records more available to the public.  Although the juvenile justice system is focused on rehabilitation, Simpson (1976) found that recent reforms, such as increased procedural protections, right to treatment, and disposal of cases without judicial review, are important in the rights that they afford the juveniles. However, they also introduce the possibility that if rehabilitative programs are not introduced and these requirements are not met, the juvenile system will lose its significance.  The separate system was created to help decrease recidivism rates among juveniles, and instill them with the necessary values and education to advance in society.  Without these treatment options, juvenile and adult punishments merge, and the need for separate, and different, legal systems ceases to exist.

Kent v. United States (1966), In re Gault (1967), In re Winship (1970), and McKeiver vs. Pennsylvania (1971) are landmark court cases that addressed the role of due process and procedural rights in the juvenile system as they correspond to those in adult criminal court.  If the system is unable, or unwilling, to provide proper and significant treatment to the juveniles, the entire premise of rehabilitation will cease to exist.  While the legal implications of these Supreme Court decisions create a foundation for juvenile justice practices, it is important to understand the reality and consequent effects of their implementation.  Snyder and Sickmund (1999) outlined these cases and their significance — respectively, they created stricter guidelines for adult transfers, enforced basic constitutional rights, reaffirmed the right to innocence without proof of a reasonable doubt and made it so that trials by jury were not required in juvenile court.  These cases, and other U.S. Supreme Court cases around juvenile justice, made the juvenile court more similar to the adult criminal court in some important ways while still keeping their procedures and intent separate.

In their outline on the different perspectives and methods for dealing with juvenile offenders throughout history, Guarino-Ghezzi and Loughran (2004) discuss four viewpoints that help to explain the changes and progress made over time.  When the concept of juvenile justice was first introduced in America, the leading view was a liberal one, in which people believed rehabilitation could be achieved by the state.  This attitude guided the approach of juvenile justice reformers and created the idea of the state as the protector of juveniles.  This was a time when “detention centers” were homes and the juvenile court took on a mentoring approach to guiding at-risk youth (Mennel 1983).  In the 1960’s a Libertarian view was taken and a push for deinstitutionalization was started, as evidenced by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974 which created community-based alternatives to detention.  Next came the combination of a Conservative and Fundamentalist view, which is one that still carries weight today.  This conservative view mirrored a belief that juveniles should be held accountable to their criminal behavior.  The Fundamentalist approach was popular during Reagan’s years in office and focused on promoting “family values”.  These four distinct viewpoints are parallel with the changes seen in juvenile justice over time.  Where juveniles were once sent to homes, they are now housed in large detention facilities, which is a result of taking a more punitive approach toward youthful offenders.

The issues regarding juvenile detention centers today are an outgrowth of increased incarceration in response to a Conservative approach.  This conservative approach came about as a response to the increase in juvenile delinquency in the 1970’s and 1980’s, which increased with the rise of gang affiliation and the crack epidemic. Conservatives in Congress claimed prevention programs were ineffective and called for more strict punishment of juveniles.  There was also a lack of financial resources available for use by the juvenile justice system and those with a conservative mindset were unwilling to dedicate funds to preventative programs.  This approach won and new policies were created to “punish” juveniles and make them accountable of their criminal behavior.


The increased incarceration rates within juvenile detention facilities led to overcrowding — Snyder and Sickmund (1999) found that 40% of public facilities were overpopulated in 1995. In addition, Guarino-Ghezzi and Loughran found that in 1991 one-third of all public detention centers were housing populations that exceeded their design capacity.  The trend of overcrowding has been apparent for a while and has appeared to worsen recently (Schwartz and Barton 1994).  Many researchers feel that overcrowding is the most dangerous component of the overall ineffectiveness of America’s juvenile detention facilities.  Overcrowding contributes to other problems, such as a greater lack of individualized services and the increased risk of violent behavior, and takes away from a rehabilitative environment – in sum, it causes neglect of individual juveniles.  When facilities become overcrowded, juveniles are housed in increasingly smaller rooms, violent and non-violent offenders are housed together, and injury rates increase (Parent 1994).   There are several possible remedies to address overcrowding, such as changing policies that regulate juvenile confinement, the duration of confinement, and eliminating the use of large dormitories.

As juvenile justice has transformed and more juveniles are being detained, there is less focus being placed on the individual youth and rehabilitation has been inadequate as a result.

Minority Overrepresentation

Along with overcrowding, data collected from detention facilities showed issues of overrepresentation, disparity, and discrimination.  Overrepresentation is when a population that exists within the juvenile justice system is not proportionate with that in the general population.  For instance, 6 out of every 10 incarcerated juveniles are minorities.  Disparity is the probability of one population receiving an outcome that consistently differs from that of another population.  For example, females represent one out of every 17 juveniles in residential placement as compared with males who represent 16 out of every 17 juveniles in residential placement.  Judges and prosecutors seem to divert girls from the system and, although their crimes may be far less frequent and of a less violent nature, it is possible that their gender is considered in the sentencing procedures.  Lastly, discrimination occurs when the juvenile justice system treats a population differently based on their race, gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status.  It is important to note that overrepresentation and disparity are not forms of discrimination.  Research has shown that there is a higher prevalence of youth crime in low-socioeconomic urban minority neighborhoods but there is no evidence that discrimination is a significant contributor to this data.

Guarino-Ghezzi and Loughran (2004) found an overrepresentation of minorities in the juvenile justice system and felt that it was necessary to have comprehensive treatment programs to “serve the minority youth in the community and thereby reduce the over-reliance on state-run institutions” (84).  Bolin and Jones (2005) found that minorities were also overrepresented in areas of personal health problems — they comprised 84% of the youth sample with untreated tooth decay in their oral hygiene study.  Much literature surrounding juvenile justice acknowledges the high proportion of minority youth in the system.  As a result, the detention facilities and rehabilitation programs need to create programs that focus specifically on the needs of minority youth.

Minority youth constitute the largest population of detained youth. As the juvenile justice system has evolved, and more juveniles have been detained in secure facilities, the number of incarcerated minority youth has risen. In order for the juvenile justice system to return to a rehabilitative stance, there needs to be an increased awareness of the experiences and needs of these minority delinquents. Up to this point, the juvenile justice system has not had the resources to focus on this group within the larger population of detained youth. The juvenile justice system cannot move forward, and cannot provide rehabilitative resources to its youth, until individual and group needs are met within the system.

Healthcare services are woefully insufficient in juvenile detention centers.  Bolin and Jones (2005) studied adolescents in a large urban detention facility in order to assess oral health needs.  They found that untreated decay plagued 87% of the juveniles being detained, in comparison to a 20% national average.  In addition, one study found that only 43% of youth get health screening within their first hour of confinement Parent 1994).  Many of the youth who enter detention facilities come from impoverished or disadvantaged backgrounds, and therefore have never received proper healthcare. Having healthcare in detention centers creates an opportunity to improve the conditions of at-risk youth and teach them how to maintain their health.  Therefore, as a rehabilitative service, healthcare is necessary in detention centers, although the studies show these services are inadequate.

Other studies that have explored mental health and psychiatric care in detention centers have found the same distressing results (Mohr, Gelles, and Schwartz 1999; Costello 1949; Abram et al 2008).  Psychological disabilities are highly prevalent in detention centers and suicide rates for incarcerated youth are two to four times higher than in the community at large (Abram 2008).  Conditions associated with confinement, such as solitary confinement, crowding, and separation from friends and family, can increase the risk of suicidal behavior.  In general, literature shows that detained youth have a greater risk of suicidal behavior, and are plagued by mental and emotional disorders.  A study of conditions in juvenile detention facilities, conducted by Parent (1994), found that only half of confined juveniles are in a facility that monitors suicidal behavior at a rate compliant to national standards.   While few large-scale studies have examined mental healthcare in juvenile detention centers, the trends show an inadequate amount of mental health services by trained individuals.

Multiple recommendations on how to improve healthcare services for detained youth have been proposed by researchers and policymakers.  The first recommendation is to increase the amount of research on healthcare in juvenile detention centers as a way to assess the needs of detained youth and discover what is missing in the healthcare programs.  Abram et al (2008) also made the recommendation that psychiatric services in detention centers need to be increased and staff needs to be trained in how to deal with suicidal behavior.  Parent (1994) found that over one-third of the health screenings being conducted on intake at detention centers are by untrained staff, which again shows the importance of properly training staff of juvenile facilities.

Healthcare is a major problem in juvenile detention centers and the lack of adequate services prevents successful rehabilitation.  As the evolution to a more punitive approach has occurred, more youth have experienced the injustice of a failing healthcare system within detention centers, mainly as a result from lack of funding for these services.  If youth are not given adequate healthcare services their most basic needs are not meant.  Consequently, it cannot be expected that these same youth will be successfully rehabilitated as they will continue to have health and mental issues upon their release.     

In addition to the problems of overcrowding and insufficient healthcare, education within juvenile detention centers is unsatisfactory.  The intellectual functioning of youth in detention facilities is in the range of low to low-average (National Institute on Correctional Education study 2004).  In regards to special education, the services provided are not up to date and detained youth do not receive the services they are entitled to (Morrison and Epps 2002).  Morrison and Epps (2002) consider the idea of learning disabled youth being warehoused in detention facilities as a result of insufficient educational services.   They consider three case studies of individuals who have repeatedly been detained; each juvenile had a history of learning disabilities and was not receiving the educational services they needed to succeed.  Education is considered one of the main solutions to juvenile delinquency, but it does not receive the attention it warrants in detention centers.  Instead, because of the multiple issues that face juvenile detention centers, academic growth is often ignored.

In order to successfully rehabilitate youth in America’s juvenile justice system, those who are detained need to receive educational services that improve their academics.  While it is difficult to focus delinquents on schoolwork (Costello 1949), as they have often failed in school (Foster, Williamson, and Buchannon 2004), curriculum in juvenile detention facilities must incorporate basic subjects of reading and writing, with electives juveniles have strengths to address.  Foster, Williamson, and Buchannon (2004) reported on a successful reading program that was implemented at a juvenile detention.  The program resulted in quantitatively higher literacy rates and qualitatively greater like of reading.  This program recognized the learning disabilities of juveniles in the detention center, and designed a program to address those disabilities, which is an approach all juvenile detention centers should take.

Education continues to be a controversial issue within the juvenile justice system. Juvenile delinquents should not be ‘warehoused’ as some have suggested, but instead ‘rehabilitated’. The very center of rehabilitation rests in education because this youth population must learn how to navigate and succeed in the world without resorting to crime. However, like healthcare, funding is needed to have successful programs in education.  If the juvenile justice system does not have the necessary funding or does not feel that education programs are necessary, no changes can be made to the current unsatisfactory programs. As the juvenile justice system moves back towards rehabilitation, it will be interesting to see the impact of this shift on educational opportunities and resources afforded this detained population. Education is the foundation of rehabilitation.

Program Implementation and Effectiveness

There has been research aimed at understanding the success and failures of rehabilitation in juvenile detention centers and, more specifically, the prevention and intervention programs that are practiced and offered to at-risk youth and juvenile offenders.  Greenwood (2008) focused his research on delinquency-prevention programs and explored the problems that these programs face, such as the inaccuracy of measurement and inconsistency of analysis that affects the data.  He also examined the solutions to improve the effectiveness of these institutional programs, which are aimed at reducing delinquency and recidivism and promoting positive and social development as a contributing member of society.  The reason that research on these issues is so scarce is because there are differences in the methods used to evaluate them, which makes comparing the effectiveness of these programs impossible. Studies involving random assignment are difficult within the criminal justice system because research cannot determine where an offender is placed.  Instead of using statistical significance to report effectiveness, researchers compare outcomes that can be highly subjective and inaccurate.

Greenwood also wrote about the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado. This study created the Blueprints for Violence Prevention that certifies programs based on their effectiveness at addressing problem behaviors; addressing the development of long-term skills to be used after an individual’s time in the program; and demonstrating its ability to be replicated across detention facilities and staff.  Other organizations and individuals have also attempted to perform statistical meta-analysis evaluations in order to predict the level of effectiveness within a given program.  Mark Lipsey (1992) did not focus on specific programs but attempted to identify strategies and methods for successfully implementing programs.  Campbell Corporation also tried to be the “clearinghouse” of program effectiveness but has been unable to make any significant gains given the limited number of studies and programs. (Greenwood 2008).

The reason that these programs, and their accurate measurements of effectiveness, are so important is because they are the future of rehabilitation. In order for rehabilitation to be achieved within the juvenile justice system, Greenwood (2008) suggests three crucial improvements.  First, there needs to be an increased focus on “dynamic or changeable risk factors;” which includes improving a juvenile’s skill set and deterring them from substance abuse.  Most importantly, incarcerated juveniles need to learn to manage their behavior and form positive relationships with friends and family through counseling and skills training.  Next, Greenwood urges rehabilitation-focused detention centers to focus on the individual needs of each youth offender.  Lastly, high-risk youth should be the focus of rehabilitative treatment.  Rehabilitation has to be about protecting all juveniles, not just the ones who can save themselves.  Simpson (1976) proposes increased family bonds through counseling, introduction to the job market, and participation in school-related activities.  However, Greenwood does understand that these goals face significant challenges — there is a widespread lack of accountability throughout the system, there is a lack of sufficient funds for these programs to survive, there is a lack of any standardized system, as explained above, to compare and rate the programs, and there is often a lack of support and motivation from detention staff.

These programs, and others like them, are crucial to the tenets of rehabilitative treatment for juvenile offenders. As the juvenile justice system became more punitive, these programs failed to achieve their original aims. In order to assure rehabilitation for youth offenders, these programs need the attention and resources to allow this delinquent population to succeed. These programs are controversial because they are under researched and under funded, but they are important because they lay the foundation for the transition back to rehabilitation within the juvenile justice system.

Diversion Techniques

Simpson (1976) concluded that rehabilitation would not succeed, given the present system and resources, because juvenile detention centers carry stigmas that brand this youth population as offenders and the informal and seemingly subjective process that incarcerated them promotes self-labeling.  In addition, there are inadequate resources such as personnel, facilities, and psychiatrists to create a treatment oriented setting for incarcerated juveniles.  Simpson found that the current system labels the offender, and not the “offending behavior”.  Rojek and Erickson (1982) preached the four D’s in their research — “decriminalization, diversion, due process, and deinstitutionalization”.  They found that diversion — which include programs like shelter care, educational alternatives, counseling, and medical treatment — help protect the youth but are only helpful if they decrease the rates of recidivism within the juvenile system, include a large community-wide referral and support network, and ensure lowered recidivism rates and improved social behavior.  Rojek and Erickson did not find that any of these diversion programs proved to be more effective, or ineffective, than traditional detention facilities.  Instead, they saw it as a means of transferring juveniles to alternate programs which do not have any significant effect given the lack of resources and attention to this population.  The increase in community-based programs may have brought more juveniles into the system, but it has not proven to have any long-term effects on this juvenile delinquent population.  While community programs can be very helpful, the court has to ensure that these programs have the resources to rehabilitate the juvenile instead of bringing them back into the community that likely contributed to their initial crime.

Zimring (2000) introduced two important ideas into his research — the diversionary rationale and the interventionist rationale.  Diversionary rationale explained that the juvenile court would help children by doing ‘less harm’ than the adult criminal court – even if diversionary techniques do not decrease recidivism rates, by keeping youth out of the adult system, the programs are still helping them by providing them with a safe place to spend their free time. The interventionist rationale believes that the diversion programs could help protect the community and ‘cure’ the child. While these two rationales have different beliefs about the effectiveness of rehabilitating the child, the blending seems to be the basis of the juvenile justice system’s rehabilitation efforts.  Zimring (2000) explained that the diversionary rationale more closely mirrors ‘institutional reality’ but interventionist techniques remain important as a preventative measure.

Boot camps have emerged as a popular replacement for juvenile detention centers.  Styve et al. (2000) found that boot camp facilities were perceived by the detained youth to be much more therapeutic, structured, active, controlled, just, safe, suited to preparing them for release, and likely to provide and demonstrate a better quality of life.  As a more transitional option, supporters feel that the boot camp environment is more suited to rehabilitation. Critics, however, feel that the militant style that pervades a ‘boot camp’ facility could negatively impact the youth and return them back to their communities with anger and resentment.  However, the “perceptions do not reflect the actual situation in regard to quality correctional programming” (Styve et al. 2000, 305) because the recidivism rates are not lower for youth detained in boot camps.  It is important to understand that those conditions, despite their results, felt more constructive to the offending youth and therefore, some boot camp policies should be incorporated into more traditional detentions.  It is also important to note that boot camps are a relatively new rehabilitation tactic, with newer staff and more accessible facilities. Better trained staff and nicer facilities might be the reason why these programs are perceived as being more constructive, as opposed to the methodology they promote.

While boot camps may not be the ideal rehabilitative means for detained youth, there are aspects of it that are crucial to the success of detention centers.  Styve et al. (2000) stated that the most important focus of any detention facility had to be rehabilitation but the youth need safe environments for therapy, access to family and friends to ease their reintegration into the community, and access to individualized treatment.  Rehabilitation is the most contested, and yet central, part of juvenile justice.  While some diversion techniques are successful, there needs to be a more uniform response to an increase in juvenile crime.  This youth population needs to engage with their communities and families.  There has not been much research conducted on intervention programs, and the methods of analysis are weak, but alternate programs could be very useful for many delinquent youth as long as there is funding and resources allocated to them.  Researchers need to demonstrate that these programs are effective, in order to justify additional funding, but they lack the research that could document an appropriate level of effectiveness.

Diversion programs have become increasingly popular as the atrocities of detention centers became more apparent to judges and probation officers. These programs will become less vital if the detention centers are able to rehabilitate offending youth but they are still important for community involvement. Simpson (1976) found that ‘control theory’ helped explain why juveniles commit crimes — since they often have little to no attachment to their neighborhoods or commitment to their families, there is no deterrence. The juveniles in the system need to feel connected and, in part, responsible for their communities and these programs often empower them in ways the detention center has not. It will be interesting to see if the number of diversion programs decrease as the rehabilitative focus of the detention center increases and delinquent youth are provided with the educational and emotional support that they need.

After reviewing relevant literature, it is apparent that there are many inadequacies in America’s juvenile detention centers.  There is a struggle for detention centers to find a balance between protecting the safety of the public and addressing the individual rights of youth by providing rehabilitative services.  The recent trends seem to show an increase in punishment and a diversion from rehabilitative services, especially evident in the significant increase of detained juveniles.  In addition to not providing rehabilitative services, detention as a “warehouse” can have further negative impacts on juveniles.  Leone, Zaremba, and Chapin (1995) mention the high correlation between detention and subsequent findings of delinquency; Healy and Bronner (1930) discuss the hardening of juveniles and mixing of violent and non-violent youth in detention facilities; and O’Connor (1970) mentions the feeling of alienation for youth after exiting the detention facilities.  It is clear that there are many injustices that face juvenile detention centers today.

Although these injustices are known, juvenile detention centers have received little research attention as compared to other aspects of juvenile justice.  There are several omissions in the literature that prevent further investigation into the complex system that detains and attempts to correct youth offenders. Some of these flaws in the literature include a lack of studies on detention facilities, outdated studies, and small sample sizes in studies.  Detention centers have been called the “hidden closets of juvenile justice” because there has not been substantial tracking of detention centers’ success and the research on the topic is limited.  More research needs to be done on this topic in order to better understand the current problems within detention centers so improvements can be made.  Detention centers are an important part of the juvenile justice system, especially as punitive sentencing guidelines increase juvenile incarceration rates, and the amount of research on detention needs to respond proportionately.  Injustices need to be recognized and solutions need to be developed before more youth are neglected in juvenile detention.

America’s juvenile justice system was created in order to separate youth from the punitive adult system and create a path through which youth could be given the services they need in order to be successful members of society.  Studies show that juvenile justice is not reaching its original goals with detention centers — the inadequacies in juvenile detention facilities provide little hope for youth’s successful transition back to society. Researchers, policy makers, and community members must work to create funding and resources for this large population in need. Minority and underprivileged neighborhoods must be targeted and approached, education and healthcare must become fundamental requirements within the detention facilities, and research must continue to be done to find the most effective way to punish, rehabilitate and ultimately protect, today’s, and tomorrow’s, youth.

As it has now become apparent, detention centers provide an excellent example of the changes that have occurred in the juvenile justice system; they mirror the transformation of rehabilitation to punishment well.  Juvenile detention centers are just one way in which a punitive approach has negatively effected the successful rehabilitation of juveniles within the system; they provide concrete examples of specific factors that have historically hindered rehabilitation.  While the juvenile justice system has evolved, it was the stray from its original focus of rehabilitation that created the many injustices reviewed in this paper.  As new reforms occur the transformation back to a rehabilitative approach begins, and these injustices within juvenile detention centers can be addressed.

III.  Data and Methodology

This study will be conducted through archival research and personal interviews.  Archival data will be gathered from newspaper and journal articles as well as political documents, such as policies and legislation.  Most of this data has been previously compiled by Dr. Woolard, co-investigator, and researchers will supplement that by accessing articles at DC’s public library.  In addition, interviews will be conducted with stakeholders in the juvenile justice system in DC.  Qualitative data gathered through interviews of stakeholders will include perspectives on juvenile justice reform in DC.  These stakeholders include lawyers, such as Samantha Sonnenburg and Jerry M. lawyers; community advocates, including Liz Ryan (Campaign for Youth Justice) and Joe Patterson (Parent Watch organization); and agency representatives, including Vincent Schiraldi and Mark Schindler (Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services).  These individuals are reliable sources as they have extensive experience with juvenile justice in DC.

All participants have been identified by Dr. Woolard, from her contacts, and will be asked to participate initially by Dr. Woolard.  Following their acceptance, researchers will contact them to arrange an appointment for an interview.  Further recruitment will be conducted through the snowball technique as researchers obtain more contacts from their participants.

Researchers will use a script during the interviews to prompt questions.  This script has been attached at the end of this proposal (see appendix A).

Researchers will read through the journal, newspaper, and political archives in order to generate a summary of relevant and available information.  Higher order themes and constructs pertaining to the research question will be identified for further analysis.

Interviews will be conducted at the interviewee’s place of work or an agreed upon location.  Before participating, interviewees will be given information on why the study is being done and will subsequently be debriefed on the possible implications of the study.  Interviews will be audio-taped (if given consent) for later transcription.

Upon completion of the interviews, researchers will transcribe the audio-taped interviews.  Researchers will analyze the transcripts by looking for common themes and content categories.  This data will then be compared to the analysis of the archival data.

This study uses an exploratory and qualitative approach and is designed to generate a summary.  Therefore, the project follows an inductive approach that prevents an experimental hypothesis.  However, the researchers have identified several factors believed to be associated with the evolution of juvenile justice in DC.  Those factors are considered subproblems, and are as follows:

Policies and policy reform related to juvenile justice and delinquency are believed

to effect the success of rehabilitation of juveniles and the ability to promote change.

The media’s portrayal of juvenile justice topics (reform, detention/correctional centers, delinquency, etc.) is believed to effect the public opinion regarding juvenile justice and potentially its reform or change.

3. Public Opinion

Public opinion is believed to effect juvenile justice by influencing the amount of importance given to juvenile justice issues.  Public opinion is also believed to play a role in the struggle to balance public safety and juvenile rehabilitation, which then has larger effects on juvenile justice.

4. Funding and Resources

The amount of funding and available resources is believed to effect the ability of the juvenile justice system to successfully rehabilitate youth.

For each of these subproblems data is needed on the perspectives of the stakeholders.  During interviews, each participant will be asked questions regarding these topics.

The researchers active in this study are experienced in the field of juvenile justice.  They have had significant experience interacting with juvenile offenders as a part of Oak Hill Outreach and the After School Kids Program through the Center for Social Justice. Through their work in the Center for Research on Adolescents, Women, and the Law (CRAWL) lab, both researchers have studied interrogation techniques of juveniles as part of a study done in collaboration with the FBI’s behavioral science unit. With extensive coursework focused on juvenile justice and community collaboration, the researchers have managed to translate their knowledge to their work with juveniles.  In addition, Dr. Woolard is a prominent figure in D.C.’s juvenile justice field as an academic researcher. She has worked with many other stakeholders in an effort to understand and improve the field and practice.

IV.  References

Abram, Karen M., Jeanne Y. Choe, Jason Washburn, Linda Teplin, Devon King, and Mina Dulcan.  2008. “Suicidal Ideation and Behaviors Among Youths in Juvenile Detention.”  Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 47:291-300.

Barton, William H. and Ira M. Schwartz.  1994.  “Juvenile Detention: No More Hidden Closets.”  Pp. 1-11 in Reforming Juvenile Detention, edited by William H. Barton and Ira M. Schwartz.  Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press.

Bolin, Kenneth and Daniel Jones.  2005.  “Oral Health Needs of Adolescents in a Juvenile Detention Facility.”   Journal of Adolescent Health 38:755-757.

Costello, John B. 1949. “Institutions for Juvenile Delinquents.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 261:166-178.

Foster, Karen, Naomi Williamson, and Dawna Buchannon. 2004.  “Racing With Reading: Addressing Literacy at Juvenile Detention Center.”  Journal of the Institute Justice and International Studies 4:52-56.

Greenwood, Peter. 2008. “Prevention and Intervention Programs for Juvenile Offenders.”  The Future of Children 18(2):185-210.

Guarino-Ghezzi, Susan and Edward J. Loughran.  2004.  Balancing Juvenile Justice.  New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Hawkins, J. David and Joseph G. Weis. 1985. “The Social Development Model: An Integrated Approach to Delinquency Prevention.” The Journal of Primary Prevention 6(2):73-97.

Healy, William and August F. Bronner. 1930. “Juvenile Detention Homes.”  Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 151;180-183.

Leone, Peter E., Barbara Zaremba, and Michelle Chapin. 1995. “Understanding the overrepresentation of Youths With Disabilities in Juvenile Detention.” District of Columbia Law Review 3:389-401.

Mennel, Robert M. 1983.  “Attitudes and Policies Toward Juvenile Delinquency in the United States: A Historiographical Review.”  Crime and Justice 4:191-224.

Mohr, Wanda, Richard J. Gelles, and Ira M. Schwartz. 1999. “Shackled in the Land of Liberty: No Rights for Children.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 564:37-55.

Morrison, Harriet R. and Beverly D. Epps.  2002.  “Warehousing or Rehabilitation?  Public Schooling in the Juvenile Justice System”.  The Journal of Negro Education 71:218-232.

Neighborhood Profiles. In NeighborhoodInfo DC. Retrieved October 13, 2009, from  http://www.neighborhoodinfodc.org/ .

National Institute for Correctional Education (NICE). (2004). “Correctional Education at a Glance” . Indiana, PA: Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Lipsey, Mark L. 1992.  Pp. 83-127 in “Juvenile Delinquency Treatment: A Meta-Analytic Inquiry into the Variability of Effects,” in Meta-Analysis for Explanation: A Casebook. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

O’Connor, Gerald G. 1970. “The Impact of Initial Detention upon Male Delinquents.”  Social Problems 18(2):194-199.

Parent,  Dale G. 1994.  “Conditions of confinement: Juvenile Detention and Correctional Facilities”.  Washington, DC: United States Dept. of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Rojek, Dean G. and Maynard L. Erickson. 1981-1982. “Reforming the Juvenile Justice System: The Diversion of Status Offenders.” Law & Society Review 16(2):241-264.

Roush, David W.  1996.  Desktop Guide to Good Juvenile Detention Practice.  Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Simpson, Anna L. 1976. “Rehabilitation as the Justification of a Separate Juvenile Justice System.” California Law Review 64(4):984-1017.

Snyder, Howard N. and Melissa Sickmund. 1999. “Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report.” Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Steketee, M. W., D. A. Willis, and Ira M. Schwartz.  1989.   Juvenile Justice Trends 1977-1987 .  Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Styve, Gaylene J., Doris Layton MacKenzie, Angela R. Gover, and Oimarrh Mitchell. 2000. “Perceived Conditions of Confinement: A National Evaluation of Juvenile Boot Camps and Traditional Facilities.” Law and Human Behavior 24(3):297-308.

Zimring, Franklin E. 2000. “The Common Thread: Diversion in Juvenile Justice.”  California Law Review 88(6):2477-2495.

My project is entitled “Juvenile Justice in DC: The History of Rehabilitation”.  I am studying the evolution of the juvenile justice system in DC and its transformation from a rehabilitative approach to a punitive approach, and its recent efforts to transition back to rehabilitation

You can use the page links to the right –> to navigate the different components of the project.

Here are some links to related organizations:

Campaign for Youth Justice

Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services

Portfolio Pages

Recent Journal Entries

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Juvenile Delinquency Research Paper

This sample juvenile delinquency research paper features: 6300 words (approx. 21 pages), an outline, and a bibliography with 76 sources. Browse other research paper examples for more inspiration. If you need a thorough research paper written according to all the academic standards, you can always turn to our experienced writers for help. This is how your paper can get an A! Feel free to contact our writing service for professional assistance. We offer high-quality assignments for reasonable rates.


Juveniles placed in institutions, creation of the juvenile court, influence of positivism, the emergence of sociological theory, peers and gangs, the use of drugs and its relationship to delinquent behavior, biological explanations of delinquent behavior, psychological explanations of delinquent behavior, sociological explanations of delinquent behavior, is delinquent behavior rational, developmental paths of delinquency, human agency and delinquency across the life course, gender and delinquent behavior, delinquency prevention.

Juvenile delinquency—crimes committed by young people—constitute, by recent estimates, nearly one fifth of the crimes against people and one-third of the property crimes in the United States. The high incidence of juvenile crime makes the study of juvenile delinquency vital to an understanding of American society. The Uniform Crime Reports, juvenile court statistics, cohort studies, self-report studies, and victimization surveys are the major sources of data used to measure the extent and nature of delinquent behavior. These forms of examination have generally agreed on the following findings:

The number of juvenile homicides has been going down since the mid-1990s. Philip J. Cook and John Laub (1998) found that a changing context, as well as a more limited availability of guns, helped explain the reduced rate of juvenile homicides. Cook and Laub predicted that this changing context would continue to decrease youth homicides in the immediate future. Cook and Jens Ludwig (2004) and Anthony A. Braga (2003) also identified the high correlation between gun ownership and juvenile homicides.

The study of juvenile delinquency is full of conflicting positions. There are those who believe that this area of study should be limited to the theories of why juveniles become involved with crime. Others contend that the study of delinquency also ought to include the environmental influences on juvenile crime, such as the family, school, peer and gang participation, and drug involvements. Still others conclude that the study of delinquency should include the social control of juvenile crime, as well as causation theories and environmental influences.

The study of delinquency has clearly changed over the years. Throughout the twentieth century, delinquency studies became more interdisciplinary, more concerned about the integration with other theories, more methodologically sophisticated, and more focused on long-term follow-up of juveniles, sometimes for several decades. The importance of human agency and delinquency across the life course, both of which rose in theoretical importance during the 1990s, are generating considerable excitement in the early years of the twenty-first century.

The main concerns of this research paper are the origins of the study of delinquency; the emergence of sociological theory; the environmental influences on delinquency; the biological, psychological, and sociological theories that have influenced the field of delinquency; the interdisciplinary theories that are affecting the study of juvenile delinquency; and the prospects for future developments.

Origins of the Study of Juvenile Delinquency

What to do with wayward juveniles has long been a concern of American society. Before the end of the eighteenth century, the family was believed to be the source of cause of deviancy, and therefore, the idea emerged that perhaps the well-adjusted family could provide the model for a correctional institution for children. The house of refuge, the first juvenile institution, reflected the family model wholeheartedly; it was designed to bring the order, discipline, and care of the family into institutional life. The institution was to become the home, the peers, the siblings, the staff, and the parents (Rothman 1971).

The New York House of Refuge, which opened on January 1, 1825, with six girls and three boys, is generally acknowledged as the first house of refuge. Over the next decade, Bangor, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Mobile, Philadelphia, and Richmond followed suit in establishing houses of refuge. Twenty-three schools were chartered in the 1830s and another 30 in the 1840s. Some houses of refuge were established by private agencies, some by state governments or legislatures, and some jointly by public authorities and private organizations (Rothman 1971).

One of the changes in juvenile institutions throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century was the development of the cottage system. Eventually called “training schools” or “industrial schools,” these institutions would house smaller groups of youths in separate buildings, usually no more than 20–40 youths per cottage. House parents, typically a man and his wife, constituted the staff in these cottages. Early cottages were log cabins; later cottages were constructed from brick or stone.

Barbara M. Brenzel’s (1983) study of the State Industrial School for Girls in Lancaster, Massachusetts, the first state reform school for girls in the United States, revealed the growing disillusionment in the mid- to late nineteenth century regarding training schools. Intended as a model reform effort, Lancaster was the first “familystyle” institution in the United States and embodied new theories about the reformation of youths. However, an “examination of a reform institution during the second half of the nineteenth century reveals the evolution from reformist visions and optimistic goals at mid-century to pessimism and ‘scientific’ determinism at the century’s close” (p. 1). Brenzel added that “the mid-century ideal of rehabilitative care changed to the principle of rigid training and custodial care by the 1880s and remained so into the early twentieth century” (pp. 4–5).

During the final decades of the nineteenth century, the Progressive Reformers viewed childhood as a period of dependency and exclusion from the adult world. To institutionalize childhood, they enacted a number of “child saving” laws, including child labor and compulsory school attendance laws. The juvenile court was viewed as another means to achieve unparalleled age segregation of children (Feld 1999). The following are a number of contextual factors that influenced the creation of this court.

Legal Context

The juvenile court was founded in Cook County (Chicago), Illinois, in 1899, when the Illinois legislature passed the Juvenile Court Act, and later that year was established in Denver, Colorado. The parens patriae doctrine provided a legal catalyst for the creation of the juvenile court, furnishing a rationale for use of informal procedures for dealing with juveniles and for expanding state power over the lives of children.

Political Context

In the Child Savers, Anthony Platt (1977) developed the political context of the origin of the juvenile court. He stated that the juvenile court was established in Chicago and later elsewhere because it satisfied several middleclass interest groups. He saw the juvenile court as an expression of middle-class values and of the philosophy of conservative political groups. In denying that the juvenile court was revolutionary, Platt charged that

the child-saving movement was not so much a break with the past as an affirmation of faith in traditional institutions. . . . What seemingly began as a movement to humanize the lives of adolescents soon developed into a program of moral absolutism through which youths were to be saved from movies, pornography, cigarettes, alcohol, and anything else which might possibly rob them of their innocence. (Pp. 98–99)

Economic Context

Platt (1977) argued that the behaviors that the child savers selected to be penalized—such as roaming the streets, drinking, fighting, engaging in sex, frequenting dance halls, and staying out late at night—were found primarily among lower-class children. Accordingly, juvenile justice from it inception, he contended, reflected class favoritism that resulted in the frequent processing of poor children through the system while middle- and upper-class children were more likely to be excused.

Sociocultural Context

The social conditions that were present during the final decades of the nineteenth century were the catalysts that led to the founding of the juvenile court. One social condition was that citizens became increasingly incensed by the treatment of children, especially the policy of jailing children with adults. Another social condition was that the higher status given middle-class women made them interested in exerting their newfound influence to improve the lives of children (Faust and Brantingham 1974).

These pressures for social change took place in the midst of a wave of optimism that swept through the United States during the Progressive Era, the period from 1899 to 1920. The emerging social sciences assured reformers that their problems with delinquents could be solved through positivism. According to positivism, youths were not responsible for their behavior and required treatment rather than punishment.

The concept of the juvenile court spread rapidly across the United States; by 1928, only two states did not have a juvenile court statute. In Cook County, the amendments that followed the original act brought the neglected, the dependent, and the delinquent together under one roof. The “delinquent” category comprised both status offenders and actual violators of criminal law.

Urban juveniles courts, especially, had clinics that provided psychological services for those youths referred to them by the juvenile court. Those who provided such services in the clinics were psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, or psychiatric social workers. The treatment modality that was frequently used was various versions of Freudian psychoanalysis. Typically, in a one-to-one relationship with a therapist, youths in trouble were encouraged to talk about past conflicts that caused them to express emotional problems through aggressive or antisocial behavior. The insights that youths gained from this psychotherapy were intended to help them resolve the conflicts and unconscious needs that drove them to crime. As a final step of psychotherapy, youths would become responsible for their behaviors.

From the second decade of the twentieth century, the Chicago School of Sociology developed a sociological approach to delinquency that differed greatly from that found in psychological positivism. The intellectual movement of social disorganization theory came out of this Chicago school. To William I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki (1927), social disorganization reflected the influence of an urban, industrial setting on the ability of immigrant subcultures, particularly parents, to socialize and effectively control their children. S. P. Breckinridge and Edith Abbott (1970) contributed the idea of plotting “delinquency maps.” Frederick M. Thrasher (1927) viewed the youth gang as a substitute socializing institution whose function was to provide order, or social organization where there was none, or social disorganization.

Clifford R. Shaw and Henry D. McKay extended social disorganization by focusing specifically on the social characteristics of the community as a cause of delinquency. Their pioneering investigations established that delinquency varied in inverse proportion to the distance from the center of the city, that it varied inversely with socioeconomic status, and that delinquency rates in a residential area persisted regardless of changes in racial and ethic composition of the area (Reiss 1976).

Shaw and McKay viewed juvenile delinquency as resulting from the breakdown of social control among the traditional primary groups, such as the family and the neighborhood, because of the social disorganization of the community. Urbanization, rapid industrialization, and immigration processes contributed to the disorganization of the community. Thus, delinquent behavior became an alternative mode of socialization through which youths who grew up in disorganized communities were attracted to deviant lifestyles (Finestone 1976).

Shaw and McKay turned to ecology to show this relationship between social disorganization and delinquency. Shaw (1929) reported that marked variations of school truancy, juvenile delinquency, and adult criminality existed among different areas in Chicago. Shaw found that the nearer a given locality was to the center of the city, the higher its rates of delinquency and crime. Shaw further found that areas of concentrated crime maintained their high rates over a long period, even when the composition of the population changed markedly. Shaw and McKay (1931), in a study performed for the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, reported that this basic ecological finding was also true for a number of other cities.

In their classic work Juvenile Delinquency and Urban Areas, Shaw and McKay (1942) developed these ecological insights in greater scope and depth. They studied males who were brought into the Cook County juvenile court on delinquency charges in 1900–1906, 1917–1923, and 1927–1933. Over this 33-year period, they discovered that the vast majority of the delinquent boys came from either an area adjacent to the central business and industrial areas or along two forks of the Chicago River. Then, applying Burgess’s concentric zone hypothesis of urban growth, they measured delinquency rates by zone and by areas within the zone. They found that in all three periods, the highest rates of delinquency were in Zone I (the central city), the next highest in Zone II (next to the central city), in progressive steps outward to the lowest in Zone V. Significantly, although the delinquency rates changed from one period to the next, the relationship among the different zones remained constant, even though in some neighborhoods the ethnic compositions of the population changed totally.

Shaw and McKay eventually refocused their analysis from the influence of social disorganization of the community to the importance of economics on high rates of delinquency. They found that the economic and occupational structure of the larger society was more influential in the rise of delinquent behavior than was the social life of the local community. They concluded that the reason members of lower-class groups remained in the inner-city community was less a reflection of their newness of arrival and their lack of acculturation to American institutions than it was a function of their class position in society (Finestone 1976).

Environmental Influences on Juvenile Delinquency

The importance of the Shaw and McKay tradition of the environment and community has long remained in the study of delinquency. An examination of the relationship between the family and delinquency, school performance and delinquency, drug use and delinquency, and participation in gangs and delinquency are generally found in studies of environmental influences on delinquency.

In the midst of conflicting findings about the relationship between delinquency and the family, the following observations have received wide support:

Studies have found that the school is a critical context, or arena, of learning delinquent behavior. For example, Eugene Maguin and Rolf Loeber’s (1996) meta-analysis found that “children with lower academic performance offended more frequently, committed more serious and violent offenses, and persisted in their offending” (p. 15).

The extent of delinquency in the school, including vandalism, violence, gangs, and the use of drugs, has received considerable examination (Bartollas 2006). The consequences of dropping out of school have also been investigated (Jarjoura 1993). In addition, there have been a number of efforts to improve the quality of the school experience. The development of alternative schools, the process of designing effective school-based violenceprevention programs, and the process of developing more positive school-community relationships have been three of the most promising intervention strategies in the school setting (Bartollas 2006).

Researchers usually agree that most delinquent behavior, particularly more violent forms, takes place in groups, but they disagree on the quality of relationships within delinquent groups and on the influence of groups on delinquent behavior (Breckinridge and Abbott 1970; Piper 1985). There is still debate on several theoretical questions about groups and delinquency: How do delinquent peers influence each other? What causes the initial attraction to delinquent groups? What do delinquents receive from these friendships that result in continuing them?

Youth gangs represent one of the most serious forms of delinquency groups. Frederick Thrasher’s (1927) definition of gangs is still one of the best definitions:

A gang is an interstitial group originally formed spontaneously and then integrated through conflict. It is characterized by the following types of behavior: meeting face to face, milling, movement through space as a unit, conflict and planning. The result of this collective behavior is the development of tradition, unreflective, internal structure, esprit de corps, solidarity, morale, group awareness, and attachment to local territory. (P. 57)

Juveniles are involved in urban street gangs, where they are typically a minority of the membership. However, they make up nearly the total membership of emerging gangs that spread across the United States in the late 1980s and early 1990s. What has received considerable documentation is that law-violating behaviors increase with gang activities, that core members are involved in more serious delinquent acts than are fringe members, and that gang activities contribute to a pattern of violent behavior (Wolfgang, Thornberry, and Figlio 1987; Battin-Pearson et al. 1998; Miller 2001; Miller and Decker 2001).

Drug and alcohol use and juvenile delinquency have been identified as the most serious problem behaviors of juveniles. The good news is that substance abuse among adolescents has dropped significantly since the late 1970s. The bad news is that drug use has significantly increased among high-risk youths and is becoming commonly linked to juvenile delinquency (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2004; Johnston et al. 2004). In addition, more adolescents are selling drugs than ever before in the history of this nation. Moreover, the spread of AIDS within populations of drug users and their sex partners promises to make the problem of substance abuse even more difficult to control.

The Biological, Psychological, and Sociological Theories

A number of theoretical answers have been given to the continually raised question: Why do juveniles commit crime? Early in the twentieth century, biological and psychological causes of delinquent behavior received more attention. In the last two-thirds of the twentieth century, sociological explanations to delinquency behavior received greater support with students of delinquency.

The belief in a biological explanation for criminality has a long history. Early approaches attempted to pinpoint the source of criminality in physical anomalities (Lombroso-Ferrero 1972), genealogical deficiencies (Shah and Roth 1974), and theories of human somatotypes or body types (Glueck and Glueck 1956; Cortes 1972). More recently, research has stressed the interaction between the biological factors within an individual and the influence of the particular environment. Supporters of this form of biological positivism claim that what produces delinquent behavior, like other behaviors, is a combination of genetic traits and social conditions. Recent advances in experimental behavior genetics, human population genetics, knowledge of the biochemistry of the nervous system, experimental and clinical endocrinology and neurophysiology, and other related areas have led to more sophisticated knowledge of the way in which the environment and human genetics interact to affect the growth, development, and functioning of the human organism (Shah and Roth 1974; Fishbein 1990).

Psychological factors have long been popular in the positivist approach to the cause of juvenile delinquency because the very nature of parens patriae philosophy requires treatment of youths who are involved in various forms of delinquency. Psychoanalytic (Freudian) theory was first used with delinquents, but more recently other behavioral and humanistic schools of psychology have been applied to the problem of the illegal behaviors of juveniles. For example, some researchers in the 1980s and 1990s addressed the relationship between sensation seeking and crime (White, Labouvie, and Bates 1985; Fishbein 1990). Jack Katz’s (1988) Seductions of Crime conjectures that when individuals commit crime, they become involved in “an emotional process—seductions and compulsions that have special dynamics” (p. 9). It is this “magical” and “transformative” experience that makes crime “sensible,” even “sensually compelling.” James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrnstein’s (1985) Crime and Human Nature is another example of the influence of psychological factors on criminal or delinquent behaviors. They consider potential causes of crime and noncrime within the context of reinforcement theory, that is, the theory that behavior is governed by its consequent rewards and punishments, as reflected in the history of the individual. The rewards of crime, according to Wilson and Herrnstein (1985), are found in the form of material gain, revenge against an enemy, peer approval, and sexual gratification. The consequences of crime include pangs of conscience, disapproval of peers, revenge by the victim, and, most important, the possibility of punishment.

Sociological theories related to delinquency causation have been grouped in a number of ways; the following sections will group them in structural theories of delinquency causation, process theories of delinquency causation, reaction theories of delinquency causation, and integrated theories of delinquency causation.

Structural Theories of Delinquency Causation

The setting for delinquency, as proposed by social structural theories, is the social and cultural environment in which juveniles grow up or the subcultural groups in which they choose to become involved. Using official statistics as their guide, these analysts claim that such forces as social disorganization, cultural deviance, status frustration, and social mobility are so powerful that they induce youths, especially lower-class ones, to become involved in delinquent behavior. Strain theory is a structural theory that has been widely applied to explaining delinquent behavior. Robert K. Merton’s theory of anomie, Albert K. Cohen’s theory of delinquent subcultures, and Richard A. Cloward and Lloyd E. Ohlin’s opportunity theory are the most widely cited strain theories. Merton (1957) examined how deviant behavior is produced by different social structures. His primary aim was to discover how some social structures exerted pressure upon individuals in the society to engage in nonconforming rather than conforming behavior. Cohen’s (1955) thesis in his book Delinquent Boys: The Culture of the Gang was that lower-class youths are actually protesting against the goals of middle-class culture, but they experience status frustration, or strain, because they are unable to attain these goals. Cloward and Ohlin (1960) conceptualized success and status as separate strivings that can operate independently of each other. They portrayed delinquents who seek an increase in status as striving for membership in the middle class, whereas other delinquent youths try to improve their economic post without changing their class position.

Social Process Theories of Delinquency Causation

Social process theories of delinquency causation examine the interactions between individuals and the environment that influence them to become involved in delinquent behaviors. Differential association, drift, and social control theories became popular in the 1960s because they provided a theoretical mechanism for the translation of environmental factors into individual motivation. Edwin H. Sutherland’s (1947) formulation of differential association theory proposes that delinquents learn crime from others. His basic premise was that delinquency, like any other form of behavior, is a product of social interaction. In developing the theory of differential association, Sutherland contended that individuals are constantly being changed as they take on the expectations and points of view of the people with whom they interact in small, intimate groups. The process of becoming a delinquent, David Matza (1964) says, begins when an adolescent neutralizes himself or herself from the moral bounds of the law and drifts into delinquency. Drift, according to Matza, means that “the delinquent transiently exists in limbo between convention and crime, responding in turn to the demands of each, flirting now with one, now the other, but postponing commitment, evading decision. Thus he drifts between criminal and conventional action” (p. 28). Walter C. Reckless’s (1961) control theory is based on the assumption that strong inner containment and reinforcing external containment provide insulation against deviant behavior. Travis Hirschi’s (1967) Causes of Delinquency linked delinquent behavior to the quality of the bond an individual maintains with society, stating that “delinquent acts result when an individual’s bond to society is weak or broken” (p. 16). He argues that humans’ basic impulses motivate them to become involved in crime and delinquency unless there is reason for them to refrain from such behavior.

Social Reaction Theories of Delinquency Causation

Labeling theory, symbolic interactionst theory of delinquency, and conflict theory can be viewed as social reaction theories of delinquency causation because they focus on the role that social and economic groups and institutions have in producing delinquent behavior. The labeling perspective, whose peak of popularity was in the 1960s and 1970s, is based on the premise that society creates deviance by labeling those who are different from other individuals, when in fact they are different merely because they have been tagged with a deviant label part played by social audiences and their responses to the norm violations of juveniles (Tannenbaum 1938; Lemert 1951; Becker 1963; Triplett and Jarjoura 1994). Ross L. Matsueda (1992) and Karen Heimer (1995) have developed a symbolic interactionist theory of delinquency. This interactionist perspective “presupposes that the social order is the product of an ongoing process of social interaction and communication” (Matsueda 1992:1580). What is “of central importance is the process by which shared meanings, behavioral expectations, and reflected appraisals are built up in interaction and applied to behavior” (p. 1580). The conflict perspective views social control as an outcome of the differential distribution of economic and political power in society; thus, laws are seen as creation by the powerful for their own benefit (Shichor 1980). Conflict criminology has a great deal of variation; some theories emphasize the importance of socioeconomic class, some focus primarily on power and authority relationships, and others emphasize group and cultural conflict.

Integrated Theory

The theoretical development of integrated explanations of delinquency in the 1980s and 1990s has made a significant contribution to the understanding of delinquent behavior. Theory integration usually implies the combination of two or more existing theories on the basis of their perceived commonalities. Three of the better-known integrated theories are Michael R. Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi’s (1990) general theory of crime; Delbert S. Elliot, Suzanne A. Ageton, and Rachelle J. Canter’s (1979) integrated social process theory; and Terence P. Thornberry’s (1987) interactional theory.

In A General Theory of Crime, Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) define lack of self-control as the common factor underlying problem behaviors. Thus, self-control is the degree to which an individual is “vulnerable to the temptations of the moment.” The other pivotal construct in this theory of crime is crime opportunity, which is a function of the structural or situational circumstances encountered by the individuals (Grasmick et al. 1993).

Elliott et al. (1979) offer “an explanatory model that expands and synthesizes traditional strain, social control, and social learning perspectives into a single paradigm that accounts for delinquent behavior and drug use” (p. 11). They argue that all three theories are flawed in explaining delinquent behavior. Integrating the strongest features of these theories into a single theoretical model, Elliott and colleagues theorize that there is a high probability of involvement in delinquent behavior when bonding to delinquent groups is combined with weak bonding to conventional groups. In Thornberry’s interaction theory of delinquency, the initial impetus toward delinquency comes from a weaning of the person’s bond to conventional society, represented by attachment to parents, commitment to school, and belief in conventional values. Associations with delinquent peers and delinquent values make up the social settling in which delinquency, especially prolonged serious delinquency, is learned and reinforced. These two variables, along with delinquent behavior itself, form a mutually reinforcing casual loop that leads toward increasing delinquency involvement over time (Thornberry 1987, 1989; Thornberry et al. 2003) (Table 1).

     Table 1

Juvenile Delinquency Research Paper

In the 1970s and 1980s, a variety of academic areas, including the sociology of deviance, criminology, economics, and cognitive psychology, began to view crime as the outcome of rational choices and decisions. The ecological tradition in criminology and the economic theory of markets, especially, have applied the notion of rational choice to crime.

Rational choice theory, borrowed primarily from the utility model in economics, was one area of intense interest during the 1980s and 1990s, especially within criminology, sociology, political science, and law. Rational choice theory, an extension of the deterrence doctrine of the classical school, includes incentives as well as deterrents and focuses on the calculation of payoffs and costs before delinquent and criminal acts are committed (Cornish and Clarke 1986; Akers 1990).

An analysis of delinquent behavior leads to the conclusion that antisocial behavior often appears rational and purposeful. Some delinquents clearly engage in delinquent behavior because of the low cost or risk of such behavior. The low risk comes from the parens patriae philosophy that is based on the presumption of innocence for the very young, as well as of reduced responsibility for those up to their midadolescence. Thus, in early adolescence, the potential costs of all but the most serious forms of delinquent behavior are relatively slight.

Conclusion and Prospects for the 21st Century

The development of both sociology and juvenile delinquency was influenced by the rise of the Chicago School of Sociology early in the twentieth century. With this common background, it is not surprising that juvenile delinquency has been so closely related to the discipline of sociology. Juvenile delinquency has been taught in the majority of sociology departments, as well as in many criminology or criminal justice programs in university settings and community colleges. The study of juvenile delinquency is further indebted to sociology because so many of the theories of delinquency causation are sociological theories of crime. Even though the study of juvenile delinquency has become interdisciplinary, sociological principles and theories remain critical in understanding the field of delinquency. Indeed, the new trends in delinquency, such as human agency and delinquency across the life course, are adapted from theoretical and empirical contributions largely taken from the field of sociology.

The prospects for the study of delinquency in the twenty-first century are vibrant and exciting.

Some of the emphases that will guide the study of delinquency are the examination of the development paths of delinquent behavior, a continued examination of human agency and delinquency across the life course, an investigation of the ways in which gender affects the study of delinquency, and a renewed search for more effective means of delinquency prevention.

One of the most exciting aspects about the study of juvenile delinquency today is the increasing number of developmental studies that have followed youth cohorts for a few years or even decades. One of the most widely respected of these studies is the research done by Terrie E. Moffitt and colleagues. For example, Moffitt, Donald R. Lynam, and Phil A. Silva’s (1994) examination of the neuropsychological status of several hundred New Zealand males between the ages of 13 and 18 found that poor neuropsychological scores “were associated with early onset of delinquency” but were “unrelated to delinquency that began in adolescence” (p. 277). Moffitt’s (1993) developmental theory views delinquency as proceeding along two developmental paths. On one path, children develop a lifelong path of delinquency and crime as early as age 3. They may begin to bite and hit shoplift and be truant at age 10, sell drugs and steal cars at age 16, rob and rape at age 22, and commit fraud and child abuse at age 30. These “life-course-persistent” (LCP) delinquents, according to Moffitt, continue their illegal acts throughout the conditions and situations they face. During childhood, they may also exhibit such neuropsychological problems as deficit disorders or hyperactivity and learning problems in schools.

On the other path, the majority of delinquents begin offending during the adolescent years and desist from delinquent behaviors around the 18th birthday. Moffitt refers to these youthful offenders as “adolescent-limited” (AL) delinquents. The early and persistent problems found with members of the LCP group are not found with the AL delinquents. Yet the frequency of offending and even the violence of offending during the adolescent years may be as high as the LCP. Moffitt notes that the AL antisocial behavior is learned from peers and sustained through peerbased rewards and reinforcements. AL delinquents continue in delinquent acts as long as such behaviors appear profitable or rewarding to them, but they have the ability to abandon those behaviors when prosocial styles become more rewarding (Moffitt 1993; Moffitt et al. 2001).

This enormous database of these developmental studies has contributed to the examination of such subjects as the importance of human agency in the lives of youths and later when they become adults and to delinquency or crime across the life course. Human agency refers to the importance given to juveniles who are not only acted upon by social influence and structural constraints but who make choices and decisions based on the alternatives that they see before them. Symbolic interactionism and life history studies have long acknowledged the importance of agency and rationality, and rational choice and routine activities research have more recently placed an importance on rationality in delinquent and criminal behavior. However, it has been the increased attention given to the life course in both sociology and delinquency studies that has sparked a dramatic resurgence of interest in agency in contemporary research.

The various perspectives on the life course relate individuals to their broader social context, but within the constraints of their world, individuals make choices among options that are available to them. It is these decisions that are so important in constructing their life course. Delinquency across the life course has been examined extensively by Robert J. Sampson and James H. Laub’s reanalysis of the Gluecks’ data (Sampson and Laub 1993; Laub and Sampson 2003). This perspective of delinquency and crime across the life course has been employed in studies of the effects of youth gangs, faulty family relationships, poor performance in school, drug use, and gender variations in youth offending (Bartollas 2006).

Moreover, this interactive process develops over the person’s life cycle. During early adolescence, the family is the most influential factor in bonding the youngster to conventional society and reducing delinquency. But as the youth matures and moves through middle adolescence, the world of friends, school, and youth culture becomes the dominant influence over behavior. Finally, as the person enters adulthood, commitment to conventional activities, and to family, especially, offers new avenues to reshape the person’s bond to society and involvement with delinquent behavior (Thornberry 1987; Krohn et al. 2001).

The study of delinquency has been traditionally shaped by male experiences and understanding of the social world (Daly and Chesney-Lind 1988). Carol Smart (1976) and Dorie Klein (1995) were two early criminologists to suggest that a feminist criminology should be formulated because of the neglect of the feminist perspective in classical delinquency theory. Feminist criminologists have been quick to agree that adolescent females have different experiences compared with adolescent males. They generally support that females are more controlled than males, enjoy more social support, are less disposed to crime, and have fewer opportunities for certain types of crimes (Mazerolle 1998).

However, feminist criminologists disagree on how the male-oriented approach to delinquency should be handled. One approach focuses on the question of generalizability. In research on samples that include males and females, a routine strategy for those who emphasize cross-gender similarities is to test whether the given theoretical constructs account for the offending of both groups and to pay little attention to how gender itself might intersect with other factors to create different meanings in the lives of males and females. Those who support this gender-neutral position have generally examined such subjects as the family, social bonding, social learning, delinquent peer relationships, and, to a lesser degree, deterrence and strain (Daly 1995).

In contrast, other feminist theorists argue that new theoretical efforts are needed to help us understand female delinquency and women’s involvement in adult crime. Eileen Leonard (1995), for example, questioned whether anomie, differential association, labeling, and Marist theories can be used to explain the crime patterns of women. She concluded that these traditional theories do not work for explaining female offending. Meda ChesneyLind’s (1989, 1995) application of the male-oriented theories to female delinquency has argued that existing delinquency theories are inadequate to explain female delinquency. She suggested that there is a need for a feminist model of delinquency, because a patriarchal context has shaped the explanations and handling of female delinquents and status offenders. What this means is that adolescent females’ sexual and physical victimizations at home and the relationship between these experiences and their crimes have been systematically ignored.

Delinquency prevention has a long but somewhat disappointing history. The best-known models of delinquency prevention have included the Boston’s Mid-city Project, Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study in Massachusetts, Chicago Area Projects, La Playa de Ponce in Puerto Rico, New York City Youth Board, and Walter C. Reckless and Simon Dinitz’s self-concept studies in Columbus, Ohio. A number of studies have examined the effectiveness of these delinquency-prevention programs and have generally found that few studies showed significant results (Lundman, McFarlane, and Scarpitti 1976; Lundman and Scarpitti 1978).

Beginning in the 1980s and continuing to the present, a number of new delinquency-prevention efforts have been established. The Blueprints for Violence Prevention, developed by the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado–Boulder and supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, identified 11 model programs, as well as a number of promising violence-prevention and drug abuse programs. The identified model programs were Big Brothers Big Sisters of America; Bully Prevention Program; Functional Family Therapy (FFT); Incredible Years: Parent, Teacher, and Child Training Series; Life Skills Training; Midwestern Prevention Project; Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC); Multisystemic Therapy (MST); Nurse-Family Partnership; Project Towards No Drug Abuse; and Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (Mihalic et al. 2004).

The popularity of delinquency-prevention programs, of course, is found in the realization that the most desirable strategy is to prevent delinquent behavior before it can occur. Even though delinquency-prevention programs have generally fallen short of controlling youth crime, there is every reason to believe that renewed efforts will be continued throughout the twenty-first century.



research proposal juvenile delinquency


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Prevention and Early Intervention

Typically, juvenile delinquency follows a trajectory similar to that of normal adolescent development. In other words, children and youth tend to follow a path toward delinquent and criminal behavior rather than engaging randomly. 1  Research has shown that there are two types of delinquents,

Individuals whose antisocial behavior begins in early childhood are two to three times more likely to perpetrate more severe and violent repeat offenses than youth whose delinquent behaviors begin in adolescence. 3

Early Intervention

Considering the growing body of research, we now know that the better and more cost-effective place to stop the “cradle to prison pipeline” is as close to the beginning of that pipeline as possible. Early intervention prevents the onset of delinquent behavior and supports the development of a youth’s assets and resilience. 4 It also decreases rates of recidivism by a significant 16 percent when youth do go on to engage with the justice system. 5 While many past approaches focus on remediating visible and/or longstanding disruptive behavior, research has shown that prevention and early intervention are more effective. 6

In addition to societal and personal benefits, research has demonstrated that delinquency prevention programs are a good financial investment. For example, a 2001 Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) study found that the total benefits of effective prevention programs were greater than their costs. More recent research by WSIPP found that sound delinquency-prevention programs can save taxpayers seven to ten dollars for every dollar invested, primarily due to reductions in the amount spent on incarceration.

Intervening early “not only saves young lives from being wasted,” but also prevents the onset of adult criminal careers and reduces the likelihood of youth perpetrating serious and violent offenses. This in turn reduces the burden of crime on society and saves taxpayers billions of dollars. 7

The Interagency Working Group for Youth Programs defines positive youth development as “an intentional, pro-social approach that engages youth within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a manner that is productive and constructive; recognizes, utilizes, and enhances youths' strengths; and promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths.”

Positive Youth Development

Researchers have promoted a positive youth development model to address the needs of youth who might be at risk of entering the juvenile justice system.

One positive youth development model addresses the six life domains of work, education, relationships, community, health, and creativity. The two key assets needed by all youth are (1) learning/doing and (2) attaching/belonging. When the necessary supports and services are provided to assist youth in the six life domains, it is expected that positive outcomes will result. 8

What are Effective Programs?

Under this prevention and early intervention framework, an increasing body of research is being conducted to determine which existing programs are truly effective. Current literature indicates that effective programs are those that aim to act as early as possible and focus on known risk factors and the behavioral development of juveniles. 9 In general, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention recommends that the following types of school and community prevention programs be employed:

1 Kendziora & Osher, 2004 2 Silverthorn & Frick, 1999 3 Flores, 2003 4 Osher, Quinn, Poirier, & Rutherford, 2003 5 Farrington, 2012 6 Loeber, Farrington, & Petechuk, 2003 7 Greenwood, 2008, p. 186 8 Butts, Bazemore, & Meroe, 2010 9 Loeber, Farrington, & Petechuk, 2003

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Youth Transitioning to Adulthood: How Holding Early Leadership Positions Can Mak

Research links early leadership with increased self-efficacy and suggests that leadership can help youth to develop decision making and interpersonal skills that support successes in the workforce and adulthood. In addition, young leaders tend to be more involved in their communities, and have lower dropout rates than their peers. Youth leaders also show considerable benefits for their communities, providing valuable insight into the needs and interests of young people

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research proposal juvenile delinquency

Reducing juvenile delinquency and recidivism: Project 1H Proposal


California State University, Bakersfield

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Research Proposal: Juvenile Delinquency and the Social and Home Environment: Girls

The following sample criminal justice research proposal is 2217 words long, in apa format, and written at the undergraduate level. it has been downloaded 4519 times and is available for you to use, free of charge., send via email, introduction.

There is no one path to juvenile delinquency, nor is there one perfect storm of factors that will absolutely ensure that a child does (or does not) become a juvenile delinquent. It is generally accepted within the research community, however, that early experiences strongly shape an individual’s behavior for years to come, and delinquent behavior is no exception to this rule. Thus, this research proposal focuses on environmental factors that a child experiences, and how those factors are related to juvenile delinquency.

A study of the environmental factors correlated with juvenile delinquency—and the extent of such correlation—is particularly important because delinquent behaviors that emerge during childhood typically continue to manifest (and usually worsen) as a child enters adolescent and adult years (Walters, 1998). This proposal examines the existing research on these factors and the current understanding of the complex relationship between the environment and juvenile delinquency. It then proposes to study a group typically ignored in this context: females. By better understanding the impact of the environment on female juvenile delinquents, this research can fill a gap in existing knowledge, which can ultimately better isolate the causes of delinquent behavior and eliminate or mitigate its effects.

Literature Review

This literature review examines existing research on factors in the home and social environments that are correlated with (and thus predictive of) juvenile delinquency. Over the past several decades, increases in reported juvenile delinquency have encouraged researchers to seek a deeper understanding of the phenomenon, including by studying those environmental factors in a child’s life which are correlated with such delinquency. Studies have speculated about which environmental factors—social, home-related, and otherwise—are predictive of juvenile delinquency, with a moderate body of literature substantiating some of these hypotheses. Generally, the home environment is most influential in shaping behavior in the earlier years of development, while the social environment becomes more influential (and the home environment correspondingly less influential) as a child enters adolescence (Loeber, Farrington, & Petechuk, 2003).

According to Walters (1998), young children often display problem behaviors if stressful or traumatic events are present in their environment. They will mimic what they see, and this early behavior is predictive of behavior in the future. Indeed, Walters (1998) found that, once adolescents have had the time to reflect upon traumatic events from earlier in life, they have an increased likelihood of acting out as a means of coping with this past trauma. Thus, the passage of time exacerbates the problem, rather than mitigating it.

Loeber et al. (2003) found that poor parenting early on remains a moderate predictor of delinquent behavior in adolescence, although poor parenting during childhood is more predictive of delinquent behavior in childhood, and poor parenting during adolescence is more predictive of delinquent behavior during adolescence. However, the impact of childhood experience upon delinquent behavior throughout adolescence (and indeed, throughout life) should not be underestimated. Indeed, Walters (1998) identified the presence of “maintaining” factors later in life such as substance use , which continues to fuel delinquent behavior beyond childhood. These factors are more likely to be present during adolescence if they were present during childhood. That is, if an individual is involved in delinquent behavior early on, this creates patterns, as the more often delinquent behavior is engaged in, the more likely it is to recur. Thus, the factors that initially make a child more likely to engage in delinquent behaviors also continue to render that individual more at risk, as such behavior becomes ritualistic and learned.

Happily, focus on this subject has resulted in multiple experiments. Because there have been so many, recent meta-analyses are helpful and instructive for identifying and summarizing trends in the research. Derzon’s (2005) meta-analysis considered home environment factors that are correlated with juvenile delinquency. He, like Loeber, et al. (2003) found that parent behavior is an incredibly significant influence upon such factors. Derzon (2005) identified parent education and expectations, home discord and stability, and parents' child-rearing skills as the family factors most closely correlated with juvenile delinquency. Similarly, Shader (2003) identified poor parenting skills—which often related to home discord, child maltreatment, and antisocial parents—as risk factors. Poor parenting predictive of delinquency often included aggressive and physically abusive parent behavior, including corporal punishment (Shader, 2003). Perhaps surprisingly, once other socioeconomic factors are controlled for, the increased prevalence of juvenile delinquency in populations of lower socioeconomic status is minimized.

Socially, Shader (2003) and others identified membership in a delinquent peer group as highly correlated with juvenile delinquency in an individual. This includes the presence of antisocial peers. The more time spent with  influential peers , particularly as opposed to peers who do not engage in delinquent behavior, the more likely an individual juvenile is to engage in such behavior. Similarly, Shader (2003) found that, though the relationship is less well-established, the higher the levels of poverty and crime in a neighborhood, the more likely a child who grows up in that neighborhood is to engage in delinquent behavior.

Limited research has been done on the role—if any—of gender in the relationship of environment to juvenile delinquency. Most of the existing research targeting particular genders has focused upon male juveniles. The little research that has focused on gender differences and juvenile delinquency was conducted by VanHulle, D'Onfrio, Rodgers, Waldman, & Lahey (2007). That study, which focused on siblings, sought to understand if girls or boys were more prone to delinquent behavior. It found that environmental influences have less effect on girls. This raises concern, however, that juvenile delinquency in girls will continue to be ignored, and studies will instead continue to focus on boys or not meaningfully consider gender.

Thus, this research proposal will focus on the home environment during the childhood years, as this has generally been identified as more influential on later behavior than the social environment at the same stage. Moreover, it will explore the role of gender in these home environment factors—as opposed to in the juvenile delinquents themselves. That is, it will focus upon female subjects, and will study subject responses to poor parenting in the home environment. Specifically, it will try to determine whether there is a relationship between the gender of an aggressive/violent parent and juvenile delinquency in females.

Research Question

Are female subjects more or less likely to exhibit juvenile delinquency depending on the gender of an aggressive/violent parent present in the home environment during childhood, assuming a two-parent household and assuming that the other parent is non-violent?

I hypothesize a relationship between the gender of a violent/aggressive parent and juvenile delinquency in girls. Specifically, I hypothesize that juvenile delinquency is more likely present in females exposed to a violent/aggressive father than a violent/aggressive mother.

This research proposal—and the literature review that informs it—is focused on the microsocial factors of home (family) and social (peer) environments. It ignores individual factors and macrosocial factors (such as socioeconomic status), in large part because the literature indicates that microsocial factors are the most susceptible to influence by intervention programs seeking to reduce juvenile delinquency. It is somewhat challenging to hypothesize about the answer to the research question, given that most existing research isolating gender has focused upon males. Even more novel is this study’s isolation of gender in the independent variable of parent behavior. After determining whether there is a relationship between gender in a violent/aggressive parent and juvenile delinquency in girls, later research could elaborate upon the nature of that relationship, and could also replicate the experiment with boys, and compare the results.

The hypothesis is based upon the basic Freudian and Oedipal psychological principles of inherent conflict and discord between mothers and daughters and inherent trust between fathers and daughters. Based upon these principles—which this experiment might help substantiated or refute—girls will be more likely to imitate a violent father than a violent mother, and more likely to reject the behavior of a violent mother than a violent father.

Methods of Data Collection. Longitudinal studies are best-suited for studying juvenile delinquency. Indeed, nearly all of the non-meta-analytical research that exists in this area was conducted using a longitudinal model. The drawback of longitudinal studies is the amount of time they take to complete: typically years, and even decades. In order to meaningfully consider the impact of different variables and to test a large enough sample to produce a statistically meaningful result, an enormous investment of resources is required.

This research proposal aims to adjust for that by recruiting subjects to self- report, and not attempting to over-standardize the violent/aggressive parent factor. In an initial intake survey, subjects will be asked a series of questions about whether their mother or father exhibited any of ten behaviors classified as violent or aggressive, and give a numerical score of how often. Each variable will have a predetermined weight based upon its severity (which will not be disclosed to the subject). Based upon their responses, subjects with one parent with a significant score on the “aggression continuum,” and the other parent with an insignificant score will be asked to continue on the study. This avoids the need to study a subject during childhood, and continue on into adolescence. Indeed, self-reporting will be at least as accurate as any other method of collecting this data, as real-time self-reporting by children is more likely to be lacking in veracity, and it would be difficult for performing live research to observe aggressive/violent behaviors in parents who might modify their behavior when they knew a researcher was watching.


Measurements. Measurements will be self-reported. Girls from two-parent households between the ages of 13 and 15 will be recruited from schools in urban areas throughout the American northeast. They will be offered $50 to take an initial anonymous research survey. The first survey will ask about experiences during childhood and ask questions to score whether the child had one aggressive/violent parent in the home, along with another non-aggressive/non-violent parent. The survey will also determine if that violent parent was male or female. Participants who grew up in a two-parent household with one violent parent and one non-violent parent will be asked to continue in the study. Those who continue in the study will complete an additional survey every two months for one year. Participants will repeatedly be assured of the anonymity of their responses and will be compensated $40 per survey for their participation. The surveys will ask about delinquent behavior, and how many times during the previous two months the participant has engaged in various delinquent acts. Each of the acts will also have numerical value based upon severity, and a total delinquency score will be calculated as a function of severity and frequency of the behavior over the course of the entire year of the study.

Sampling Technique. The research sample will be taken in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. This will allow the study to target areas with similar economic demographics while controlling for variables such as ethnicity. Beyond this, it will be random, sampling public school students who are female between 13 and 15 years old, all of whom were raised in a two-parent household where one parent was aggressive/violent and the other was not.

Analytic Strategy

The data will be analyzed by conducting two regression analyses. Each will plot the violent parent’s score on the “aggression continuum” (the independent variable under the hypotheses) on the X-axis, and plot the subjects’ delinquency score (considered the dependent variable under the hypothesis) on the Y-axis. One analysis will be conducted for the subjects with violent/aggressive mothers, and a separate analysis will be conducted for the subjects with violent/aggressive fathers. These analyses will then be compared to see if there is a significant interaction between covariates. A statistically significant covariate interaction of any nature will confirm the hypothesis, demonstrating that there is likely a relationship between the gender of a violent/aggressive parent and the prevalence of juvenile delinquent behavior in girls. A stronger correlation between violence/aggression in a female parent and juvenile delinquent behavior will further confirm the hypothesis that aggressive/violent female parents are more likely to produce juvenile delinquency in daughters. The opposite finding will refute this element of the hypothesis, and also pave the way for future study.

Derzon, J. H. (2005). Family features and problem, aggressive, criminal, or violent behavior: A meta-analytic inquiry. Unpublished manuscript. Calverton, MD: Pacific Institutes for Research and Evaluation.

Loeber, R., Farrington, D., & Petechuk, D.. 2003. Child delinquency: Early intervention and prevention. Child Delinquency: Bulletin Series.Washington DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Shader, M. 2003. Risk factors for delinquency: An overview. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Van Hulle, C. A., D'Onfrio, B. M., Rodgers, J. L., Waldman, I. D., & Lahey, B. B. (2007). Sex differences in the causes of self-Reported adolescent delinquency. Journal Of Abnormal Psychology, 116(2), 236-248.

Walters, G. (1998). Lives of crime and drugs: Intervening with substance-abusing offenders. New York: John Wiley & Sons.


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94 Juvenile Delinquency Essay Topics

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123 Juvenile Delinquency Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

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Research Proposals on Juvenile Delinquency

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Research proposal on juvenile delinquency.

January 5, 2013 UsefulResearchPapers Research Proposals 0

Juvenile delinquency, also known as juvenile offending, or youth crime, is participation in illegal behavior by minors (juveniles). The problem has been stressing since the dawn of the human civilization, because young people used to be active members of the criminal world. The most widespread crimes connected with the participation of young people are street fighting, robbery, etc. Evidently, juvenile delinquency ranges according to the age and sex of young people. Young men are much more likely to commit crimes, because of their physical peculiarities. Being tough, powerful, aggressive, daring and competitive becomes a way for young men to assert and express their masculinity. Acting out these ideals may make young men more likely to engage in antisocial and criminal behavior. Moreover, scholars present even racial differences concerning juvenile delinquency. It is obvious that Afro-American, Latino and Muslim teens who suffer from poverty, or low socio-economic status try to protest in some way and express their aggressive nature committing crimes.

We can write a Custom Research Proposal on Juvenile Delinquency for you!

The problem is urgent and important, because parents want their children to hold honourable and successful life but not to waste it in jail. Psychologists say that no matter what the types of juvenile delinquency are, the behavior and moral values of children, teens depend on the bringing up. If parents managed to bring up their child properly, he will hardly be able to commit crimes in future. Most of the criminals had difficult childhood and lack of parental attention, love and care. In order to understand the reasons of juvenile delinquency college and university students are offered to write research papers on the topic. A successful research proposal on juvenile delinquency and its prevention should contain detailed description of the reasons of the problem, the background of the illegal actions committed by teens and, of course, effective solutions of this problem.

When a student is asked to prepare a good research proposal, he should realize that he has to read much about the topic to realize its importance. Original free samples of research papers on juvenile delinquency and its reasons will be quite helpful in this case. He should not limit his research only reading books on law, but pay much attention to the psychological side of the problem to present the complete picture of the topic. Moreover, a proposal is not only the set of reliable data, but a logical and convincing presentation of the importance of the problem. Only if a student manages to prove the topic is serious and he has effective methods or concepts, which will be helpful to defeat the problem, the professor will approve the paper. In order to compose a good paper one should read a free example of research proposal on juvenile delinquency theories to realize how to prepare the paper correctly.

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Attribution Theory Juvenile Delinquency and Gangsterism Research Proposal

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Juvenile delinquency research proposal. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY complianceportal.american.edu 2022-11-25

Juvenile delinquency remains a significant social problem in many societies around the world. It refers to the participation of minors in illegal activities or behaviors that are deemed inappropriate for their age group. Research on juvenile delinquency has been ongoing for decades, and has helped to shed light on the causes and consequences of such behaviors, as well as the most effective interventions for addressing them.

A research proposal on juvenile delinquency would typically outline the research question or problem being addressed, the proposed research design and methods, and the expected outcomes or contributions of the study. The proposal might also include a review of the existing literature on the topic, and a justification for the need for further research in this area.

One potential research question might be: "What are the most effective interventions for reducing juvenile delinquency and promoting positive youth development?" To answer this question, the research proposal might outline a study that involves a systematic review of the literature, as well as a meta-analysis of existing studies on the effectiveness of different interventions. The proposal might also outline the use of qualitative methods, such as interviews or focus groups with young people who have been involved in delinquent behaviors, to gather in-depth insights into the factors that contribute to such behaviors and the potential benefits of different interventions.

Another potential research question might be: "What are the social and environmental factors that contribute to the development of juvenile delinquency?" To answer this question, the research proposal might outline a study that involves a large-scale survey of young people, along with in-depth interviews or focus groups with a smaller sub-sample. The study might examine a range of factors, including family dynamics, peer relationships, school experiences, and community involvement, to identify patterns and trends that may be associated with an increased risk of juvenile delinquency.

Regardless of the specific research question or design, a research proposal on juvenile delinquency would need to consider the ethical implications of the study, including the potential risks and benefits to participants, and the measures that will be taken to ensure their privacy and confidentiality. It would also need to outline the potential contributions of the study to the field of research on juvenile delinquency, and how the findings might inform policy and practice in this area.

Overall, a research proposal on juvenile delinquency could make a valuable contribution to our understanding of the causes and consequences of such behaviors, and the most effective ways to address them. By addressing key research questions and using rigorous research methods, such a proposal has the potential to inform the development of more effective interventions and policies for promoting positive youth development and reducing the incidence of juvenile delinquency.

Research Proposal on Juvenile complianceportal.american.edu

juvenile delinquency research proposal

Over the next decade, Bangor, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Mobile, Philadelphia, and Richmond followed suit in establishing houses of refuge. Specifically, the interview groups will comprise two groups of teenagers and two groups of adults. The emerging social sciences assured reformers that their problems with delinquents could be solved through positivism. Various remedies have been implemented and suggested to mitigate this phenomenon in the world of young people. New York: Columbia University Press.

Juvenile Delinquency Research Paper

juvenile delinquency research proposal

The treatment modality that was frequently used was various versions of Freudian psychoanalysis. This is where early interventions come into play that significantly impact juvenile delinquency. Delinquency Prevention Delinquency prevention has a long but somewhat disappointing history. The study will focus on seeking out the primary caregivers to the clusters as well as the primary influencers based on the units; teachers, parents, family members or other non-family related person. Symbolic interactionism and life history studies have long acknowledged the importance of agency and rationality, and rational choice and routine activities research have more recently placed an importance on rationality in delinquent and criminal behavior. However, it has been the increased attention given to the life course in both sociology and delinquency studies that has sparked a dramatic resurgence of interest in agency in contemporary research.

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY complianceportal.american.edu

juvenile delinquency research proposal

Gangs and Delinquency in Developmental Perspective. The study will include the control group of children based on their ages, gender and approximate social class. After answering this question the research will answer the question What are the most prevalent factors among the sample group? He should not limit his research only reading books on law, but pay much attention to the psychological side of the problem to present the complete picture of the topic. Social Process Theories of Delinquency Causation Social process theories of delinquency causation examine the interactions between individuals and the environment that influence them to become involved in delinquent behaviors. An example of efficient afterschool strategies are Police Activities League at Baltimore, Boys and Girls Clubs in New York, as well as numerous programs in San Diego. The survey will be aided by qualitative and quantitative research tools.

Proposals for Reforming Juvenile Court

juvenile delinquency research proposal

Psychological Explanations of Delinquent Behavior Psychological factors have long been popular in the positivist approach to the cause of juvenile delinquency because the very nature of parens patriae philosophy requires treatment of youths who are involved in various forms of delinquency. In preventing truancy, children will more than likely experience better outcomes later in life, increased health factors all around and are less likely to be involved in the criminal justice system. Wiener 2009 for example provides a thorough discussion of how attribution theory applies to criminal activity as well as the perception of liability. The time is taken to release the juvenile culprit's matters a lot in the juvenile delinquents. On the other hand, there are those who are always unsatisfied with verdicts and state that sentences should be stricter.


juvenile delinquency research proposal

Thus, Carter argues that juvenile crime reduction goes along with juvenile justice. Family structure can affect juvenile delinquency in numerous ways. In the 1970s and 1980s, a variety of academic areas, including the sociology of deviance, criminology, economics, and cognitive psychology, began to view crime as the outcome of rational choices and decisions. We took our time to gather the best juvenile delinquency research paper topics, and we have listed all these topics below. As the rate of juvenile delinquency keeps rising globally, more people are making efforts to find out the causes of juvenile delinquency, its impacts on society, and how it can be stopped.

Research proposal on juvenile delinquency

juvenile delinquency research proposal

The samples required for the study must be precise and free of bias. Over this 33-year period, they discovered that the vast majority of the delinquent boys came from either an area adjacent to the central business and industrial areas or along two forks of the Chicago River. Older males and females reported greater involvement in the serious violence beyond expectations. Some delinquents clearly engage in delinquent behavior because of the low cost or risk of such behavior. Rationale The rationale behind the creation of a court established especially for children was that it was recognized that children needed to be treated differently to adults, given that their psychology is vastly different. Data Analysis The credibility and validity of the data measurement technique applicable in the study are essential.

Research Proposal: Attribution Theory Juvenile Delinquency and Gangsterism

juvenile delinquency research proposal

Such forms of conduct include, but are not limited to whipping, cold shower, electrical shocking devices and suspension from cell bars by handcuffs. The outcome of the study is critical in making rational decisions regarding ways of preventing the adolescents from engaging in criminal activities. The questions will basically concern their perception of delinquency, and their motivation or lack thereof to participate in such activities. Moreover, it discusses the dependent and independent variables, explains the method, reasons for its usage and discusses the proposed sample. Moreover, it should explore additional alternatives addressing the issue, which can strengthen the community and provide an adequate social response. The qualitative method will be profoundly employed unstructured methods to provide the sample group to provide unstructured and raw data on the factors that contribute to their delinquent behavior. The Emergence of Sociological Theory From the second decade of the twentieth century, the Chicago School of Sociology developed a sociological approach to delinquency that differed greatly from that found in psychological positivism.

Research Proposal on Juvenile Delinquency

Kierkus and Hewitt It can be nearly impossible to narrow down the causes of delinquency in youth as the factors do It can be nearly impossible to narrow down the causes of delinquency in youth as the factors do vary from adolescent to adolescent. Thus, among the efficient strategies are those, which are based in particular institutions, as well as the ones targeting the whole communities. My interest is to look into the outcomes of juvenile delinquents and see if there are any disadvantages to being a delinquent of color. The juveniles will be clustered based on the number of offenses they have committed. Victims of Change: Juvenile Delinquents in American Society.


Proposal On Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile justice proposal essay.

Juveniles at CCJTDC are also not given the opportunity to exercise the third central human capability. It is evident they do not have the ability to move freely from place to place, and as mentioned before, are not secure against violent assault, including but not limited to sexual assault. One can argue that the general public is not guaranteed safety, and question why deviant misbehaved children should be protected from it. Although it is true children that have violated the law should not be rewarded, it is troubling for this to occur in a government run center. America is not a nation that supports abusive government authoritative figures over its people. Even given the circumstances, human dignity must still be maintained. The promotion

Juvenile Justice And Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile Justice has been a work in progress from the beginning of the program because of the evolving mentality of the generations. The purpose of Juvenile Justice was to correct the behavior of the juvenile delinquents and rehabilitation through a probationary period monitored by an individual who paid for bail and periodically reported behavior changes to courts. (Mulligan 2009) We do justice to the youth offenders by understanding the history of Juvenile Justice restorative programs, the alternatives to incarceration, and how to help them amend their actions and behavior.

Juvenile Justice System And Ideas For Deter Recidivism

So, what are the latest rates per the national juvenile arrest trends? Well from the Juvenile Arrest Rates for Violent Crime Index Offenses from 1980-2012 there have been some surprises, and they were that there has been a “5 years of decline, per the juvenile Violent Crime Index arrest rate which reached a new historic low-point in 2012” (“OJJDP Statistical Briefing”, 2014). OJJDP Statistical Briefing (2014) states that the Juvenile Arrest Rates for Violent Crime Index Offenses, of 1980-2012 shows that rates where generated by the arrests of persons ages 10-17 per 100,000 persons ages 10-17 in the resident population, and that the Violent Crime Index includes the offenses of murder and no negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. There for the when we look at the five year rate it will look like this:

Juvenile Delinquency : A Controversial Issue Within The Criminal Justice System

Juvenile delinquency has become a controversial issue within the Criminal Justice system. In the United States, juvenile delinquency refers to disruptive and criminal behavior committed by an individual under the age of 18. In many states, a minor at the age of 16 to 17 ½ can be tried as an adult. Once the individual reaches adulthood, the disruptive and criminal behavior is recognized as a crime. However, the criminal justice system has divided juvenile delinquency into two general types of categories that has brought upon controversial issues of inequality and corruption. Yet, putting young individuals in juvenile detentions facilities seems to open the door for them to commit more crimes in the future. Therefore, under certain circumstances juveniles should be tried as an adult.

Juvenile Delinquency And Modern Society

Juvenile offending is a concern in society today. Juveniles account for approximately 19% of the population but are responsible for 29% of criminal arrests (Cottle, Lee, & Heilbrun, 2001). Crime overall has been found to be decreasing throughout the last two decades. The issue is that the rate in which adult crime is decreasing is significantly greater than the rate in which juvenile crime is decreasing. Since the rate of juvenile crime is so high, juvenile delinquents are seen as predators and many believe they lack morals. The way in which media of today’s society constructs juvenile delinquency impacts the views of a community towards their youth and youth offenders. Media presents an inaccurate image of youth offenders as violent predators (Rhineberger-Dunn, 2013). This inaccurate image significantly promotes the myths that juvenile crime is rising, juveniles commit crimes that are primarily violent, and that juveniles are highly effected by recidivism and continue committing crimes into adulthood (Bohm, & Walker, 2013). It has already been stated though that crime rates have been decreasing over the last two decades so the first myth is refuted. The myth that juveniles primarily commit violent crimes is also very off. In most cases, juveniles are involved in property crimes and although there are some violent crime cases, they are very rare. When these rare violent crimes do occur, youth can be tried in adult court. The

Juvenile Delinquency And The Social Control Theory

Juvenile delinquency is very prevalent especially among adolescents because studies have shown that during the time of adolescence that is when delinquency tends to increase and once adolescence has passed at about 17 years of age then it tends to decrease (Adolescent Delinquency, 2002). There are many factors that can contribute to the increase of delinquency during adolescence, some of the factors can be personality, mental disorders, genetics, economic status, environment, family, and culture among others, also to understand better the causes of juvenile delinquency the social control theory is the best theory to explain juvenile delinquency as a whole (Adolescent Delinquency, 2002).

Juvenile Delinquency And Juvenile Criminal Justice System

Juvenile delinquency is an ever growing issue in the United States, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, “In 2012, there were 3,941 arrests for every 100,000 youths ages 10 through 17 in the United States” (OJJDP, 2014). The way juveniles are treated in the criminal justice system is very different than the way adults are. In 1899, in Cook County, Illinois, the first juvenile justice system in the country was founded. This established an alternative way of dealing with offenders whom are inherently different, in the way they think and commit crimes, than those of adult age. There are a few distinct differences between the juvenile and adult criminal system, but the biggest difference is the

Juvenile Delinquency And Recidivism Are A Major Problem Within Our Country Today Essay

Juvenile delinquency and recidivism are a major problem within our country today. There are a number of programs out there that provide treatment for issues such as drug addiction and abuse. There are other programs that provide help for gang involvement, provide help to female offenders, provide help with family counseling, and for mental health issues. There are still others that help with community outreach and help with parenting and helping the family dynamic. Providing effective treatment for offenders in the juvenile justice system is a cornerstone of any effective response to juvenile crime. To help address treatment issues that have failed in the past “Wraparound” programs have been created. This paper will set out to define what “wraparound” is and how it applies to the juvenile justice system. It will also serve to address and identify how it addresses the many issues that face the youth today in the many facets of society.

Psychological Perspectives On Studying Juvenile Delinquency And Disorder Behavior

This essay will compare and contrast some psychological and sociological approaches to studying juvenile delinquency and disorder behaviour. The question is what makes people behave disorderly. Youth disorderly behaviours are studied using different approaches including psychological and sociological approaches. Both psychological and sociological approaches to studying juvenile delinquency are necessary. This essay starts with outlining and defining disorderly behaviour and juvenile delinquency. Then, it will look at the work of Eysenck, the Cambridge Study of Delinquent Development research which was a longitude study and the Integrated Cognitive Antisocial Potential theory by Farrington, all fit in psychological approach; studying the connection between personality and disorder. It will then look at Sociological approach by looking at the work of Howard Becker, Stan Cohen and Stuart Hall. This essay will be analysing and comparing their theories and separating the differences and noting the similarities in their ideas. This essay will provide evidence for each theory. It will then conclude by specifying significant similarities and differences in the light of the evidence presented.

Public Defenders

The ultimate goal of the juvenile justice system should be to restore positive youth development and public safety. As suggested by the Public Defenders, when working with juveniles with poor backgrounds, it is crucial to understand the intellectual state and overall development of each juvenile. Studying the nature of crime and its causes is also crucial. For instance children who get involved in Domestic Violence may have troubled relationships within their family or community. In such situations, it would be better to place more services for the youth rather than putting them behind bars. The research also discussed the long term consequences of juvenile incarceration, such as difficulty transitioning back into the society, lack of educational and employment facilities available or finding a reasonable residence. Due to such reasons, many individuals turn to the same backgrounds and affiliations to transition back into the

Juvenile Delinquency And The Juvenile Justice System Summary

Reading this book has had an effect on the way I see Juvenile delinquency and the Juvenile Justice System. The reason for this is because I now realize that these young individuals just do not become delinquent overnight and majority of the time it is not their fault that they are the way they are. It can be several factors that cause them to engage in criminal acts similar to the boys and girls in Giddings State School. This book may be very uncomfortable to read because of some of the disturbing events that these young individual experienced, but I would definitely recommend others to read it. Parents that are currently struggling with their teenage child should definitely read the book. I feel like the book may have solutions to their problems.

Juvenile Delinquency : The United States

We live in a world where there is a great deal of investment allotted to our children and our culture tend to be overprotective of our youth. Rightfully so, our younger citizens are considered the building blocks of our nation and the carriers of our legacy in the future. But in spite of stringent laws that seem to protect our youth, other factors such as race, poverty, and environment are catalysts for delinquent youth behavior. Juvenile crime is on the rise and is one of the nation’s serious problems. Concerns about these crimes are widely shared by government officials from federal, state, local, and the public. Given its association with aggression, substance abuse, mental health problems and generally disruptive behavior, juvenile delinquency requires high levels of public policy and media attention from professionals located within multiple disciplines in social work, psychology, law and criminal justice. Teenagers being tried as adults have grown in an alarming rate and in some cases, juvenile defendants are as young as twelve and thirteen. This issue raised concern from youth advocate groups on the assumption that our juvenile justice system is failing to accomplish what they are supposed to do, which is to protect our kids by correcting them through treatment and guidance rather than punishing them. Recognizing the risk factors that causes juvenile delinquencies, having an efficient juvenile justice system

Juvenile Delinquency In The United States

Millions of crimes happen every year, thousand of crimes happen every month, and hundred of crimes happen every day. Many of these crimes are committed by young people under the age of 18. Juvenile crime has long been a problem. Why do some teenagers steal, while others do not? What makes some youth involve themselves in drug and/or alcohol abuse, while others abstain? When do some teens decide to participate in gang-related activities, while others refrain? Throughout America, for several reasons, there are many young women and men that commit crimes such as these. Several causes of juvenile delinquency will be addressed throughout this research paper.

Juvenile And Juvenile Delinquency

The purpose of this paper is to determine if there is a link between the influences in a minors’ life and the delinquent behavior they are committing. Juvenile delinquency is the habitual committing of criminal acts or offenses by a young person, especially one below the age at

Research Paper On Juvenile Delinquency

What is a Juvenile? A juvenile is a person who has not reached his or her 18th birthday. Juvenile delinquency is the violation of a law of the United States committed by a person prior to reaching 18 years of age, which would have been a crime committed by an adult (office). There are many residential programs put in place all over the country to help these youths that are coming in and out of the Criminal Justice system. Once these Juveniles come out of jail, or get released on bond, they sometimes do not have a stable place to go to and live. As these youths are leaving the jail facility there are a wide variety of residential programs to help them get back on their feet. These residential programs include Out of home placement in an institutional or camp like setting, or they might be eligible for an alternative placement, such a community confinement. (programs)

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Good Example Of Juvenile Delinquency Research Paper

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Crime , Family , Victimology , Adult , Social Issues , Supreme Court , Adulthood , Children

Words: 2500

Published: 02/24/2020


Juvenile Delinquency Research Proposal

Juvenile delinquency refers to a crime perpetrated by a minor who has not yet reached maturity. Since it has been seen in many scientific studies that a person doesn't attain full maturity until he reaches 18 years of age, juvenile offenders are treated differently than adults by the court of justice. In US there is a separate justice system for juveniles to deal with juvenile offenders. Based on the principle of "parens patriae", juvenile courts function like a guardian or parent by taking decisions in favor of the wellbeing of the children. However, despite separate justice system for juveniles, USA prosecutes juvenile offenders, guilty of heinous felony, like an adult subjecting them to harsher sentencing like life imprisonment without parole. This paper will further probe into the facts related to juvenile delinquency highlighting how juvenile offense can be curbed through proper intervention and community-based programs.

b) The juvenile justice system in USA is inspired by the principles of William Blackstone. 3) Is It Appropriate to Treats Adult and Juvenile Offenders Differently? 4) Recommended Differences between Adult and Young Offenders 5) How Juvenile Delinquency Can Be Prevented? a) Community based programs b) Early intervention programsv 6) Conclusion


Juvenile delinquency refers to a crime committed by a minor who is yet to reach the statutory age of maturity. The average rate of juvenile crime has dropped significantly in USA in recent years. Despite the downward rate of juvenile arrests, there is no change in the fact that juvenile crime is mostly a crime committed by boys. As per the report of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, juvenile boys constitute 70% or more juvenile arrests (Aines, 2012). In fact, most of the violent offenses are committed by boys whereas girls mainly commit status offenses. Since juveniles are people who are yet to attain their adulthood and fully realize their potential and maturity, juvenile offenders are seen and treated differently than adults. This is a proven scientific truth that not before the age of 18 a person attains full maturity in terms of brain development and social understanding. As people below the age of 18 are not fully mature so they can be influenced by others easily. They can be influenced by family, environment, friends or some other people more easily than a regular mature adult. This premise has led to the US judiciary system to treat juveniles differently than adults. Juvenile justice system is separate from the mainstream judiciary so that juveniles can be treated properly for their crimes committed and provided treatment, rehabilitation and punishments if required. This paper will discuss upon the differential treatment of juvenile offenders from adults and whether or not the differential treatment is appropriate, what changes can be brought to the treatment and the measures to be taken to prevent juvenile delinquency.

Juvenile Offenders Treated Differently than Adults by Law

Most legal systems around the world follow a set of procedures, different from that of an adult, while dealing with juvenile offenders. USA too is not an exception. Over the years the juvenile system in USA has undergone sweeping changes especially on the ground that juveniles are not fully mature to consider the full implication of their actions and hence they should be treated separately than adults. However, the condition of juvenile justice system was not always like this. There was a time when juvenile offenders were tried alongside adult criminals, put into jails for long a period of time and sometimes sentenced to death. It was in the early 19th century when the idea of reforming young offenders rather than punishing them emerged in USA. The House of Refuge in New York founded in 1924 was the first juvenile house of reform that tried to house juvenile offenders in a separate facility with other states like Maryland soon following suit (DJS, 2013). The first juvenile court was established in 1899 in the State of Illinois by Cook County and within the next three decades almost all the states within USA had founded juvenile courts. The juvenile courts are based on the principle of "parens patriae" meaning that the court is allowed to take decisions in favor of the wellbeing of the child in question like a parent or guardian (DJS, 2013). Juvenile courts mainly deal with two types of offenders; the delinquent offender and the status offender. A delinquent offender is he who has committed an act that would be considered a crime for adults under the federal, state or local law. Status offenders, on the other hand, are children who are beyond control and unruly. They might be engaged in typical behavior like drinking alcohol or using drugs, running away from homes, refusing to obey parents and skipping school (Roberts, 2013). The juvenile justice system in USA is somewhat inspired by the principles of one of the notable English lawyers called William Blackstone who drew a fine line between the adults and infants on the ground that infants below the age of 7 were unaware of the likely implications of their actions whereas adults were fully aware of the consequences of their actions. According to Blackstone, children over the age of 14 were culpable of committing crimes and therefore, they should be charged like adults. But Blackstone was influenced by the concept of 'malice by the age' which means that a child below the age of 14 might be aware of the full implications of his actions if he is able to distinguish between right and wrong (ABA Division for Public Education). Therefore, if a child is found guilty of a heinous crime then he may be tried and sentenced like an adult. In a similar way, in USA children found guilty of serious crimes like murder may receive a harsher sentencing like an adult up to life imprisonment without parole, even at the age of 12. Since the US Supreme Court has eliminated capital punishment for children below the age of 16 years, life imprisonment without parole is the maximum harsh sentencing a juvenile can get. Especially, the number of cases of juveniles being tried like adults increased during 1980s and 1990s when the number of juvenile crimes skyrocketed significantly, forcing the law enforcement officers to take stern action of treating juveniles like adults to curb the crime rate.

Is It Appropriate to Treats Adult and Juvenile Offenders Differently?

The separate justice system for adults and juveniles seems appropriate considering the fact that it takes time for the brain to develop completely and since children are emotionally vulnerable and physically not mature, they cannot be held guilty for a crime like adults. Furthermore, there are many studies which prove that the prefrontal lobe of the brain, which plays a significant role in controlling an inappropriate behavior, may not reach full maturity till age 20 (Reaves, 2001). Besides, the social factors like dysfunctional parenting, child abuse, truancy, parent criminality, poverty and early exposure to violence that play a crucial role in egging a juvenile on committing a criminal action should be taken into account. Lack of family support and supervision and peer pressure also contribute to the problem. The US Supreme Court while discussing the difference between adult and young offenders in the case of Graham v. Florida observed that the actions of juvenile offenders are less likely to be the outcome of an "irretrievably depraved character" and that juvenile criminal acts cannot be considered as "morally reprehensible as that of an adult" (Ginatta, 2012). Therefore, young offenders should be given a chance to turn their lives around through rehabilitation so that they can integrate into the mainstream society as reformed individuals. A juvenile offender who has spent term in juvenile prison is less likely to commit crimes than someone getting released from an adult prison facility. Internationally, the Convention on the Rights of the Child which is an international treaty ratified by almost every country in the world except USA and Somalia, too propagates the principle of treating a juvenile offender "in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child's sense of dignity and worth" so that he can play a constructive role in the society (Ginatta, 2012).

Recommended Differences between Adult and Young Offenders

In USA, all the states except five states try juveniles guilty of murder like adults. Annually every year about 250,000 juveniles face prosecution like adults (JLC, 2013). It might be an assumption that giving juveniles harsher sentencing functions like a deterrent to prevent youngsters from engaging in heinous crimes. But many research studies show that the prosecution of children like adults does not deter crime or reduce the rate of recidivism among juvenile offenders. In fact, children who serve their sentencing in adult prison system are more likely to commit crimes again and pose greater danger to public safety. Therefore, instead of putting children behind bars with hardened adult criminals, they should be put into correctional facilities so that they could get a chance to improve their lives. Their background and the factors contributing to their criminal actions should be taken into account as most of the young offenders are victims of child abuse, poverty, breakdown of the family and parental alcoholism. Due to the lack of parental supervision, many are influenced by their peers to commit crimes. Since juveniles are emotionally immature and can be easily influenced by circumstances and people into illegal actions, they instead of being tried like adults should be given a second chance at life through rehabilitation and reintegration into the mainstream society.

How Juvenile Delinquency Can Be Prevented?

Since juvenile crime is a matter affecting the lives of parents, teachers, families and neighbors, concerns related to its prevention have escalated over the years. There are many community based programs being conducted in different states to curb the rate of juvenile offense. For example, in Texas, TJPC or the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission has funded an array of pilot programs in eight of its counties including Cameron, Bexar, Denton, Harris, El Paso, Tarrant, Dallas and Travis counties (TJPC, 2009). All these programs designed differently from each other target the common purpose of improving the social behavior of juvenile deviants. These programs provide counselling to families, education to parents, anger management training and even give vocational training to juvenile offenders. Juvenile probation officer visits the homes and schools of the juvenile offenders and counsel parents and teachers to help the juvenile deviants come back into normal life. Early intervention programs like prenatal and early childhood nurse visitation programs and Head Start are also helpful in deterring juvenile crimes as these programs contribute to the development of children in a positive way focusing on different aspects of a child's life rather than on the crime itself (Saminsky, 2010). Any program which takes place right before the birth of a child until his adolescence is called an early intervention program and research has shown that the result of early intervention program has been tremendously successful. Preschool programs, parent educational services, counseling to both parents and children help a lot in preventing delinquency. Early intervention programs help parents learn their role in the development of their children and also teach children about the role they need to play in contributing to the growth of a society.

Juvenile delinquency refers to a crime committed by a minor who is below 18 years of age and yet to become mature physically and emotionally. In US there is a separate justice system for juveniles to deal with juvenile offenders. The juvenile courts in USA are based on the principle of "parens patriae" meaning that the court is allowed to take decisions for the wellbeing of the child in question like a parent or guardian. Since juvenile offenders are often victims of their circumstances and cannot discern right and wrong, it is appropriate to treat them differently from adult offenders. However, somewhat inspired by the principles of William Blackstone, US justice system treats juvenile offenders, culpable of heinous crime like murder, forced robbery and rape, like adults but research has shown that giving harsher sentencing to juvenile offenders does not reduce the rate of juvenile offense. On the contrary, juveniles serving their prison terms in adult prisons are more likely to commit crimes again. Therefore, instead of putting them behind bars with adult criminals, they should be given a second chance at life through rehabilitation and reintegration into the society. Furthermore, community-based educational programs and early interventions programs should be conducted to prevent juvenile delinquency from taking place.

Aines, Don (2012). Juvenile Crime in U.S. Down Since Early 1990s. Herald Mail. Retrieved on 3rd December 2013 from <http://articles.herald-mail.com/2012-01-14/news/30628871_1_juvenile-arrests-juvenile-crime-arrests-for-violent-crime> Ginatta, Antonio (2012). Give Child Offenders Chance at Rehabilitation. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved on 3rd December 2013 from <http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/02/02/give-child-offenders-chance-rehabilitation> History of Juvenile Justice in the United States (2013). The Department of Juvenile Services (DJS). Retrieved on 3rd December 2013 from <http://www.djs.state.md.us/history-us.asp> Intensive Community Based Programs for Juvenile Offenders: A Report on the Implementation of Pilot Programs Established Under SB 103, FY 2008 (2009). Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (TJPC). Retrieved on 3rd December 2013 from <http://www.tjjd.texas.gov/publications/reports/RPTOTH200902.pdf> Reaves, Jessica (2001). Should the Law Treat Kids and Adults Differently?. Time Magazine. Retrieved on 3rd December 2013 from <http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,110232,00.html> Roberts, Cynthia H (2013). Juvenile Delinquency: Cause and Effect. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Retrieved on 3rd December 2013 from <http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/2000/2/00.02.05.x.html> Saminsky, Alina (2010). Preventing Juvenile Delinquency: Early Intervention and Comprehensiveness as Critical Factors. Student Pulse. Retrieved on 3rd December 2013 from <http://www.studentpulse.com/articles/165/preventing-juvenile-delinquency-early-intervention-and-comprehensiveness-as-critical-factors> The History of the Juvenile Justice System. ABA Division for Public Education. Retrieved on 3rd December 2013 from <http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/publiced/features/DYJpart1.authcheckdam.pdf> Youth in the Adult System (2013). Juvenile Law Center (JLC). Retrieved on 3rd December 2013 from <http://www.jlc.org/current-initiatives/promoting-fairness-courts/youth-adult-system>

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