13 Apr 2022


Juvenile Offenders Delinquency

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Theories Related to juvenile delinquency

There are certain theories that explain the presence, the dominance, and the manifestation of juvenile delinquency. These include differential opportunity theory, the subculture theory, and the anomie theory. 

a) Differential opportunity theory

This th eory does not exhaustively support the idea of Cohen’s proposition that youngsters tend to become delinquent whenever they fail to meet society’s set standards. This theory holds that that opportunity has a great role in curbing juvenile delinquency.

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b) Subculture theory

This theory asserts that juveniles who fail to meet set standards also do not seek validation from a certain sub-culture. The sub-culture group is molded of several other teenagers who happen to fail to meet the set social standards. These groups behave in a manner that is not socially acceptable, and mostly rebel against the society’s socially acceptable standards. Cohen- the key proponent of this this theory- asserts that juvenile delinquency is a product of what happens in the society. These juveniles easily commit certain crimes including stealing since it not a societal norm and the juveniles do not properly fit in the acceptable sub-culture. 

c) Anomie Theory

Founded by Robert Merton (1940s), this theory describes that juvenile wrongdoing happens because the teen wrongdoers fail to enact the means of making themselves happier. The goals of unachievable within lawful means, so that they find unlawful avenues of accomplishing goals. The best illustration of this theory would be a juvenile who had an aim of getting a job in order to buy a good car. The juvenile will not be able to land for a proper job to make good money, and will proceed to make money so that he steals a car or even steals money to buy a car ( Wasserman, 2008)

Social characteristics of the juvenile court system and accompanying laws

The developmental lessons generate counterintuitive comprehension regarding the relationship amongst criminal persistence, culpability, and immaturity- all the three are not recognizable in juvenile justice policy formulation. Juvenile youths- who happen to be less mature- are likely to become adult career criminals as compared to teens who exhibit serious anti-social behavior. This kind of observation triggers an intimidating challenge to the advancement of fair and effective policies retorting to juvenile crimes. It further suggests that juvenile justice policy should touch on patterns of delinquent behavior, and contributes to an assumption that a developmental model of justice should integrate both retributive and rehabilitative dimensions ( Lipsey, Wilson & Cothern, 2000) .

Intervention of Juvenile Offenders

Instead of waiting for the behavior of a delinquent to escalate and consequently be exposed to arrest, it is better for families to take workable and practicable actions the moment the roots of delinquency germinating inside a child. Teenagers who always think they can get away with everything often attempt to do so, but teenagers who think that they will be caught and punished are likely to make better and informed decisions in the future. Teenagers who happen to travel down the wrong path are bound to correct their ways after having good conversations with their parents ( Kohlberg, Kauffman, Scharf & Hickey, 2000) . Teenagers with advanced cases of addictions tend to be chemically altered to a great magnitude that that they cannot cease using and abusing drugs. Teenagers with conduct disorders may not be able to listen to the pleas for transformation that come from their parents. 

There is need for families and rehabilitative centers to identify delinquents and offer them hope. Rather than feeling like crimes and drug abuse are inevitable, teenagers might feel like making proper change, and always expect elder people to love and offer them the requisite support. After being rehabilitated, it is important that these teenagers are properly encouraged and motivated to seek great avenues in their lives ( Howell & Lipsey, 2000)


Lipsey, M.W., Wilson, D. B., &  Cothern, L. (2000). Effective Interventions for Serious Juvenile Offenders . Washington, DC: OJJDP.

Howell, J.C. & Lipsey, A. (2003). Practical Approach to Evaluating and Improving Juvenile Justice Programs  

Kohlberg, L, Kauffman, K. , Scharf, P. & Hickey, J. (2003). The Just Community Approach to Corrections: A manual. 

Wasserman, E. R.(2008) “Implementing Kohlberg’s ‘Just Community Concept’ in an Alternative High School.” In  Readings in Moral Education , Scharf, P. (Editor), Winston Press, Minneapolis, MN.

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