Factors Contributing to Juvenile Delinquents According to Jensen, three of the most critical issues facing the American juvenile justice system are youth violence, the occurrence of mental health and substance abuse problems among young people, and female delinquency (Jensen, Potter, and Howard, 2001). Juvenile crime in the United States has severe consequences for our society. Nowadays, drugs are becoming more like everything else in our society—popular and expensive—which is usually a catalyst for most criminal activity, especially among youth.
Whether a person is selling drugs, stealing to get money for drugs, or commits a crime under the influence of drugs, these acts are all drug-related crimes that are often unrecorded by police, which encouraged this study of youth offenders and the dark figure of crime. A critical question in the study of youth offenders and the dark figure of crime is why crime occurs. Are parents too submissive? Do some youths have defective genes, families, or social environments?
Are poverty and lack of education to blame? Unless the causes of this unknown crime can be determined and a plan is implemented to develop the best possible policies to reveal it, more youth will continue to contribute to this dark figure of crime. This study develops some explanations in understanding why crime takes place. Data gathered from the respondents of 20 surveys was analyzed to relate the relationship of juvenile drug and alcohol use and criminal activity among adolescents in the United States.
The methodology for this research includes the procedures and techniques used to collect and analyze the information from the sample selected. The conclusion should report the findings with more broad-based statements that relate back to the goals of the research and the evaluation questions. Researchers acknowledge that many more people commit crimes than get arrested and concede that a “dark figure of crime” does exist. This research study maintains that the characteristics of arrestees do, in fact, fairly accurately represent those of persons who do not get arrested.
By drawing on other sources of crime data, such as self-report surveys, the study of youth offenders and the dark figure of crime attempts to provide a fairly good picture of whom commits crime even if most crimes are not cleared by arrest. The original hypothesis in the research question of factors that contribute to juvenile offenders was simply that drugs, alcohol, and peer pressure had a large part in the prevalence of juvenile crimes in today’s world.
The assumptions about this topic were that many people probably committed crimes not on their own volition but under the influence of illegal substances to primarily include popular drugs and alcohol and peer or family pressure. The research project attempted to prove its findings based not on the responses of a wide number of individuals but from a small diverse sample of individuals hailing from different locations, economic backgrounds, and having significantly distinct demographics. The team recognized the value of a wide sample base for basing solid conclusions.
In this specific project the team conversely utilized a smaller sample in order to verify their assumptions supported by the results of this small sample. The results of the surveys revealed that many of the individuals in the sample were raised in rural neighborhoods and the majority of the individuals were at the time of the survey employed. The survey had revealed the uncomfortable fact that a majority of participants involved had committed a crime that they were not arrested or charged for. The survey also revealed that crime appeared to be ever present in the lives of several of the survey participants.
Although the majority of these individuals had committed crimes at some point in their youths, many of them were additionally accused of crimes that they did not commit. More than 50% of the participants had been incarcerated as a juvenile for more than a day. The survey revealed that more than 50% of the survey participants had used drugs at some point in their lives. This data verifies the team’s assumptions that drug use had a large impact on juvenile crimes. The research project targeted individuals between the ages of 15 and 21.
This specific age group represents a young person’s entry into adulthood and a period of where a younger person is more vulnerable to unfamiliar and seemingly exciting influences. While the information included in the results of this survey was derived from a limited group of unassociated individuals, it speaks novels of exactly how significant of a problem juvenile crime is becoming within the United States. If Team A could deduce the conclusion that juvenile crimes are a substantial concern among such a small sample, how then would these results be reflected in a sample of reater scales and diversity? The number of juveniles involved in criminal activities is somewhat unclear, since a considerable number of juvenile related crimes go unreported. One of the most popular ways to measure the amount of juvenile crime is to review official statistical reports published by criminal justice organizations. The most widely known and used of these is the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), which uses data from almost all of the United States police agencies.
Although the UCR has been a valuable tool when it comes to measuring the increases or decreases in juvenile crime in the United States, it does not paint a clear picture of the number of crimes committed by juveniles who have not been caught or arrested for deviant behaviors. The UCR cannot calculate unreported crimes, and for that reason conducting a general research study in this area can only prove to be beneficial for society. The lack of information in regard to the reasons why juveniles turn to crime prompted Team A to launch a survey on zoomerang. com.
The survey is used to inquire about the underlying reasons and possible factors that can contribute to juvenile crime. On September 22, 2008, 25 surveys were launched and 20 surveys were completed by randomly selected males and females between the ages of 15 to 21. The survey participants answered a total of 21 questions regarding their respective backgrounds. The goal of this research study was to try to identify several risk factors that could contribute delinquent behavior. Therefore, the questions on the survey made inquiries about the participant’s current age, highest level of education, family, friend, and community relations.
Many individuals share the belief that the highest percentages of juvenile crime takes place in impoverished areas where the chances that a juvenile may reside in single parent home tends to be more prevalent; however, the results of Team A’s survey indicated that this stigma is not valid. Findings of the research study also suggested that the majority of the survey participants who had committed crimes (arrested or not caught) lived in rural areas and the majority were bi-products of a two parent home.
Consequently, juvenile crime is no longer a problem limited to urban areas or homes that may not have the support of two parents. Other results from the surveys indicated that only two percent of the surveyed individuals committed crimes (arrested or not caught) of a violent nature. Mixed results were produced when the education levels were examined as being a contributing factor of deviant behavior; the majority had completed high school or higher. Whereas, the relatives and friends of the surveyed individuals seemed to greatly influence the juvenile’s decision to partake in the use of illegal drugs or alcohol.
Lastly, approximately 88 % of all the participants indicated that they had been mentored growing up and were interested in life skills workshops or technical training courses. This suggests that positive influences in a juvenile’s life could possibly serve as a deterrent from deviant behavior. The findings for Team A’s research study were solely derived from the responses provided by the surveyed participants. Since no other method of data collection was used, it is recommended that the results yielded from Team A’s unofficial study only be used to encourage further studies into causes or motivation of juvenile crime.
Because this study consisted of only 20 individual’s answers, the findings may possibly consist of a large margin of error. The accuracy of the results would have been higher if the study was conducted more thoroughly. In order to get the most accurate results of factors that contribute to juvenile offenders, much more research should be done. Surveys could have been sent out all across the United States in order to get more participants and in a larger area rather. In addition to more surveys, interviews of incarcerated juvenile offenders and previous juvenile offenders would add to the accuracy of the findings of the research.
With more time, effort, and money, this research study may have yielded much different results. REFERENCES 2006 Crime in the United States. (2007, September). Retrieved September 30, 2008, from US Department of Justice-Federal Bureau of Investigation: http://www. fbi. gov/ucr/cius2006/data/table_06. html Jensen, J. , Potter, C. , and Howard M. (2001). American juvenile justice: Recent trends and issues in youth offending (Vol. 1)(1). Social Policy and Administration. Retrieved October 1, 2008, from http://www. ncjrs. gov/App/Publications /abstract. aspx