Juvenile Delinquency – Term Paper Example

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The paper "Juvenile Delinquency" is a worthy example of a term paper on law. All fifty states in the United s, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as territories governed by the United s, have compulsory education laws that mandate how long a juvenile, one who is under the age of eighteen, must attend school. Whether that school is at home, in a publicly funded facility, or an institution that charges money from the parents for education, all juveniles are mandated to attend. Twenty-six states require that juveniles stay in school until the age of sixteen, with the remaining states and territories mandating that education continues until the age of seventeen or eighteen (Bush, 2010). However, juveniles do not always care what the laws of their state are, and sometimes, they do not attend school as mandated. Not attending school leads to poor academic performance and lack educational success, both contributing factors when discussing juvenile delinquency, an issue that is becoming more and more prevalent as time goes on.

Many factors exist as to why a juvenile will not or does not attend school. Perhaps a juvenile has failed to bond at school, has no friends or reliable relationships among his or her peers (Flores, 2003). A juvenile that does not have any friendships among their peers, or feels isolated and alone, will often choose not to go to school, and thus jeopardize their chances of educational success. In young children aged eight to eleven, poor academic performance has been related to serious later delinquency (Flores, 2003). Another contributing factor to failed bonding is the fact that not attending school leads to poor socialization, and thus the feeling of isolation deepens even more. Students who are chronic underachievers tend to be the most at-risk group for juvenile delinquency (Seigel & Welsh, 2010). In all of these situations, a juvenile will most likely choose not to attend school, instead of finding something else to do with their time. The actions that they choose could well lead them down the path of juvenile delinquency.
Education has been widely promoted by all sources surrounding juveniles, from family to the media to the schools themselves (Seigel & Welsh, 2010). Most juveniles have been trained to accept the fact that education itself holds the keys to success, whether that success is measured in a better job, more money, or a better way of life (Seigel & Welsh, 2010). However, many juveniles may feel that they do not meet the acceptable standards for educational success, whether that success is measured in test scores, promotions, rewards, or other measures (Seigel & Welsh, 2010). In measuring themselves, often juveniles are their own worst critics, feeling that they will never be good at anything; therefore school and education are a waste of time. They feel that this time could be better spent learning “life skills”, skills that all too often lead to a life of juvenile delinquency.
No matter what the forces are behind a juvenile feeling as though education will not be of any use to them at all, it is clear that early intervention is necessary to determine who and where the most at-risk youth are. Oddly enough, the first intervention taking place in school may already be too late for some juveniles. It has been shown that parents have a vital role in the success of their offspring, and positive relationships between family members only serve to heighten the chances of educational success (Adedokun & Balschweid, 2008). If early intervention takes place and identifies possible situations that may not be of benefit to a juvenile, measures can be taken such as family counseling and other assistance that may promote and save the educational career of a juvenile and prevent them from starting any form of juvenile delinquency.
Another important factor of note is the juvenile themselves. All juveniles do not learn the same way; just as adults do not all enjoy the same hobby or pastime. To expect every juvenile to learn the same way, by sitting in a classroom and listening to a lecture, maybe expecting too much. Though it can be seen as the most efficient way to reach masses of juveniles at once, it may actually be a factor in whether or not a juvenile reaches educational success.
While it is impossible to take into account every need, like, dislike, and factor of every juvenile across the United States, it is still possible to build educational facilities with the individual in mind. Taking into account individual needs as far as the education may well help a juvenile on their path to success. For instance, consider a juvenile that has been passed from grade to grade until they reach high school, yet reads at a third-grade level and prefers to work with his hands and be outside. A structured classroom of lectures will not help this student learn. Instead, allowing him an education where he can be outside, work with hands-on problems and solutions, while being given remedial education in reading and vocabulary may spark success.
Two other options to consider in educating our youth are career possibilities and job training. Even though vocational programs are in place across the country, offerings may be limited or eliminated altogether due to funding. Also, while juveniles may start with aspirations of what they want to be when they are done with school, reality can set in all too soon after school begins. Therefore, allowing on-the-job training, job shadowing, and internships in place of a rigid classroom education may benefit the students in several ways. First, it allows them to see what actually goes on in a designated profession, and not what school might have them think goes on. Secondly, it will allow them to exit the classroom and learn life skills that do not involve handcuffs, mug shots, or incarceration. Third, it will benefit them by showing them that they can complete tasks that have actual meaning, and give them a sense of accomplishment, which will boost their self-esteem and leave them willing to return to the classroom and complete whatever is necessary. A side benefit might be for a business to have a contract with a juvenile that if they complete their schooling, they can work for the business for a specified length of time. Knowing that they have a place to which they will belong, one that they already feel comfortable, can go to great lengths in helping a juvenile attain educational success.
Though some solutions are already in places, such as teen courts, forestry camps, or juvenile institutions where teens who have offended can work out their sentences, they are rapidly becoming over-used (Seigel & Welsh, 2010). Also, these solutions are not working, and that fact can be seen in the number of juveniles that are incarcerated. The Juvenile Residential Facility Census, which collects information about the facilities in which juvenile offenders are held, found that 31% of the 2,809 facilities that reported information were already at capacity or overcrowded (Seigel & Welsh, 2010).
Another disturbing fact is that juveniles seem to be incarcerated before taking an interest in education. In a 2009 study, 30 out of 40 juveniles already incarcerated reported that taking educational classes in their facility had been a positive experience, giving them “a sense of accomplishment” in being able to take GED programs and complete coursework (Unruh, Povenmire-Kirk & Yamamoto, 2009). It may have served a broader purpose if questions had been asked about the length of time since being incarcerated that the juvenile had expressed interest in education, or if they were interested in attending school before becoming so.
By increasing early intervention, as well as gearing education more towards the individual needs of juveniles, offering one-on-one mentoring, early career training, and job shadowing programs, juveniles may be interested to achieve academic success and finish out the education, leading to the life of success they have heard about but never achieved. Juveniles that are given meaningful experiences and plenty of attention from the first to the last day of their compulsory education, however that compulsory education takes place, will most likely be the ones that are successful in staying out of the system of offenders.
Adedokun, O. A., & Balschweid, M. A. (2008). The mediating effects of self-esteem and delinquency on the relationship between family social capital and adolescents educational achievement. Educate The Journal of Doctoral Research in Education, 8(1), 2-14. Retrieved from http://www.educatejournal.org/index.php?journal=educate&page=article&op=viewFile&path[]=153&path[]=158
Bush, M. (2010, June). Compulsory school age requirements. Retrieved from http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/86/62/8662.pdf
Flores, J. R. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs. (2003). Child delinquency bulletin series (NCJ 193409). Rockville, MD: Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/193409.pdf
Seigel, L. J., & Welsh, B. C. (2010). Juvenile delinquency: the core. (4th ed., pp. 228-233). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=6K8lWDUMlVsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Juvenile delinquency: The Core&hl=en&src=bmrr&ei=Lv-MTuqFB8aMsAKA-8DaBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CEIQ6AEwAA
Unruh, D., Povenmire-Kirk, T., & Yamamoto, S. (2009). Perceived barriers and protective factors of juvenile offenders on their developmental pathway to adulthood. Journal of Correctional Education, 60(3), 201-224. Retrieved from http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Perceived barriers and protective factors of juvenile offenders on...-a0215408206

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