Topic: Juvenile delinquency
Narrow focus: Risk factors associated with juvenile delinquency
Thesis: The most common risk factors associated with the incidence of juvenile delinquency are poverty, peer influence and the family.
Juvenile delinquency, as defined by Regoli and Hewitt (2006), refers to the criminal acts and status offenses performed by juveniles, or those that are not of legal age. Since they are still minors, most legal systems require specific procedures (such as the provision of special detention centers) in dealing with the juveniles. There are many risk factors associated with the incidence of juvenile delinquency in the Caribbean such as poverty, peer influence, political instability and the family; of which poverty and peer influence will be discussed.
Poverty is a significant economic factor in the incidence of juvenile delinquency. (Huizinga, Loeber, and Thornberry, (1994) in their findings state that youths who reside in economically deprived communities face a significantly greater risk of engaging in delinquent behavior irrespective of race and the quality of parental supervision. Poverty appears to function as a critical nexus, or catalyst, for a multitude of behavioral problems which are significantly correlated with crime and delinquency such as setting a fire, stealing a car and pick-pocketing. Also a lack of educational attainment is blamed on juvenile delinquency; since most of the youths who engage in criminal activities either did not go to school or dropped out of school.
Another leading factor contributing to delinquency among young people is peer influence. When children become teens, they go through periods when relationships with peers are more important than any others, including those with parents, siblings and teachers. This is especially so, if the teenager feels that everything in his life is in a state of flux and he’s unsure about what type of person he will become....