To what extent does family breakdown contribute to youth crime?
This paper will address the issue of family breakdown and the key determinates that link a young person to becoming involved in youth crime. The article that I have chosen for this paper as my main source is a document that has been published by the Social Justice Policy Group titled, Being tough on the causes of crime: Tackling family breakdown to prevent youth crime. Highlighted key issues that come from this publication are that, poverty is one of the main drivers for family breakdown, 27 percent or 1 in 4 families now live below the poverty line, within these families there is a large percentage of young people (Child Poverty Action Group, 2013), a recent study of 4000 young offenders by the Youth Justice Board found that 70 percent came from broken families (Relationships Foundation 2014). Also the issues surrounding the dysfunctional family structure and dadlessness, there are many more underlying issues that can contribute to family breakdown but these seem to be the key one’s for the basis of this paper. It is the idea that a stable family environment shapes a young person and prepares then for adulthood, unfortunately the nuclear family has declined in importance (Cheal, 2008 in Furlong, 2012). A study carried out in 2009 found that 16 percent of families now only have one parent (Hughes, 2010 in Furlong 2013). This paper will take this fact into account and look at, whether this is a key determinate for young people turning to criminal behaviour (Dennis and Erdos, 1992 in Muncie, 2003) said it was when they stated,
“It is commonsense that family breakdown and criminal activity will go hand in hand”.
This paper will also look at the social construction of youth as being deviant, heightened risk and moral panic. Labelling (Becker) of the family with regards to troubled families and the lack of socially accepted values and standards, the identity and transition phase of young people...