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Causes & Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency

‘Low educational attainment, a low attachment to school and low educational aspirations are very prominent in Manipur, because of our education system (Tuition Culture), irregularities in BOSEM, COHSEM, MPSC, corruption, nepotism, favoritism, unemployment problems, which make our children & youths hopeless and restless which could be a major factor for the delinquency of our youths’

 Juvenile delinquency also known as juvenile offending is the act of participating in unlawful behaviors as minors (Juvenile i.e. individual younger than the statuary age of majority). Most legal prescribe specific procedure for dealing with juvenile ,such as juvenile detention centers and Courts, with it being common that juvenile system are treated as civil cases instead of criminal or a hybrid thereof  to avoid certain requirements required for criminal cases (typically the rights to a public trial or to a jury trial). Depending on the type and severity of the offense committed, it is possible for people under 18 years to be charged and treated as adults. In recent years a higher proportion of youths have experienced arrests by their early 20s than in the past. Some scholars have concluded that this may reflect more aggressive criminals’ justice and zero tolerance policies rather than changes in youth behavior. Juvenile crimes can range from status offenses (such as indulge smoking/drinking) to property crimes and violent crimes.
Juvenile offending can be considered to be normative adolescent behavior. This is because most teens tend to offend by committing non-violent crimes, only once or a few times and only during adolescence. Repeated and/or violent offending is likely to lead to later and more violent offenses. When this happens the offender often displays antisocial behavior even before reaching adolescence. Juvenile delinquency or offending is often separated into three categories: Delinquency; crimes committed by minors which are dealt with by the juvenile Courts and justice system; Criminal behavior, crimes dealt with by the criminal justice system; status offenders, offenses that are and classified as such because one is a minor, such as truancy, also dealt with by juvenile Courts. According to the developmental research of Moffitt (2006), there are two different types of offenders that emerge in adolescence. One is the repeat offender, referred to as the life-course-persistent offender, who begins offending or showing anti-social/aggressive behavior in adolescence( or even childhood) and continues into adulthood; and the age specific offender, referred to as the adolescence –limited offender, for whom juvenile offending or delinquency begins and ends during their period of adolescence .Considering that most teenagers tend to show some  form of anti-social or delinquent behavior during adolescence, it is important to account for these behaviors in childhood in order to determine whether they will be life course persistent offenders or adolescence-limited offenders. Although adolescence-limited offenders, they still show more mental health, substance abuse and financial problems, both in adolescence and adulthood than those who never delinquent.
The two largest predictors of juvenile delinquency are: parenting style and peer group association. In parenting style most likely delinquency being permissive parenting characterized by a lack of consequence- based discipline and encompassing two sub types; neglectful parenting characterized by lack of monitoring and thus knowledge of the child’s activities and indulgent parenting, characterized by affirmative enablement of misbehavior andauthoritarian parenting characterized by harsh discipline and refusal to justify discipline on any basis other than “because I said so”. Peer group association, particularly with anti-social peers groups as is more likely when adolescent are left unsupervised. Other factor that may lead a teenager into juvenile delinquency include poor or low socio-economic status, poor school readiness/performance and /or failure peer rejection or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).There may also be biological factors such as high level of serotonin, giving them a difficult temper and poor self-regulation and a lower resting heart rate, which may lead to fearlessness. Delinquent activity, particularly the involvement in youth gangs, may also be caused by a desire for protection against violence or financial hardship as the offenders view delinquent activity as a means of surrounding themselves with resources to protect against these threats. Most of these influences tend to be caused by a mix of both genetic and environmental factors. Some research indicates that change in weather can increase the likelihood of children exhibiting deviant behavior. Individual psychological or behavioral risk factors that may make offending more likely include low intelligence, Impulsiveness or the inability  to delay gratification, aggressions lack of empathy and restlessness.Other risk factors that may be evident during childhood and adolescence include aggressive or troublesome behavior, language delays or impairments, lack of emotional control (earning to control one’s anger) and cruelty to animals. Children with low intelligence are more likely to do badly in school. This may increase the chances offending because low educational attainment, a low attachment to school and low educational aspirations are all risk factors for offending in themselves.
Low educational attainment, a low attachment to school and low educational aspirations are very prominent in Manipur, because of our education system (Tuition Culture), irregularities in BOSEM, COHSEM, MPSC, corruption, nepotism, favoritism, unemployment problems, which make our children & youths hopeless and restless which could be a major factor for the delinquency of our youths.

Children who perform poorly at school are also more likely to be truant and the status offenses of truancy is linked to further offending. Impulsiveness is seen by some as the key aspect of a child’s personality that predict offending. However, it is not clear whether these aspects of personality are a result of deficits in the executive functions of the brain or a result of potential influences or other social factors. In any event, studies of adolescence development show that teenagers are more prone to risk-taking which may explain the high disproportionate rate of offending among adolescents. Family factors that may have an influence ; the level of parental supervision, the way the parents discipline a child, particularly harsh punishment, parental conflict or separation, criminal parents or siblings, parental abuse or neglect and the quality of the parent-child relationship. Children who develop behavioral problems early in life are at greater risk for continual lifelong anti-social behavior, criminal activity and violence. Some have suggested that having a lifelong partner leads to less offending.Juvenile delinquency, which basically is the rebellious or unlawful activities by kids in their teen or pre-teens is caused by four main risk factors namely: personality, background, state of mind and drugs. These factors may lead to the child having low IQ and may increase the rate of illiteracy. Children brought up by single parents are more likely to start offending than those who live with both parents. It is also more likely that children of single parents may live in poverty, which is strongly associated with juvenile delinquency. However once the attachment a child feels towards their parent(s) and level of parental supervision are taken into account, children in single parent families are no more likely to offend than others (one vivid example is RAJO GI PHURIT, a Manipuri short story). Conflict between a child’s parents is also much more closely linked to offending than being raised by lone parent. If a child has low parental supervision, they are much more likely to offend. Many studies have found a strong correlation between a lack of supervision and offending and it appears to be the most important family influence on offending. When parents commonly do not know where their children are, what their activities are, or who their friend are, children are more likely to truant from school and have delinquent friends, each of which are linked to offending. A lack of supervision is also connected to poor relationship between children and parents. Children who are often in conflict with their parents may be less willing to discuss their activities with them. Children resulting from unintended pregnancies are more likely to exhibit delinquent behavior.
     Delinquency prevention is the broad term for all efforts aimed at preventing youths from becoming involved in criminal or other antisocial activity. Because development of delinquency in youths is influenced by numerous factors, prevention efforts need to be comprehensive in scope. Prevention services may include activities such as substance abuse education and treatment, family counselling, youth mentoring, parenting education, educational support and youth sheltering. Increasing availability and use of family planning services including education and contraceptives help to reduce unintended pregnancies and unwanted births which are risk factors for delinquency. Education is the greater equalizer, opening doors to lift themselves out of poverty.Education also promotes economic growth, national productivity and innovations and value of democracy and social cohesion. Prevention through education aides the youths to interact more effectively in social context, therefore diminishing need for delinquency.Timely intervention may leave at risk children worse off because placing large groups of at risk children together only propagates delinquency or violent behavior. The most effective /efficient interventions are those that not only separate at risk teens from antisocial peers and place them instead with pro-social ones but also simultaneously improve their home environment by training parents with appropriate parenting style, parenting style being the other large predictor of Juvenile delinquency.

The writer can be reached to:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Or WhatsApp’s No: 9612891339.

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. Presently, he is teaching Mathematics at NIELIT. Jugeshwor can be reached at: [email protected] Or WhatsApp’s No: 9612891339.

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