Juvenile Delinquency That Join Gangs
Juvenile delinquency is a behavior associated with the young children or juveniles as is commonly referred. The negative behavior exhibited by these children may result in crimes and subsequent legal action. Several communities have witnessed an increase in such crimes. This paper therefore seeks to explore the concept of juvenile delinquency; and trace it back to its causal factors including but not limited different kinds of violence exhibited, bullying, drug abuse, and the preventive measures including treatment and other issues associated with the mental wellbeing of the adolescents. Juvenile delinquents are usually minors whore are between the ages of between ten and eighteen (Shoemaker, 2009).
In the United States, a juvenile is basically under the age of seventeen and commits what would basically be described as crime were they adults. The law does not define such criminal commissions by the children as crimes per se’, but is properly defined as juvenile delinquent acts. Juvenile delinquency; the development of childhood gangs and the role the society plays to prevent and rehabilitate delinquents.
Child Gangs in the United States
America has witnessed some of the most notorious gangs known in history that have been recruiting juveniles. Some of these gangs like the Crips and Blood are the most notorious the United States has had to date. These gangs are associated with the young American juveniles. Whereas these gangs have been around for a while, the authorities have had little success in trying to control them (Franzese, Covey, Menard and Covey, 2006). Crips was formed and accommodated only young people and that is why the choice of name was seen to be appropriate. The young men who came up with the group ended up being called Crips after they were seen to be walking like cripples. On the other hand the Bloods were established to finish up the Crips. Los Angeles has seen its fair share of juvenile gangs.
To join gangs like the blood, the children were as a ritual supposed to pop some blood. The gang leaders would always want to make sure that the initiation was very brutal. Popping blood would also ensure that the gang members were ready to be gangs.
Some of the popular initiation rituals with most gangs and specific to crips and the blood gangs were; killing a police officer, stealing, driving while shooting randomly, spinning of a pistol or loading a pistol and courageously pointing at someone’s head, fighting another tough gang member, engaging in sexual acts with several gang members, fighting for a gang flag and to some extreme having sex with a gang member infected with an STI among other rituals (Delaney 2006)
However, the big question is why children end up in gangs in such large droves?
Why Blood and Crips Were Popular Gangs with the Youth
The Crips was a gang established by a 16 year old in the 1969 in Los Angeles. This gang became popular with the young because they felt like it was their outfit and resonated with the needs of those who established it. The blood on the other hand among other gangs intended to rival the huge following and influence by the crips, which had a following to the thousands. However, most Gang members leave after they attain maturity because most of its recruits are children and the youth. The Gangs advance juvenile mentality and therefore does not resonate well with the adults. Most adults are affected by the gang lifestyle when they leave.
Why Children Join Gangs
Children join gangs to convey their frustration from what they have been subjected to by their parents and society. This is the single largest influence of juveniles; however, there are those that join some notorious gangs that are feared in the society simply for recognition and protection.
There are many reasons why the youth prefer to join gangs. This membership happens or is approved when the child engages in a crime. The process to gang hood is like an initiation. A child that is not properly brought up will want to be initiated to a gang for several reasons. There are those who join gangs for identity purposes. This means that one is able to stand out in the society and among other gang members.
There are those who join the gangs to gain protection from those who molest them or look down upon them. Protection therefore means that one cannot be attacked by others in the society. The families are largely to blame for this since they are supposed to offer protection and care to the child. Parents should at all times protect their children from harm to prevent them from seeking their own protection.
Children also in their adolescent stage like to be noticed and given special attention by others. They will therefore join gangs to intimidate or threaten others. They may also join gangs to satisfy their inner ego of having made a contribution to gang activities.
Gangs are known to be very rich from the proceeds of the crimes they engage in. the juveniles will most likely be tempted to acquire cash of their own independent from their parents. The gangs are also engaged in drug abuse, which is appealing to the adolescent youths (Kinnear, 2009).
Some children have been brought up in broken and violent families. These children need a family and most of them go to the gang which offers the same functions a family would offer. The children go for companionship.
Some children also join gangs because one of his allies is in the gang. This may look really stupid but it happens to majority of juveniles. They may also join for fun. The children enjoy engaging in violent behavior without proper analysis of the consequence of their actions.
Children like to earn respect and with do anything to earn respect be it in school or at home. Gangs are feared and any member of a particular gang is respected because of fear of what they are capable of.
There is little information available to the youths on the dangers of joining gangs. Parents also do not know what their children are up to. Parents need to pay more attention to the development of a child before it is late
Sample Statistics on Juvenile Arrests, Violent Crime, By State
Factors That Contribute To Juvenile Delinquency
There have been cases where children engage in different behaviors some negative and others positive. Some children are known to engage in theft, violent behaviors. Studies have tried to explain these incidences associated with juveniles. Most children have had difficulties adjusting to different situations in the environment they live in. cases of delinquency is the outcome of the difficulties associated with the conditions in the society and the difficulties in adjusting to them appropriately. This therefore means that there is no easy way of identifying the specific cause that leads to juvenile delinquency.
Whereas sociologists and other experts have tried to infer certain behavior exhibited to particular conditions offered by the society, there are other factors that specifically determine the type of behavior. For example, a family that goes without meals or one that does not enjoy basic needs is likely to make a juvenile avoid school on even worse engage in theft. The child may be forced to look for other means to survive and earn more cash.
Although it is not easy to solve the complex matrix there have been a particular trend established by scholars and has been considered common among most delinquents. There is ease therefore in trying to come up with a list of possible causes. There are several factors and conditions responsible for juvenile delinquency (Heilbrun & Redding, 2005).
They are: physical, mental, conditions at home, conditions at school, neighborhood and occupational factors.
Physical factors are from its literal definition, involve the body. There are conditions to which a child’s body should be taken care of. Some bodily acts and harm may greatly affect the way he behaves and interacts with others in the society. Bodily conditions may not be directly related with direct physical harm.
A child that is not fed well will most likely suffer from malnutrition. These extreme conditions may cause damage to the body of the child. To counter the bodily harm the child may instinctively be pushed top certain delinquent behavior to counter the adverse effects they are subjected to. When harm is also subjected on the child, they may resort to some form of violence or delinquent acts to mitigate the experiences they are subjected to. The child is trying to cover for the deficiencies they are subjected to by their guardians or society they live in (Heilbrun, & Redding, 2005).
Physical factors may involve the lack of sleep due to factors beyond the financial reach of the parents. Lack of sleep for a child is critical since it can result to unsettled mind. Malnutrition is also another physical factor and causes laziness and hypersensitivity. A child who misses meals can rob to get food to eat. The resulting delinquent behavior is related to impulses and may not be within the child’s control.
Other conditions that may be classified under physical include defective teeth, other injuries like those of the spine, heart diseases among others.
This situation means that the child may not be in a position to compete with others favorably. There are several factors that may be causing mental sluggishness. These may result to inhibited growth or scientifically known as stunted growth. The child may want to compensate for the disability. Delinquency may come in handy. The child may compensate by engaging in delinquency. Mental development of the child is very important in behavioral development of the child. Most children with mental development face ridicule from their colloquies and this dictates how they behave (Feld & Bishop, 2012).
Other conditions that may be classified under mental include defective teeth, other injuries like those of the spine, heart diseases among others.
Conditions At Home
Children are greatly affected if the conditions at home are not favorable. Children from poor homes are most likely to join gangs to show their frustration or get what they do not have at home. Parents who exhibit violence also influence their children to engage in criminal behavior.
The neighborhood greatly influences the behavior of a child. Most crimes associated with juveniles occur in areas densely populated. These are mostly urban poor areas. The conditions are mostly tough in these areas. Children are exposed to deviant behavior and lack the much-needed protection. The children are frustrated and mostly resort to gangs from protection from other peers or hardships (Feld & Bishop, 2012).
Family Environment and Peer Influence
There has been no particular bias to gang formation and influence to juveniles, however, families that have had economic difficulties , separation, violence, alcoholic abuse, imprisonment of a member or parent and death of a member have been known to influence children to gang behavior. Where the family engages in drug abuse the child will also use drugs and end up associating with gangs to access drugs and get more cash for the drugs. There is no specific cause to gang behavior and therefore cannot be largely associated with single parenthood alone. Gangs are known to emanate from both single and dual families.
The family is very important in the upbringing of a child. It is considered to be a very basic unit in the juvenile’s life and greatly determines how the child will grow up. The parents are there to offer guidance and supervision to the child. All these are achieved when the child is discipline when they go wrong. A moderate punishment is preferred to much harsher punishment. Parents that undergo separation are likely to interfere with normal growth of a child, conflicts among parents also largely contributes to delinquency. Parental abuse and abandonment of the child is also one incident that affects children immensely. Sticking together in marriage is good for a disciplined child. Those parents that stay together for fairly long times have had disciplined and obedient children.
The development of a child’s brain takes place in the very early stages of a family. The development of the intelligence quotient will largely been affected if the child engages in drug abuse, children engaging in forbidden acts, neglect , poor home environment and don’t care parents. The development of IQ is therefore very important. All these early conditions lead to juvenile delinquency.
Children need to be raised up by both children as much as possible. Studies reveal that children brought up in a family set up with both parents are least likely to engage in crime compared to their counterparts brought up by single parents. There are particular conditions synonymous with single parents that are least experienced by a family with both parents. Poverty for example is associated with single parenthood. Poverty is a major factor contributing to juvenile delinquency. However if the single parent can offer the child keen supervision and love, then the child is more likely to be more disciplined. Children in a family with both parents that are ever fighting will be worse for the development of the minor. The child should not be exposed to violence at such tender age.
It follows therefore that child supervision is very important to the smooth development of a child. When a child is not monitored closely, then the likelihood that the child will engage in crime is high. Supervision is the single most important factor to proper upbringing of a child. Supervision means the parents should at all times know the whereabouts of their children. When the parent takes less interest in the child’s activities, whereabouts, friends they hang out with, how they behave and perform in school, and then the child is most likely to engage in delinquent behaviors.
Poor supervision may also be a signal to a bad relationship between the parent and the child. Where there is conflict between the parent and the child, the child will least likely want to discuss issues with them. Where poor communication exists, then the child may resort to his own mitigation measures which may involve engaging in criminal behavior (McCord, Widom, Crowell, and National Research Council, 2001).
Whereas most of a child’s behavior is influenced by the relationship they have with their parents, it is also important to know that siblings can also influence each other. Children At the adolescent stage are very sensitive and need proper guidance and good associations. Adolescents with delinquent siblings are most likely to be influenced into engaging in criminal activities. Grown up children should be monitored so as not to influence negatively the character of the younger siblings. Situations where the reverse happens are not common.
At an early age and through adolescent stage, peer association is at its peak for children. Peer groups can build or destroy a child. A child who spends most time with ill mannered children are most likely going to adapt to their behavior. On the other hand, a rejection by a peer group can also make a child bitter and withdrawn. This child is likely to engage in crime to cover up for the rejection. Children can be irrational when offended. In the United States, we have had several incidences where children have used guns to shoot down their school mates who have in one way or another offended them. Incidences arise out of poor socialized and withdrawn children. Peer socialization in children needs to be monitored very closely to avoid such incidences arising out of dissatisfaction or rejection.
Family is very important to avoiding the bringing up of juvenile delinquents. Pregnancies out of wedlock lead to single parents and should be avoided at all means possible for a better society. Children respect parents when they are brought up in accepted family structures.
What Influences One to Gang Behavior
Socialization is very important to avoiding gangs. Children who are antisocial are known to join gangs to cover up for their behavior. Parents should take their children for recreational activities to increase socialization.
Drug and alcohol abuse is the single largest influence to children joining gangs. Some drugs like cocaine and marijuana are addictive and those who use them will join gangs to sustain their supplies (Flannery, 2006).
Discrimination and victimization will contribute to joining gangs. A child who was abused at a tender age or was neglected is likely to join a gang. Any negative occurrence at an early age increases the tendency to join a gang. The most vulnerably of two sexes, are the boys?
The mental state of mind also contributes to joining gangs. Some are medical and the parents should always evaluate and asses their children for any abnormal behavior
Types of Juvenile Crimes
Male and female juveniles do not at most cases commit the same crimes. The males are majorly engaging in sexual crimes. The boys due to the adolescent stage and peer influence commit sexual assault and rape. These are popular with adolescent males. For example, in the United States, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency has noted that most juveniles arrested of sex crimes were young Americans (Holmes and Holmes, M., 2009). This is most explained by the kind of upbringing and poverty some were subjected to. The most single most contributors to these crimes to this particular community are associated with peer pressure.
Children have also been reported to engage in vandalism of property of engaging in graffiti. These are behaviors associated with stress and pressure. The children chose to vent out of pressure and frustration.
Theft is also associated with juveniles especially shoplifting. Children tend to look for what they are not provided for at home and may resort to shoplifting to get what they want. The juveniles mostly engage in petty theft (Lerner, Lerner, M. & Finkelstein, 2001).
Most juveniles have had assault charges preferred against them. Children brought up in an abusive family, use the same means to solve their disappointments with their peers. Parents should at all times avoid fighting in the presence of the children.
There have been several cases of underage drinking reported in the United States and all over the world. Children engage n drinking either because they are frustrated or because parents drink in their presence.
Child drivers should also not be encouraged unless the child is of legal driving age. Parents are known to encourage this vise and therefore there has been an increase in accidents associated with underage drivers.
Should these juveniles delinquency be Incapacitated or rehabilitated
Whereas juveniles may commit crimes similar to those committed by the adults the child offenders should be rehabilitated especially where the cause of the crime is attributed to the parents or the society they live in. the children when found guilty of the offence should be admitted to Juvenile Training Schools. There are special schools where the young children are taught and corrected so as to be better people and productive in the society.
To prevent youths from joining gangs, the family should offer close attention to everyday needs and activities of their children. They should take keen interest to school performance and behavior.
Several countries including the United States has seen a rapid increase in child gangs. The society has misinterpreted the causes of gang behavior and therefore has not been able to offer better solutions to it. There is need to develop a comprehensive and all inclusive approach to effectively tackle gangs. The local administration, the parents, the youth should come up with projects and recreational facilities that keep the young people stress free. Counseling centers should also be established to advice and direct the children on how to cope with stress.
The authorities should also come up with strict measures that ensure that drugs and alcohol are not sold to the children at all costs. With proper measures and sensitization programmes in place, there will be few incidences of drug abuse.
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