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SOC 222
Jennifer Schulenberg

MODULE 1 INTRODUCTIONDefinitions Juvenile DelinquencyWe start to think o What would possess a person to do something like that o Why do kids break the law o Why do kids with the same background turn out differentlyYouth who violate the law receive lots of attention from law enforcement social service agencies the government and mediaJuvenile delinquency is related to and emerges from multiple sources o The individual o Youths family o School o Peer group o Neighborhood o Social class o Overall social environmentWhat is meant by the term juvenile delinquency o Research focuses on two primary ideasPossible internal or external factors that could explain a young persons behaviourSystematic response that we employ to prevent and control antisocial behaviour which includes youth crimesMany theoretical explanations for youth crime which results in many different types of approaches to the prevention and control of youth crimeThere is no one theory that explains why youths commit crimesThe scientific study of juvenile delinquency o Theoretical explanation for three aspects of delinquencyNatureWhat constitutes youth crime and under what conditionsExtent Frequency of behaviourThe duration of offending why some continue to break the law while others dontSeriousness of the offense why do some youths shoplift while other become gang members or break and enterCausesBoth micro and macroInclude individual social situational or environmental characteristics thrillseeking boredom peer pressure rational decision making process ectDo we treat the individual or do we punish the act based on these theoretical approachesTwo important concepts that need to be clarified to set the ground work for the rest of this course o How theory is defined and what criteria are required to establish causality what one thing causes an effect on something else o How do we define delinquency itselfA theory is often defined as an interrelated set of concepts that provide an explanation for a given event or a type of behaviour o Three purposes of a theoryExplain a social phenomenonDefine and systematically map out the relationships between the theoretical conceptsIndicates the direction and magnitude of the relationship between the theoretical conceptsA theory is meant to help us make sense of the things we experience in the social world o Two types of theoriesMicro theories try to explain why individuals act in certain ways biological or psychological explanationsMacro theories try to explain how larger social and cultural factors can provide a context for human behaviour impact of being a member of the lowerclass The Characteristics of Utility and Logical Consistencyo Utility Must demonstrate validity to the extent to which it is true in the real world to create utilityValidity can be established by testing the concepts the propositions and the relationships that the theory suggests exists with observational or empirical dataEvaluated validity by how well it explains behaviour in everyday lifeAbility to explain things to a person and in a polite setting and this is the key utilityCan a practitioner use this theory to shape various programs that address youth crime o Logically ConsistencyClarity clearly definedDoes the theory make senseAre the terms easily understood by the laypersonEstablishing Causality o Ex Peer group and delinquencyWe then have to establish if a kid that has friends in trouble with the law will end up in troubleEmpirical associationAn association between the two variables peer group and delinquencyTemporal OrderThe cause has to occur before the effect delinquent actThe peer group must be present prior to the child committing the actElimination of spurious relationshipCausality is unaffected by the introduction of other factors that precede the causeThe relationship between peer group and delinquency cant disappear when you account for other factors before the peer group age sexIf it disappears the relationship is spuriousSpurious relationship exists when a third factor is the cause of bothThe definition to delinquency o When we talk about a delinquent we refer to someone who has been labeled as such by the juvenile justice system o Study of delinquency depends on the definition o Committing a crime that not accepted within society o Definitions of delinquency are social constructions so our definition is a cultural object and is affect by time and place o Jesse Harding PomeroySadistic sexual torture and two murders at 14Young demon super predator young monsterWhen he died the new Yorker described him as the nations most famous convict 18711874 1932 he died o Some is only delinquent because we have labeled them as such o Crime is serious because we designate it as such o Factors affecting decision making and motives to commit a crime shouldnt alter the definition of delinquency but instead how we respond to itShort and Nye 1958 o Used to measure juvenile delinquency o Stars used in subsequent self report studieso 90 of youth have committed a delinquent act once before they were 18 o Some are criminal selling or using drugs shoplifting others arent defying parents drinking alcoholMost youths are law abiding most of what they do isnt serious and they dont do it in adulthood
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