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LS 222 (19)
Chapter 1

SOC 222: Chapter 1 The Problem of Delinquency

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University of Waterloo
Legal Studies
LS 222
Jennifer Schulenberg

Chapter 1: Explanations of Delinquency Defining Juvenile Delinquency  Concerned with nature and extent of antisocial behaviour of youth, causes of youthful law violations, legal rights of juveniles and prevention and treatment of delinquent behaviour  What would possess a person to do something like that?  Why do kids break the law?  Why do kids with the same background turn out different?  Multiple sources: o Individual o Youths family o School o Peer group o Neighbourhood o Social class o Overall social environment What is meant by the term juvenile delinquency?  Possible internal or external factors that could explain a young person’s behaviour  Systemic responses that we employ to prevent and control antisocial behaviour, which includes youth crimes Building Blocks of Theories  3 aspects o nature  what constitutes youth crimes and under what conditions o extent  frequency of behaviour  duration of offending  seriousness of the offense o cause  micro and macro  individual, social, situational or environmental characteristics The Problem of Delinquency  Societal concern o Rates can go up or down with economic downturns and social problems affecting youth  Juvenile crimes are called status offenses because they only deal with youth  Delinquent behaviours are committed by those under 18 o 1899 where first code was created in Chicago, Illinois  Concern over juveniles o They affect the future  Main concern is the causation o Middle Ages – children and adults lumped together as one group; explanations of older criminals applicable to young ones equally  Demonology: assumes criminal and delinquent behaviour is caused by demonic possession  Classical school argues that people, adults and children act on free will in the pursuit of happiness and the minimization of pain  According to American legal system, children are less responsible than adults, thus needing different procedures for adjudication and different policies o Positive school applies to any theory that analyzes causes of crime and delinquency and concludes personal or social and environmental factors determine criminal behaviour The Issue of Causality  Positive school o Associated with determinism  Criminal behaviour is determined or caused by something  Interpretation of causality: o One phenomenon always recedes result and the effect never occurs without previous existence of the cause  Development of causal explanations o Identify contributory factors that are associated with delinquency  Pay attention to a set of criteria:  Empirical association: o Association or connection between contributory or causal variable and delinquency o Connection mus
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