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Juvenile Crime in St. Louis

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Since family processes and parental practices during childhood and adolescence affect whether or not an individual will subsequently become delinquent or criminal, it would seem to follow that adult family life might also be associated with a reduced likelihood of criminal behavior

Logically, being married and having children simply seems incompatible with being a criminal.

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Many children reach adulthood without involvement in serious delinquent behavior, even in the face of multiple risks. Although risk factors may help identify which children are most in need of preventive interventions, they cannot identify which particular children will become serious or chronic offenders. It has long been known that most adult criminals were involved in delinquent behavior as children and adolescents; most delinquent children and adolescents, however, do not grow up to be adult criminals. Similarly, most serious, chronically delinquent children and adolescents experience a number of risk factors at various levels, but most children and adolescents with risk factors do not become serious, chronic delinquents. Furthermore, any individual factor contributes only a small part to the increase in risk. It is, however, widely recognized that the more risk factors a child or adolescent experiences, the higher their risk for delinquent behavior. A difficulty with the literature on risk factors is the diversity of the outcome behaviors studied

Some studies focus on behavior that meets diagnostic criteria for conduct disorder or other antisocial behavior disorders; others look at aggressive behavior, or lying, or shoplifting; still others rely on juvenile court referral or arrest as the outcome of interest. Furthermore, different risk factors and different outcomes may be more salient at some stages of child and adolescent development than at others.

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The programs mainly aim at preventing the youths from indulging in delinquent behaviours, preventing the first-time offenders from further engagement in criminal behaviour and emphasizing family relations. This has greatly reduced the number of both the ordinary as well as the serious juvenile offenders (Burfeind and Bartusch, 2010)

Another notable factor is the fact that there have been changes in the field of criminology including the justice systems that are in place to cater for different offences. The juvenile justice system was in a bad situation over the past despite the efforts that had been put in place to improve the condition hence inefficiencies that led to an increase in the rate of crime among the juveniles. However, in the recent past, there have been positive changes for instance the substitution of punishment with discipline which avoids focusing on the young offenders’ deficits or weaknesses but instead establishes a system that builds on their strengths and emphasizes on the benefits of good behaviour through rehabilitation.There are various strategies that could be applied in the correction of the juvenile delinquents all with their positive and negative impacts on the offenders depending on their effectiveness (Finley, 2007). This paper looks into the issue of juvenile delinquency with much emphasis being given to the recent trends in this field and the factors associated with them.

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Obviously, the average length of stay, nationally, in public custodial institutions appears to have decreased. There is a great deal of variety by state, however, in average length of stay in long-term public facilities, with some states reporting average stays that are well above the national norm. The trend toward privatization of juvenile correctional facilities may further complicate understanding of juveniles in custody.

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Burfeind, J and Bartusch, J. D. (2010). Juvenile Delinquency: An Integrated Approach. 2nd Ed. New York: Jones & Bartlett Learning

Finley, L. L. (2007). Encyclopedia of Juvenile Violence. London: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Scott, S.E. and Steinberg D.L (2008). Rethinking Juvenile Justice. USA: Harvard University Press.

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