Juvenile Offenders and Troubled Teens

Juvenile Offenders and Troubled Teens Related Information:

What factors lead to a teenager developing into a juvenile offender? Most of the time, juvenile offenders are troubled teenagers that no one has noticed or that have slipped through the system. There are factors that lead to a troubled teen becoming a juvenile offender.

Poverty. It is not making a judgemental or derogatory statement to say that poverty breeds crime. There are many teenagers who live in poverty and who do want the same things they see others with, such as new sneakers and fashionable clothes. When they see their condition as being hopeless, many of them turn to crime as a way of obtaining these things that they see as a status symbol. Adolescents from poor families are involved in crime more often than those from more middle class families. The fact that police patrol poorer areas of a city more often gives the teenagers living there the idea that crime is something that is expected of them.

Family. Statistics have shown that the majority of troubled teens that end up in juvenile court come from broken homes. Sometimes the experience of going through a divorce and custody battles bothers the teenagers more than they let on and they find an outlet for their anger by being involved in street fights or fighting with other students. Children who live with one of their parents are more inclined to be sullen and withdrawn and therefore are more inclined to turn to substance or alcohol abuse. Statistics also show that the crimes committed by males and females in this category are also different. The troubled teens that become juvenile delinquents due to family factors are more likely to be from well-to-do families than poorer ones.

Environment. There are many environmental networks that have violence as a part of the repertoire, such as in street gangs. There are times when violent behavior becomes the norm rather than the exception if it becomes a part of a group of teenagers. Bullies are getting more and more opportunities to take advantage of other teenagers because the protection is not always in place to protect children from violence, even in their own neighborhoods.

Media. Studies have shown that many teenagers commit crimes based on the violence they witness in movies and in video games. The television has become the babysitter in many homes and unless parents monitor the viewing habits, children can be exposed to all kinds of violence in this manner. Much of the music that teenagers listen to provides them with the idea that respecting adults, especially parents, is not cool.

The public health system and the courts usually handle juvenile offenders. Public health workers try to work with the teenagers and the parents to help solve the problem. There are guidance counselors as permanent employees in all high schools, whose job it is to find the troubled teens and offer intervention programs before they end up in trouble with the law. When a troubled teen does get in trouble with the law, it tends to get harder to deal with them because the law is more concerned with punishment for the crime rather than trying to help the youth.

The many changes in society and the freedom that teenagers have today are quite different from what they were a few decades ago. Teenagers, today, are more questioning of authority and sometimes end up in trouble through no fault of their own. They are in a stage where they are not children and do not want to be treated as such, yet they are not the adults they want to be treated as. They have many stresses in their lives that parents and other adults sometimes think of as trivial. They are constantly under pressure from their peers and do not want to be seen as outside the group.