Juvenile delinquency can be contributed to a variety of different factors, including family income status. In the state of Delaware these trends have been seen in the lives of juvenile delinquents throughout the state for a number of years. A child, or children, from low income households have been found more likely to turn to juvenile delinquency due to a number of factors, some of which are less parental monitoring and a lack of fun activities for the young people to occupy themselves with safely.
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Typically, juvenile delinquents in the state of Delaware are the most likely to become repeat offenders in a vast array of different crimes. Juveniles between the ages of 13-17 who find themselves in trouble with the law once are found to be more likely than adults to be in the position again, and these crimes can range from simple misdemeanors to more serious felonies.
Learned Behaviors and Lack of Parental Guidance
Low income families in the state of Delaware are more likely to experience juvenile delinquency than families of higher incomes, and this is due to a variety of reasons. Often, these low-income families will require the parents or parent to spend more time away from the home in order to work and make ends meet, creating a lack of guidance for the juveniles of the home. This lack of guidance will give the juvenile the opportunity to do things easily that may otherwise be forbidden if the parent was present to supervise, and it also may create a feeling of emptiness for the child.
Many studies have shown that a lack of parental guidance, and lack of parental attention, will cause young people to act out in a way that will garner them attention, whether negative or positive, which will often lead towards juvenile delinquency. Also, these same young people may seek attention from whomever they can get it from, which will sometimes result in joining gangs or other groups of less-positive friends. Most frequently, children without their mother will show these traits more frequently than those who grow up without their father, but these behaviors can manifest themselves in either situation.
Learned behaviors are also big contributors to the juvenile delinquency found in low-income families. These behaviors may be learned from a parent, family member, friend, or simply from what they see around their communities, but they can teach a child from a very young age that certain actions are acceptable, whether the law agrees with these actions or not. When a young child sees the actions of someone that they look up to, or something in their community that they observe time and time again, it is natural for the child to assume that these are behaviors that are acceptable in society. For instance, when a child sees his or her parents working hard each day, they are more likely to adapt to and learn this type of behavior to be one that is correct. However, when these observed behaviors go against the law, this natural absorption of learned behaviors winds up doing the child a potentially great disservice later on in life.
These learned behaviors can also create a vicious cycle if the child winds up a juvenile delinquent and repeat offender, and he or she may teach their children that this behavior is acceptable as well should they continue it into adulthood.
Crimes Commonly Committed by Juvenile Delinquents in Delaware
In Delaware, the vast majority of crimes committed by juveniles are as follows:
- Disorderly conduct
- Alcohol offenses
- Simple Assault/Battery
- Marijuana possession
- Criminal nuisance
While some of these crimes may be on the milder side of the scale, they will often require the victim, or the perpetrator, to hire a lawyer to ensure a fair day in court.
Keeping Delaware Juveniles Away from Delinquency
Delaware juvenile delinquency is on the decline in recent years, and the Delaware model for curbing juvenile delinquency has proven to be an effective one for juveniles across the state and from all sides of the socioeconomic spectrum. In 2008, Delaware juvenile probation officers were experiencing an average caseload of around 32 ongoing cases per year on average, and this number has dropped to 23 in recent years. This drop in juvenile delinquency can be attributed to a number of different factors, from new “Zero Tolerance” policies being put into place in Delaware schools to an expansion of youth and family assistance programs that focus on keeping Delaware’s kids on the right track.
The programs being put in place to help juveniles escape the world of delinquency are focused counseling, rehabilitation, education, and fun activities being made available for young people to do something positive with their time.
The focuses of these programs are to help young people from becoming repeat offenders, as statistics show is often the case, and thereby allowing Delaware to cut their crime levels over time. As many juvenile delinquents do wind up within the justice system time and time again from repeating their behaviors, these juveniles will often grow up involved with this lifestyle, becoming adult offenders in time. With the programs that Delaware has in place, the state hopes to rehabilitate and teach children at a young age that their learned behaviors are not those that will help them to become productive members of society, and to give them an option to obtain any help they need in breaking this vicious cycle.