An Overview of Deliquency As A Problem
Juvenile delinquency is a major problem not only the youth but also the state. Many people say that the youth holds the key to the future but with the growing number of young offenders, it is unlikely that these teenagers will not have a future at all. Recently, the number of youth offenders has grown considerably.
Juvenile delinquents have been involved in several criminal activities such as murder, theft, drug abuse, and others. Nowadays, finding female offenders has become a common thing.
Factors That May Lead To Juvenile Delinquency In Women
Certain biological and psychological factors can bring about juvenile delinquency in females. One of the most notable factor that contributes to juvenile delinquency is precocious puberty. This factor is responsible for female teenagers getting interested with older men, which has shown a higher risk for becoming delinquents themselves. Once the male gets interested with the younger teenager, this will pave the way for a greater exposure to sexual activities, alcoholism, and drug abuse.
According to studies, deliquent girls are more prone to experiencing mental health disorders. Likewise, female juvenile delinquents are more prone to developing violent and dysfunctional relationships with their families. In a study conducted by Dalton, it was revealed that girls who have not reached their pre-menstrual stage are more prone to committing suicide as well as becoming aggressive or antisocial(Briton-Jones).
Aside from that, the Virginia Commission on Youth, in their report, found out that there are several factors that lead teenagers to delinquency. Here are some of the factors that bring about delinquency in females.
1. Researches conducted nationwide revealed that most female juvenile offenders were children of single parents or comes from poor communities. Likewsie, the offenders came from families which experienced stressing situations such as poverty, criminality, and death.
2. 40 to 73% of the female juvenile offenders were victims of sexual abuse or exploitation from males. Most of these traumatic experiences were perpetrated by relatives or family members.
3. A study conducted by Acoca and Austin revealed that 25% of female delinquents took up special classes or repeated a grade. More than 25% showed such kind of experiences as a result of academic failure .
4. Another factor that may lead to juvenile deliquency is substance abuse. Reports reflected 60 to 87% female juvenile offenders need to be treated from substance abuse. The delinquents are taking the substance to overcome stress or as a form of self-medication against mental health problems.
5. Another prominent factor which the Virginia Commission on Youth revealed is pregnancy or single motherhood. According to researches, the main reason for this is because these female offenders are prone to getting involved in sexual activities even at an early age. Research likewise revealed that the offsprings of these juvenile mothers will eventually land in prison facilities.
6. Majority of female juvenile offenders have exhibited a great deal of psychological problem. Low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression are just some of the common disorders experienced by female delinquents.
The State of Female Juvenile Offense
Latest figures released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), spearheaded by its Uniform Crime Reporting Program(UCR), reported the following data concerning juvenile delinquency among females(NCJRS, 2007):
23.2% of the arrests that the agency made involved female delinquents
20.4% of female apprehensions in the US involved people below 18 years old while 7% belonged to 15 under category
In 2004, the data collection efforts of the Bureau of Justice Statistics yielded the following results:
ï¿½ 40% of every ten female prison inmates were incarcerated under the Texas, Florida, California, and Federal systems.
ï¿½ Black women inmates were 2.5 times more prone than Hispanic females and almost 4.5 times more possible than whites to be imprisoned
ï¿½ Since 1995, the total population of women State and Federal inmates reflected a 5% annual increase, against the 3.3% increase for male inmates.
Moreover, the United States Bureau of the Census, which conducts surveys every two years, involving private and public residential placement centers in each of state revealed the following data(NCJRS, 2007):
16% of juvenile offenders housed in private residential placement centers which makes up 35% of the entire population of females detained in residential placement. Of this number, 42% were apprehended for simple assault, 25% for aggravated assault, and 15% for robbery.
12% of juvenile offenders housed in public residential placements consisted of females
From 1997 to 1999, there was a 2% increase in the population og female offenders in residential placement facilities.
Furthermore, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) conducted a study involving 272,111 previous inmates who were monitored after being discharged in 1994. The figure represented 2/3 of all inmates released in the US within the same year in fifteen states. The following findings were revealed(NCJRS, 2007):
Female inmates released that year comprised 8.7% of all prisoners
57.6% of the released women inmates were arrested again within three years after their release from the placement centers
39.9% of the released female inmates were charged again within 3 years from their release
17.3% of the released inmates returned to jail with a fresh sentence.
The Ohio State University Study
A research coducted by the Ohio State University revealed that female juvenile offenders are more prone to risks compared to their male counterparts. In the study, it was discovered that girls will more likely find difficulty in aspects such as maintaining relationships with families and peers, physical and mental health, recovering from trauma, and accountability.
Stephen Gavazzi, a professor of human development and family science in the College of Human Ecology at Ohio State University said that the current juvenile system must set its sights on resolving common problems experienced by the female juvenile offenders. Prof. Gavazzi said that the current system is not designed to handle female juvenile cases. Male offenders are apprehended due to public safety concerns but female cases are detained due to problems involving their families.
According to a report published by the Virginia Commission on Youth, the percentage of female juveniles arrested in the United States has increased significantly during the last twenty years, especially in violent and property crimes, as well as in public order cases.
Majority of the female juveniles arrested committed status and non-violent crimes, like larceny and running away. As far as property crimes are concerned, the percentage rate of female offenders have almost caught up with the percentage rate of the male offenders. While in 1980, the rate of male offenders were four times greater than that of the female, by the turn of the century, the percentage rate of the male dropped to just twice the female ratre.
Likewise, there was an increase in national rates in the area of public order violations like vandalism, weapons, and violations such as curfew and loitering. From 1980 to 1999, female juveniles took the bulk of arrests as a result of running away from their homes.
Treatment Alternatives For Female Juvenile Offenders
Realizing the dire need to resolve the issues surrounding their case, there are several intervention programs that have been designed to alleviate the conditions of the offender.
Intense Juvenile Supervision Programs
This program aims to help high-risk as well as second time offenders from being removed from their respective homes or going back to a placement facility. It offers extensive supervision, accountability, and structure. It involves electronic home tracking, rigid curfew hours, constant communication with the offender in their home and school, employment and treatment. The program organizers usually conduct random unscheduled visits throughout the week.
Comprehensive DWI Supervision Programs
This program targets offenders who have committed DWI for more than three times already. It has four stages and the assigned officer usually makes unannounced visits to the homes of the defendant. These visits are accompanied by frequent drug tests.
Usually, before offenders are sent to trial or given a sentence, the Court subjects the defendant to various conditions which they should follow. Pre-trial supervision involves drug testing, electronic tracking, and no communication with the victim. The usual offenders targeted by this method are those who have been involved in violent offenses and offenders who have been
involved in several DWI cases.
The usual cases in a teen court are first time offenders of petty non-violent crimes which have been recommended for Probation by County Attorneys. From the name itself, teenagers serve as jury, ask questions to parents and juvenile offenders before rendering a sentence. Hearings are held twice in a month with the Probation officer monitoring hostilities.
Victim Offender Mediation (VOM)
This is a program wherein offenders and their victims sit down and conduct discussions regarding certain crimes and their feeling towards the incident. Adult and juvenile offenders guilty of committing violations against properties are usually referred to undergo VOM. The usual sanctions meted out are restitution and community service.
Initiated since 2003, this program targets high risk offenders who are on active probation. It is a collaboration of law enforcement agencies and probation officers, who usually hold offenders liable for any violation as well as gives praises to non-violators.
Remote Electronic Alcohol Monitoring(REAM)
This program is geared towards making sure that offenders will comply with the order of the court to abstain from drinking alcohol.
Juvenile delinquecy is undoubtedly one of the major issues that any government should attempt to address. The growing number of females becoming juvenile delinquents is an indicator that there is really a need to overhaul the juvenile justice system of the United States.
Juvenile delinquecy is not only a problem in the United States but also worldwide. Thus, it is the responsibility of every government to make sure that their young people especially the female are protected from institutions or entitities that will put their future in jeopardy. Criminality is another growing problem but is it not for the youth.
The responsibility of protecting the youth begins in the family, which is supposed to be the foundation of society. If this very foundation will be corrupted and damaged, then it will be hard for the youth to survive in the outside world that sees violence, crime, and injustice.
The youth are supposed to be the vanguards of the future but if their welfare and interest will be jeopardized, what future will await them?
Women & Girls in the Criminal Justice System. 27 December 2007. 14 June 2008 National Criminal Justice Reference Service. .
Jones, Christine. Factors Contributing to juvenile delinquency. 14 June 2008.
Ohio State University. \"Girl Juvenile Offenders Exhibit More Problems, Risks Than Boys.\" ScienceDaily 10 May 2005. 14 June 2008
Profile of the Female Juvenile Offender.2002. Commonwealth of Virginia. 14 June 2008.
Juvenile Offender Statistics. (n.d.> . Brown County of Minnessota. 14 June 2008.