Analysis Of Youth Crime Interventions Essay Research

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Analysis Of Youth Crime Interventions Essay, Research Paper Analysis of Youth Crime Interventions This paper examines possible root causes of youth crime, and appropriate interventions to correct the problem. Articles that will be consulted include Gordon L. Spencer s (1977) work on the school s role in delinquency, David Brownfield and Kevin Thompson s (1991) work on the role of one s peers in delinquency and Joseph H. Rankin and L. Edward Wells (1990) work on the role of the family in delinquent behavior. Also examined for possible interventions include Ed Earnest s (1996) report on a treatment program operating in Alabama, and Mark Steward s (1997) report on a treatment program in Missouri. The Canadian Juristats are also used to help place statistical values on youth

crime, and in order to determine how great a problem youth crime actually is. Spencer s (1977) article helps shed light on one of the major contributors to youth delinquency and crime, namely the educational system. Often researchers will note the tendency for youthful offenders to be failures in their communities and schools, but Spencer s research investigates to what extent the schools themselves contribute to delinquency. Spencer notes common trends associated with youthful offenders such as that they are often school drop outs, that they are educationally retarded four to five years on average, and that they usually have an intense dislike for school. However instead of looking to the youth as the source of the problem, Spencer believes that it is the school that has the

negative effects on the youth. Perhaps the largest problem with schools is their insistence on teaching subjects in which many youth cannot succeed, and so then repeatedly fail. Subjects which fail to interest youth and cause low grades can lead to damaged self confidence and tend to push the student closer toward delinquency. To the many youths, the learning process can seem irrelevant to the real world, and schools rarely relate the work to the outside world. If the youth becomes sufficiently frustrated they may quit school, and obviously an unemployed school drop out has a greater chance of becoming involved in youth crime. [1] Spencer notes other problems such as the tendency of negative relationships to form between school officials and a delinquent youth. If frequent

negative interactions between the youth and the teacher occur, mostly taking the form of harsh discipline, the youth may turn toward the delinquent subculture for acceptance, and to rebuild self esteem. [2] Spencer s article is clearly a message aimed at school officials to help them realize the importance they hold in shaping youth s behavior. Because most school teachers see delinquency as a socioeconomic problem, they take no action, and do not look for problems or solutions within their classroom [3], and so in a sense become part of the problem. Spencer concluded that delinquency is caused by many factors, but the school is often an overlooked source. The first step to eliminate the schools as a contributing factor of delinquency is for educators to realize their influence,

and then to change education to better suit each individual student s needs. This article is somewhat radical in the sense that it is calling for major educational reform. In order for schools to combat delinquency, teachers would have cater the curriculum to individual student interest, and relate subject material to its real world application. Also schools and administrators would need to monitor student-teacher relationships to ensure that students are not suffering from frequent negative interactions. Above all, the curricula would have to provide a reasonable opportunity for every student to succeed in some areas. (Spencer, 1977, p 24) In Brownfield and Thompson s (1991) article, they discuss one of the more obvious contributing factors to youth crime and delinquency, namely