Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile Delinquency

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TOPIC- Juvenile Delinquency

INTRODUCTION

The word “juvenile delinquency” has been differently analyzed by penologists. But generally speaking the term refers to a large variety of disapproved behaviour of children and adolescents which the society does not approve of, and for which some kind of diminishment, punishment of corrective measure is justified in the public interest.

Thus, the term has a very extensive meaning and includes rebellious and hostile behaviour of children and their attitude of indifference towards society.

Certain other acts such as begging, vagrancy, obscenity, loitering, pilfering, drinking, gambling etc. which vicious persons quite often commit are also included within the meaning of the term “juvenile delinquency”.

It may therefore be said that a juvenile is an adolescent person between childhood and manhood or womanhood, as the case may be, who indulges in some sort of anti-social behaviour, which if not checked, may turn him into a potential offender.

It may be noted that a great variety of acts included within the term “juvenile delinquency” are otherwise non-criminal in nature and are freely tolerated if done in by adults.

For example smoking, drinking or absenting one self from home may be permissible conducts for adults but the same are treated as delinquent acts if committed by children or adolescents.

Statistics on juvenile delinquency in India reveal that the problem is not so tense here as in other advanced countries.

This may be due to a variety of reasons such as greater family affiliation and parental control and persistence of religious convictions and moral precepts in Indian society.

Nevertheless, the impact of western civilization and temptation for luxuries and pompous life greatly disturbed the modern Indian youths. With the result there has been a considerable growth in crimes committed by juveniles.

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Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile Delinquency- INDIAN CONCEPT:

The Indian law contains a more precise and clear-cut definition of juvenile delinquency. It provides that any violation of existing penal law of the country committed by a child less than 16 years of age and a girl less than 18 years shall be an act of juvenile delinquency for the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

The special provision which exist in the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code in relation to the juvenile offenders providing for their special treatment and producer are stated below-

(a) Sections 82 and 83 of the Indian Penal Code contain provision relating to the extent of criminal liability of children belonging to different age groups. A child below the age of seven is dole inscape, that is, incapable of committing a crime. Similarly, a child between seven and thirteen years of age has only a limited criminal liability.

The contention the nature and consequences of their act due to lack of sufficient maturity and understanding. It would, therefore, be grossly unjust to treat them at par with adult offenders. (b) Section 360 of the Code Criminal Procedure, 1973 provides that a person below twentyone years of age is known as the ‘first offender’ and is not to be tried in a criminal court through the ordinary procedure.

He is to be dealt with and corrected through special methods of treatment under the law. The object is to segregate the young offender from hardened criminals so that he is not exposed to recidivist tendencies.

(c) Section 27 of the Code of Criminal Procedure further suggests that a lenient treatment to juveniles has already received statutory recognition in the Indian law.

The section provides that if a person below sixteen years of age commits an offence other than one punishable with death or imprisonment for life, he should be awarded a lenient punishment depending upon his previous history, character and circumstances which led him to commit the crime.

His sentence can further be commuted for good behaviour during the term of his imprisonment.

With a view to preventing the juvenile offender from stigmatization and embarrassment, the proceedings instituted against him are neither published for publicised. His name, address or identity is not disclosed and general public is excluded from witnessing the trial.

The delinquent’s parents may, however, be allowed to attend the trial. The object of these closed-door proceedings is to keep off the delinquent from rigours of procedural law and make the trial simple and less formal.

The guiding principles relating to the treatment of children and young delinquents are now contained in two Central Asia, namely, the Children Act, 1960 and the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958.

The latter Act provides for release of juvenile offenders on probation. The basic assumption underlying these legislative measures presuppose that youngsters are naughty is nature and therefore society’s attitude towards them should be one of tolerance and generosity.

That apart, the mental attitude of juvenile delinquent at the time of committing crime certainly differs from that of a confirmed adult criminal. It would therefore be basically unjust to punish the two alike.

The juvenile offenders are apprehended by police but only ion report of a Probation Officer. The Probation Officer makes his report on the basis of investigation made into the previous history and character of the offender and the circumstances leading to his act of criminality.

Thereafter, the young offender is produced before a lady honorary Magistrate for an informal private hearing. She explains to the juvenile the charge for which he or she is brought before her and also asks whether he/she confesses or denies the charge framed against him/her? During the course of this informal hearing the lady magistrate resorts to affectionate methods for extracting confession from the offender.

It is pertinent to note that the process of extracting confession from offenders is clearly against the accepted legal norms.

The entire proceedings and the records of the trial are kept strictly confidential so as to save the delinquent from stigmatization. If no case is established against the offender, he is discharged forthwith.

In case he is found guilty, he is booked to a detention home for readjustment. These detention homes for juvenile offenders provide for a disciplined life with sufficient recreational facilities and delinquent treatment for physical and mental defects.

The conviction in a juvenile court shall not entail any disqualification on juvenile offender.

Juvenile Delinquency

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Causes of Juvenile Delinquency

Family Influence

Theorists who believe in the peer influence model also tend to support the belief that family has a strong influence on development of delinquent behaviour. They clarify this by stating that the family type is also very important and children from non-traditional families have a greater chance of engaging in delinquent behaviour than children from traditional families. Economic condition inherit to single parent families may place children at a greater risk (K.PADMAJA).

A single parent also has the added pressure of trying to provide emotional support. While the reconstituted families experience difficulties in area of communication and emotional support.

One of the causes of Child’s deviation is divorce, and what accompany it are displacement, fragmentation and disunion of the families. It is undisputable that a child who is deprived of a loving mother and caring father would hasten towards crime and eventually becomes corrupt. (K.PADMAJA). Children of divorced parents also face emotional conflicts regarding their allegiance to either one or both of their parents. They also face difficulties in scheduling time with their parents and adjustments to new influences when their biological parents remarry.

The author State the following- “children and adolescents who experience the family disturbances due to divorce and remarriage typically demonstrate higher levels of aggressive, defiant, and delinquent behaviour.

Mental Disorder

Conduct disorder usually develops during childhood and manifests itself during an adolescence life. Some Juvenile behavior is attributed to the diagnosable disorder known as conduct disorder. Juvenile delinquent who have recurring encounters with the criminal Justice system are sometimes diagnosed with conduct disorder because they show continuous disregard for their own and others safety.

Once the Juvenile reach maturation their socially unaccepted behavior has grown into life style and they develop into career criminal. (3) Abuse also affects the child yet the link between abuse and Delinquency is not very strong.

Abused children tend to manifest more problematic and aggressive behaviour than children who are not abused. (K.PADMAJA.). some children are incapacitated so they can feed their so-called caretaker. Children get support from their parents in problem solving, negotiating conflict, and social behaviour. Some children who are neglected by their parents run away from homes and appear in streets and railway station getting involved in small crimes.

Also Children who have criminal parent are at a greater risk of becoming delinquent themselves. More than single parent children, children who grow up in home where marital violence prevails tend to be more delinquent. In such family children become introverts (K.PADMAJA). According to research parental disruption is one of the key predictor for delinquent behaviour. This disruption can be varied in nature from divorce to parental depression, inconsistent parenting, constantly moving from one place to another and at least one parent committing crime.

The conclusion is that lack of stability and consistency in lives of children leaves them at great risk for delinquent behaviour. Mental illness and substance abuse, which often co-occur among Juvenile offender, can contribute substantially to delinquent behaviour. Studies have found very high prevalence rate of mental illness among detained and incarcerated Juveniles and Juvenile offenders. Lack of appropriate treatment may lead to future Delinquency, adult criminality and adult mental illness. (www.aboutJuveniledeliquency.com)

Social Environment

There are many reasons for widespread crises in families today such as changes in social environment. There have been many changes in our social environment over last 25 years.

These changes have made the environment risky for the youth.

(www.freeonlineresearchpaper.com). There is evidence in the research to demonstrate that low self-esteem may also be one of the contributing factors to delinquent behaviour. In kalpan’s theory however, young people are emotionally vulnerable. When young people experience rejection by their peer, some react by seeking out deviant peers in order to be accepted by people their own age.

Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse can result in both short term and long term harm, including psychopathology in later life. Physical and social effects including depression, post traumatic stress disorder, poor self esteem, anxiety disorders, general psychological distress and disorder are instilled in them. (Wikipedia). Not all victims of child abuse and neglected child experience behaviour consequence. Studies have found abused and neglected children to be at least 25% more likely to experience problem such as Delinquency, teen pregnancy, drug use and mental health problem.

According to National Institute of Justice Study, abuse and neglected children were 11 times more likely to be arrested for criminal behaviour. A Juvenile is 2.7 times more likely to be arrested for violent and criminal behaviour than an adult.

Juvenile Delinquency

Theoretical Causes of Juvenile Delinquency

Rational Choice: Many psychologists believe that this kind of behavior is the result of the self interest or will of the offender himself. In other words he does this because he wants to do this. This cause is most harmful because the offender finds a certain degree of satisfaction after committing the crime and so sees nothing wrong to it.

Social Disorganization: Traditionally our community lived as one. There was joint family system. The environment of the school, home everything was very different from what it is today. As our social system is undergoing a change, families are isolated, with both parents working and children left alone with no care.

Strain and Stress: The children are more prone to easy stress and strain from the discrimination in our society. Though India has seen fast development and living conditions have improved a lot in past one decade, still we can see that the rich have become richer and the poor are poorer. So the discrimination is still there. The desires and wants drive children to commit crimes merely for satisfaction of their wants.

Bad Company: The children who are in bad company knowingly or unknowingly enter and become a part of the world of crimes. Such individuals are motivated to commit crime by their peers or criminal friends.

Labeling: This is the theory of our society. Generally when we see someone or hear someone’s involvement in a crime, we actually label him as a criminal. In schools we see and hear terms like Back Benchers, Failures. Such terminology becomes identification marks of these individuals and they thus rarely make an attempt to come out of it.  Male Phenomenon: Mostly we see the young men at their adolescent period are naturally more aggressive and they pretend to be more powerful, strong or daring. In a pressure to prove this masculinity, they step into the world of crime.

Reformative Remedies

For reformation of Juveniles various remedies are available under the Act. After coming out from these special homes they sometimes also get exploited where child trafficking is one of the forms for their exploitation. Child trafficking shall include at minimum exploitation of prostitution of others or other form of sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery and practices similar to slavery servitude or removal of organs. And thus to minimize these chances remedies are given in Juvenile Justice Act.

Adoption

Adoption means the process through which the adopted child is permanently separated from his biological parents and become the legitimate child of adoptive parent with all right, privileges and responsibility. Government has also constituted various agencies for adoption and these agencies are duty bound to keep check on children who have been adopted.

To safeguard malpractices and deviations from prescribed guidelines for adoption notified by Government of India, Supreme Court of India has appointed an independent Non GovernmentalOrganisations with experience in child adoption- ‘The Indian council of social welfare’ with head quarters in Mumbai and branches in all States as scrutiny agencies.

Central Adoption Resource Authority CARA is another authority which has been setup to keep check on the adoption policies. It is the National level body under Ministry of Women and Child Development for all matters relating to adoption. Under section 41(5) of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2000 another authority has been instituted for adoption of Juvenile child. Under this section- “No child shall be offered for adoption – · Until two members of committee declares the child legally free for placement in case of abandoned child.

  • Until two months period for reconsideration by the parents is over in case of surrendered children.
  • Without his consent in case of child who can understand and express his consent. After fulfilling all these conditions only the child can be given for adoption.

Conclusion

Exploitation of children has been a long standing practice. These delinquent go through a lot of abuse which vary in nature as physical, sexual, or psychological or as a combination. The abuse has a long lasting and profound effect on a child’s life. The problem of child abuse is a serious one and it is unlikely that it gets solved any sooner.

Also the reason why this has prolonged is that the society has affected the children in a negative way and in the society there are factors such as family influence, social environment, mental disorder and sexual abuse. This develops in young people low self esteem and they go through mental trauma which later correlates with delinquent behaviour.

What needs to be done is the question that arises before us. We cannot uproot this menace but there are solutions to keep a control on the problem of Juvenile Delinquency. In the best interest of the delinquent he or she should be rehabilitated as early as possible and integrated back in the society. Also the State must protect the rights of these children and come up with reformative methods and instil in them values that can socially uplifts them and give them a new found confidence so that they can play a constructive role in the society.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES

Juvenile Delinquency can be checked at a very primary stage and measures can be taken both at home as well as in school to help bring children out of this characterization. As it is evident from the above discussion that it’s not just the will of an individual which makes him get into the world of wrong deeds, all other factors like schools, neighborhood, Family, Society, Situations are equally responsible for the degradation or fall of a child. 

Hence instead of labeling them as one we must try and find ways, rectify the errors in their lives which led them to behave in this manner. Children are soft clay, we can mould them, we have the art, we have the knowledge, all that is needed is faith and patience which if we fail to practice it results in complete reform of a child to anti social elements and thereby criminals, which is wrong on our part. Criminals are not born they are made, and if we as a society can make them then we as a society also have the power to cure them. 

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