Interest in juvenile offenders has increased in the past few decades due to the large number of youths coming into contact with the law and the rising violent crime. Research by Howard Snyder and Melissa Sickmund provides extensive juvenile population and crime statistic data, and some of their pertinent information is summarized here to provide a rough picture of the characteristics of juvenile offenders in the United States. From 1989 to the mid-1990s, juvenile violent crime was on the rise, and it peaked in 1994. From 1994 to 2003, the juvenile crime rate decreased, with a particularly steep decline of 48% in the juvenile violent crime arrest rate. Juvenile offending remains a significant social problem, and subgroups of juveniles engage in different levels of criminal behavior. Read more about Juvenile Offenders.
Juvenile Offenders Research Topics
Several consequences of juvenile offending exist, and they are particularly salient for juveniles with early-onset of delinquency. Early-onset juvenile offenders are more likely to continue engaging in delinquent behavior, and the repeated commission of such acts throughout childhood is also a factor in persistent delinquency. In other words, involvement in delinquency precludes juveniles from engaging in prosocial behaviors and is associated with low educational attainment, inadequate social skills, limited employment opportunities, low socioeconomic status, and, for males, early parenthood. These juveniles also have higher rates of externalizing behaviors (e.g., aggression), internalizing behaviors (e.g., depression), substance abuse, and suicide. The increased number and severity of mental health problems in juvenile offenders lead to their greater involvement with child welfare service, mental health providers, and the criminal justice system. Juvenile offenders and their victims have more psychological and occupational problems and, overall, a lower quality of life. Moreover, juvenile delinquents who develop into chronic offenders cost society $1.3 to 1.5 million. Because of the great impact juvenile offending has on the children involved in criminal activity and on society, further research into prevention and intervention needs to be conducted.
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