Factors That Place Youth at Risk for Juvenile Delinquency

The causes for youth crime are just as diverse as the reasons behind adult crime with some leading to nothing more than a one-time offense, while others result in repetitive, problematic behaviors that continue for much of the offender’s lifetime. Delinquent acts, as they are referred to in the juvenile justice system, can be triggered by mere peer pressure or can stem from a more serious, deep-rooted emotional problem. Whatever the cause for juvenile delinquency, any act committed by a young person that may be considered criminal should not be taken lightly.

Criminal Motivation

A number of things can motivate a youth offender to commit a delinquent act, but studies show that there are certain factors that contribute to a teen’s tendency to display criminal behavior. When it comes to youth violence, for example, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the following factors make it more likely that a young person will commit violent acts and continue to commit the same acts over time:

  • Personal history of violent victimization;
  • Severe emotional stress;
  • History of being exposed to violence and conflict in the household;
  • The use of drugs and alcohol; and
  • Certain learning disorders.

The CDC also reveals that antisocial beliefs or attitudes, as well as a history of aggressive behavior or past treatment for emotional problems all indicate a higher chance of juvenile violence.

Other Risk Factors

Other factors that are proven to contribute to youth violence include peer and community influences. For example, when young people associate with other delinquents, they are more likely to commit delinquent acts themselves. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if they exhibit no interaction with peers and experience rejection, with no involvement in conventional activities, they are also at risk for involving themselves with juvenile crime. High poverty levels and diminished economic opportunities are also responsible for spikes in juvenile delinquency, particularly violent acts.

Another interesting finding regarding at-risk youth involves school policies, such as expulsion and suspension. A study conducted by The National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine revealed that such policies are actually linked to an increase in delinquent behavior, sadly bringing about the opposite effect school officials hope to have with the enforcement of those policies.

If someone you know has been accused of a youth crime, it is important that they speak with an experienced juvenile defense attorney in Joliet right away to ensure their rights are protected in a court of law. A strong case begins with qualified representation from a competent, knowledgeable professional. Call the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 today for a free consultation.

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