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Juvenile Delinquency - Essay Example

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Two of them died instantly while the other one was rushed to hospital. This was in reaction to a suspension letter he had received from the school for engaging in other forms of criminal…
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Juvenile Delinquency
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Introduction John is a 13year old school boy who shot three who were coming out of a room. Two of them died instantly while the other one was rushed to hospital. This was in reaction to a suspension letter he had received from the school for engaging in other forms of criminal behaviors within the school compound. Previously, he had been caught smuggling drugs into the school compound. His background information indicates he is a victim of family violence. Target hardening in the school would have minimized occurrence of such an incidence. Although there are many theories that can be used to explain delinquent behavior, this paper will use the routine activity theory to explain the behavior of John and show how it relates to his behavior.
Routine Activities Theory
According to this theory, people commit crimes when chances for committing crime present themselves (Siegel 123). In delinquency cases, this is mostly the case as teenagers find themselves with a lot of freedom to commit crime and the absence of deterrents only serves to make an opportunity more viable. According to this theory, three aspects must be present for a criminal activity to take place. These features include the presence of a person motivated to perform a crime, a victim of the crime and the absence of deterrents. According to this theory, therefore, criminals are opportunistic in nature.
In the case of John, he is a motivated person ready to carry out his criminal activities. After being suspended from school, John may have been motivated to take revenge. From this need to revenge on the school for suspending him, he decided to carry a gun to school and shoot some students. Since there was a motive behind his actions, he is a motivated criminal. Given the fact that he had been suspended for smuggling drugs, John is a chronic offender as he is prone to be breaking the law most of the time. Being subjected to violence was a motivating factor and thus he became a youth at risk. Despite this information, shooting the students is an act of free will rather than a random event.
The students who were walking out of a class may have been the first to meet John thus presenting themselves as victims. Given the fact that John was smuggling drugs into school, it is also possible that he was a victim of substance abuse. His record also shows that he had been arrested for carrying illegal substances. His delinquent behavior was noted to have been increasing, culminating in the school shooting incident. He may have become a criminal due to the labeling that he was used to when he was arrested.
The third characteristic proposed in the routine activity theory is lack of deterrents (Winfree and Abadinsky). Without a deterrent, criminals find it easier to attack victims as the risk is minimal. John may have found it easy to attack the students as there was nothing deterring him from carrying out such an activity. With abusive parents, John was left on his own to learn the basics of life. In the process, he might have found that school was becoming disinteresting and chose other means of achieving the American dream. This may have led him to smuggle drugs for economic gain. It is important that schools ensure that students are catered for according to their needs and the tracking program is a good way of ensuring that all students remain interested in school. Delinquent behavior in juveniles such as John may be minimized through recognition of problems faced by the teenagers. The justice system should also have rules to remand repeat offenders so as to show zero tolerance on criminal behavior in juveniles. This would be a good deterrence measure for all other kids intending to commit crimes.
Conclusion
The routine activities theory is best suited to explain the delinquency behavior of John as he is opportunistic. Carrying drugs into the school meant that he was motivated and had identified a recipient for them. Unlike in town where the risk is more, John, out of free will, decided to launch his attack in a space that had minimal deterrent towards his activities. In addition, the students were victims who were harmless and would make his actions more direct to his target, the school. This theory captures all the characteristics in John that may have fueled his delinquent behavior as well as his motivation for the shooting incident.
Works Cited
Siegel, Larry J. Introduction to Criminal Justice. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning, 2009.
Winfree, L Thomas and Howard Abadinsky. Understanding Crime: Essentials of Criminological Theory. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning, 2009. Read More
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