Juvenile Delinquency Correlation to Adult Crime

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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The positive correlation between lack of treatment programs and depression across juvenile delinquency is strongly intact and improvements in our legal system is much needed. Ng, Shen, Sim, Sarri, Stoffregen, & Shook, (2011) bring to our attention that despite current clearly showing evidence of higher rates of depression among incarcerated youth we have still failed to look at how depression is linked with incarceration. Their findings show that charging youth as adults in our criminal justice is a highly debated topic yet clear shows the impact on depression compared to juvenile placements and community-based youths. “The odds of being depressed rather than not depressed for the group in adult incarceration was 64 times that of community youths, 22 times that of minor offenders in their study and 37 times that of serious offenders in juvenile placements”.

Facts show us that the the chances of depression for the youths who are incarcerated as adults was at least 20 times those of any other group after controlling for all other background factors. Authors strongly suggest that this is a population can benefit greatly from proper diagnosis and services care provided by our system. They challenge the judgment of placing youths in adult prisons and question the sentencing decision of our legal system due to the impact it can have on life course perspective. This goes into focusing on the rehabilitation and re?integration of youthful past offenders into society. In addition, processing youths in adult systems fails to provide on both spectrums of general deterrence to affect the rate of crime and also specific deterrence to control recidivism.

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There are crucial mental health conclusions to be drawn when it comes to incarcerating youths in adult prisons. This controversial topic has failed to receive the attention I t needs and be considered adequately. In conclusion the impact that mental health including depression can have on youths being incarcerated as adults is a correlation that can’t be ignore yet continues to strive for change. According to Messier & Ward, (1998) who studied high ability youth earlier as well bring to our attention that there has been contrast between observation of juvenile justice, mental health, and juvenile corrections authorities.

They focus on the connection between high correlation of suicide ideation, behavior, attempt and suicide itself and depression for incarcerated youth. Looking at major depressive disorders 15%-18% they discover that offending juveniles show such symptoms. Authors explains that none of the youth he studied were identified by the screening processed as being depressed or falling under the category of high ability currently or previously. This suggest “profound inefficiency in current detention center intake and classification procedures”. They explain that it’s clear that security focuses on preventing self-harm and suicide for youth, but not enough measures taken towards rehabilitation and mental health services.

They recommend that as far screening for depression should be mandatory step for incarcerated delinquents to have a better understanding of their mental state as one improvement in our system. They refer to the rate of depression that their study revealed “should be a seen not only as a potential liability but as mental health emergency by juvenile detention authorities. According to the research there was a lack focus on looking at rehabilitation and treatment across gender but overall, it’s clear to see the need for improvement in our screening for mental health and the negative impact of adult prisons on depression.

Research limitations are present in some of the research that we have studied here that must be addressed. Some data limitations behind the findings of Diamantopoulou, Verhulst, & Van Der Ende, (2011) are based on a community sample which can mean that results are most likely to generalize clinical samples which can cause difference in ethnic groups. Also, other important aspects such as stressful life events and family relations that are can possibly impact the link between delinquency and depression were not included by authors. Next, the study done by Johnson, et al., (2011) there was limited data present due the sample size being too small and also disproportional sample is present when it comes to ethnicity. For example the sample was 65% White, 27% African American, and 7% other races/ethnicities.

In the findings of Ng,Shen, Sim, Sarri, Stoffregen, & Shook, (2011) there was differences in the background of the samples such as age, socioeconomic status, offending and parental profiles of criminal history which can be problematic for comparison. Holzer, Oh, Salas-Wright, Vaughn, & Landess, (2018) indicate limitations data in their analyses based on self-reports which at times can be an issue due to relying on respondents’ memory which can lead to false reporting. Kofler,, McCart,Zajac, Ruggiero, Saunders, & Kilpatrick, (2011) presented limitations by using telephone survey method this possibly excluded youths living in households without landline telephone service. In addition, they only focused exclusively on severe delinquent behavior. As far as for Reynolds & Crea, (2015) they came across a challenge because there are obstacles to selection bias when studying peer influence.

In addition, the techniques they used can easily cause limitations because of technology taking over our lives in recent years can impact how people build relationships over social media and play a role in peer influence impact . Also, important measures such as bullying and cyberbullying behaviors was not taken into consideration. This are just some of the crucial data limitations brought forward by the authors in their research. In conclusion linking delinquency depression across juvenile delinquency is indeed a challenge. We assume delinquent males and females will be impacted with an easy understanding of negative or positive correlations when it comes to depression. However, as we peeled more layers into literature and author findings, things turned out to be more complex and findings were mixed and conflicting to say the least when looking across gender.

The most challenging factor about this topic is mental illness in delinquency overall is such a broad and controversial discussion and attempting to break it down to specifically depression is even more difficult because even though it’s such a common illness it’s the least studied in this field. Psychosis, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia seem to be more of a common study field when it comes to the impact on juvenile delinquency. We learned that there is a positive correlation between depression and juvenile delinquency with property crime taking the lead. When it comes to age relation females seem to be impacted more with increasing depression as they age, males are headed to the pathway of delinquency in early adolescence. However, when looking at the eventual adult outcome findings for males is poorer in both domains.

However, overall major depressive episodes are increasing for female juvenile offenders, girls incarcerated in the criminal justice system reported higher levels of depression than did boys and both genders predicted greater support from families resulting in lower depression as far as preventive measures. When it comes to risk factors males are more impacted with victimization, peer influence while females are more impacted with symptoms of childhood depression as early signs however at the end of the day male depression is more likely than female depression to result in delinquency.

The next aspect that was an obstacle in this research is choosing to examine it across gender. The dominant belief and generally accepted view is that males are much more likely than females to commit delinquent acts, and that when females do offend its significantly less serious than that of males As we are aware despite there being increasing number of females involved in delinquent activities and being more associated with status offenses there is a huge gap between male and female delinquency in juveniles across our history. This is referred to as the “Gender Paradox Effect” which is the unequal gender ratio gap in juvenile justice impacting research. There always been less focus on female delinquency due to males always being in the spot light.

Due to such lower disproportionate number of female delinquent youth compared to males’ research limitations were definitely present when attempting to link to impact of depression. At the end of the day we have learned that there is a clear positive correlation between depression and juvenile delinquency. Each gender is impacted in different areas and it’s difficult to conclude if one is more significantly impacted than the other due to the variety of variables taken into consideration in our studies. However at the end of the day male depression is more likely than female depression to result in delinquency even though female juvenile offenders are reporting increased major depressive episodes. It is believed that future research should focus on gender specific treatments for juveniles suffering with depression. It’s crucial to accommodate the needs based on gender of incarcerated youths in our system.

The gender gap in mental illness and delinquency can’t be overlooked but I believe one area that needs further research to understand how to maximize our efforts to offer the care for both genders appropriately is studying the influence of sex hormones in females. Our juvenile system should consider sex and gender in depressed youth across juvenile delinquency much more strongly including more intense efforts in screening. In addition, the high impact and results of placing juveniles in adult prisons who are suffering from depression should be studied more closely. This are just few steps into improving our legal system for juvenile delinquents who are suffering with a mental illness. 

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Juvenile Delinquency Correlation to Adult Crime. (2022, Feb 10). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/juvenile-delinquency-correlation-to-adult-crime/