Juvenile Delinquency Essay

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Rashika S. Bowden Individual Theories CJS/240 Instructor- Maggie Simar 9/1/2013 Theories of Juvenile Delinquency Juvenile delinquency is a threat to society and accordingly, the need to develop an understanding of the deviant behavior is of an utmost importance. There are several theories that explain delinquency and collectively, they provide a greater understanding for administrators and policy makers that are essential in developing programs and treatments that reduce juvenile delinquency and minimize its impact on our societies. This paper will discuss two prominent theories, the choice theory and the learning theories. Choice Theories According to the choice theory, juveniles are rational beings that make a choice of committing an unlawful act on the basis of their evaluation of the risks and benefits derived from the behavior (Taylor, Fritsch, & Caeti, 2011). Should they evaluate a greater benefit than risk, then the behavior will occur. If the risks outweigh the benefits, then they are more likely to refrain from the unlawful behavior. In essence, the choice theory believe in the fact that we are driven by pain and pleasure, hedonistic beings that will only refrain from a pleasure lathed unlawful behavior only if it is associated with significant pain that deter the individual from the behavior. One of the theories that are derived from the choice theory is the deterrence theory. The deterrence theory revolves around the same principles of risk and benefit however, it does not assume that juveniles are necessarily making rational decisions derived from the summation of risks and benefits but rather are engaging in a behavior based on their perceived risk and perceived benefits (Taylor, Fritsch, & Caeti, 2011). Learning Theories According to the learning theories, juveniles commit unlawful acts because they learn the behavior that supports

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