Juvenile Justice
Chapter 5
Status Offenders and Nonviolent
Measuring the Number of Juvenile
Offenses Committed
• Three methods used to measure the nature and
extent of unlawful acts by juveniles
– Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
• Complied by FBI from 15,000 police departments
• Divides crime into Part I and Part II crimes
• Part I includes eight major crimes: homicide and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated
assault, burglary, larceny, arson and motor vehicle theft.
• 80 – 90% of children under the age of 18 commit crimes that
they could be arrested for BUT Only 3% of youth are actually
• Other sources of official stats come from the Bureau of
Justice Statistics (BJS) the Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and National Institute of
Justice (NIJ)
Measuring the Number of Juvenile
Offenses Committed
• Self-Reports
– Dark Figure of Crime
– Crime not known to officials
– crime not gathered from official stats, but by
– Self-reports include one-on-one interviews,
surveys and anonymous questionnaires
Measuring the Number of Juvenile
Offenses Committed
• Victimization Data
– National Crime Victimization Survey
• U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice
Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau
• 2 X’s year on 50,000 people 12 years and older
• Gather information about crime, including those
not reported to police.
• Offenses that an adult would not be arrested for.
– Truancy, curfew violations, running away, alcohol use,
– 142,000 youth arrested for running away in 2000
– Truancy is most frequent offense for youth below the
age of 15
– Curfew violations most common status offense
– 154,700 juveniles arrested for curfew and loitering
violations in 2001
– Liquor violations most frequent offense for youth 16
years and older
• Binge Drinking reported in 2 out of 5 college students
• Linked to 1,400 student deaths
• Alcohol and Drug Use
• 139,238 arrested for drug abuse
• 92,326 arrested for liquor law violations
• 13,397 arrested for drunkenness
• 13,971 arrested for DUI
• Computer Crimes
• Juveniles use computers to hack into other
systems, counterfeit money, traffic in child porn
and stealing passwords from internet providers
Juvenile Delinquents
• Juvenile delinquent is defined as a youth who commits
an act that would be considered a crime if committed by
an adult
• Characteristics of juvenile Delinquent
Socially assertive
Ambivalent about authority
Lacking of self-control
Juvenile Arrest Statistics
• Between 1980 and 2000 juvenile arrests for
violent crimes increased more for females than
• Although Blacks make-up for only 16% of the
juvenile pop., black youth accounted for:
41% of motor vehicle theft arrests
28% of drug abuse violations
26% of larceny-theft
25% for curfew violations
Juvenile Arrest Statistics
• Table 5.5 Arrest by age. 2001
– Delinquency tends to increase with age,
peaking in mid-teens then drops significantly
by age 21 in Part I crimes
• Experiments:
– Stanford psychologist Phillip Zimbardo place two cars
without license plates and their hoods up in the
following places:
• Bronx, New York
• Palo Alto California
• Broken-Window Theory
– Unattended property becomes fair game for people
out to have fun.
– In 2000, 114,000 juveniles arrested for vandalism
– Down in 2001 with 71,962 arrests
Other Part I Crimes
• Motor Vehicle Theft:
– 2000, 50,800 arrest resulting in a 51% decrease from 1991
• Larceny-Theft
– Most frequent crime for juveniles
– Streaming: band of juvenile shoplift from stores
– 363,500 arrests
• Arson
– With exception of runaways and loitering, arson is the offense with
greater proportion of arrests
– Average of 415 arrest in 1980’s
– Increase of 53% in 2000
– Juveniles accounted for 49% of all arson arrests.
• Burglary:
– In 2000, 95,800 arrests for ages 10-17
– 2001 down to 61,623
Recap of Causes that Contribute to
• Biological Theory
– Criminals are born not made
– Genetic abnormality
– Violence and aggression associated with the
presence of certain chemicals in the brain.
– Richard Speck who murdered 8 nurses, had
one extra male chromosome.
Recap of Causes that Contribute to
– Criminals are made not born
– People become who they are because of their life
– Children first learn from their families their rules of
– Wrongdoing is reflected by what was learned
– Children who are corrected by their parents/guardians
are more likely to conform to society rules
– If not corrected, they are likely to ignore society rules.
Recap of Causes that Contribute to
• Sociological Theories
– Take behavioral position one step forward.
– During socialization process, children likely to
learn antisocial behaviors through their social
and cultural environments
– Delinquency often begins in school.
– Most youths will test limits with
theft/shoplifting, but they usually outgrow this
Recap of Causes that Contribute to
• Psychological Approaches
– Most delinquent youth have to deal with
poverty and/or destructive relationships
– Unhealthy environments can lead to a
disturbed personality structure.
– Adolescence is crisis…….with added
psychological disturbances, problems worsen.
– Emotional foundation that is weak is related to
Recap of Causes that Contribute to
• Acting Out behaviors are a major
characteristic of delinquency
– Lack of self-control and impulses
– Desire for immediate gratification
– May give youth a sense of importance
– A way to overcome feelings of inadequacy
and inferiority
Recap of Causes that Contribute to
– Other factors include:
• Divorce
• Alcohol and/or Drug abuse
• Diminished supervision of children
• Family Criminal History
• Transient Family patterns (moving all the
• Special Education needs or ADD
Development Pathways
• Developmental pathways is a progressive
process where delinquent behavior
– Stages occur over time
– See Figure 5.3 on page 159
– Authority Pathway:
• Stubbornness & disobedience
• Can lead to running away
– Covert Behavior: Property crimes
– Overt Behavior: Violence

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