Essay on Laboring: Juvenile Delinquency and Conventional Groups—like family

Submitted By wehaveit
Words: 731
Pages: 3

Labeling Theory According to labeling theory, official efforts to control crime often have the effect of increasing crime. This can be seen with juveniles. Those who are arrested, prosecuted, and punished are labeled as juvenile delinquents. Others then view and treat these juveniles as delinquents, and this increases the likelihood of further crime (Rank p.50). Being labeled as a juvenile delinquent is not easy for juveniles. As already mentioned, the developmental stages of growing up are filled with hardships which are only made worse through the labeling process. After obtaining or being associated with these labels it begins to affect juveniles and their stake in conformity. They are less likely to fit in or mesh with other “normal” groups, so they see other juvenile delinquents as finding common ground. In this way we can then see how many juveniles learn delinquent behavior after being exposed to other delinquents. Due to the fact they are still developing and learning who they are, it is easy for them to pick up habits and behaviors from other, more experienced offenders. This only adds to the labeling process. After a certain period of time the individual begins to accept the labels placed on them by society, and they begin to act out what they feel a juvenile delinquent would. It is viewed as a cycle which is feed by a society which does not want to deal with the delinquencies of minors, but does not have a solution to their issues and problems(Siegel p.161).
Labeling theory was quite popular in the 1960s and early 1970s, but then fell into decline, partly as a result of the mixed results of research. Some studies found that being officially labeled a delinquent increased crime, while other studies did not (Rank p.55). Recent work, however, has revised the theory to take into account past problems. In doing so, researchers became more interested in informal influences like teachers and parents. Research shows teachers and parents have a significant role to play in the life of a juvenile and they way they socially develop (Siegel p. 163). Teachers are around juveniles for a substancial part of their lives and are able to impart positive and negative behaviors in their minds. Many juveniles confide in their teachers about family issues, and look to their teachers for help. Parents have the role of imparting stability in the lives of their adolescents. Home is where self-esteem is established and where values are learned. Adolescents need to be able to have a stable living environment to fight off the negative influences they face in schools and around their peers. If the home of an adolescent is not intact and acts as a source of negative influence in the juvenile’s life, their home situation can feed into the labeling cycle. Different data provide support for these arguments.
John Braithwaite pushes the envelope of labeling theory by