Prevention and Treatment of Juvenile Delinquency
The United States, like other countries, continues to battle with an issue of what to do about juvenile delinquency. This problem is described to be rooted in two independent elements, children who are mentally in capable of conforming (psychological perspective) or how the child is socialized (sociological perspective). In examining the issue of juvenile delinquency we will look at what can be done, to prevent juvenile delinquency by analyzing past attempts to curtail behavior through the Psychogenic Approach and Sociological Approach. Then, information will be given to explain the role parents can play in creating youth that understand the importance of conforming to societal expectations. In the past, both the psychological and sociological perspectives have pursued means of explaining the nonconformity of delinquent youth. Working with this challenging group of youths, psychology and psychiatry presented the Psychogenic Approach. According to the text Juvenile Delinquency A Sociological Perspective, “The discovery of an organic basis for many physical illnesses lead to further discover of an organic basis for some mental illnesses. This latter finding lent impetus to the development of psychiatry and psychology as academic disciplines and led to the medicalization of deviance” (Thompson & Bynum, 2013). In efforts to bring change to other communities in the United States in 1950, the Mid-City Project had been formed in Boston.
Although the Mid-City Project viewed the revitalization of the community as an important factor in agreement with Geoffrey Canada’s Promise Academy and a project that started years earlier the Chicago project the Mid-City Project used psychiatric counseling. This 3-stage program used the final phase, termination, as a time to apply behavior modification. William E. Thompson and Jack E. Bynum stated, “The Mid-City Project was dominating by the psychogenic model” (Thompson & Bynum, 2013). Due to having little effect on reducing law-violating behavior, Sociologist Walter B. Miller believed the program’s operations increased school performance and enhanced social cohesion. Miler concluded the Mid-City Project was not a complete failure. This project viewed individuals and looked at their behavior independently from their culture, gender, and socio-economic status. In doing so, this perspective ignores a major component contributing to juvenile delinquency, learned behaviors that are established through socialization.
As years of research have accumulated even psychologist have recognized the influence of behaviors that are developed when an individual interact in a society. According to Eleonora Patacchini in her work, Juvenile Delinquency and Conformism, elucidates, “There is indeed a growing literature in economics suggesting that peer effects are very strong in criminal decisions. Case and Katz (1991), using data from the 1989 National Bureau of Economic Research survey of youths living in low-income Boston neighborhoods, find that the behaviors of neighborhood peers appear to substantially affect criminal activities of youth behaviors” (Patacchini, 2012). This reworking of information that sociologist had already been convinced of is further evidence of socialization.
Expounding on this information about the effect of socialization of the youth has been applied to new therapeutic approaches such as Narrative Therapy and Feminism Therapy which have introduced culture into the therapeutic session. In Narrative therapy, “White and Epston take a social constructionist view of the world. They are interested in how their clients perceive events and the world around them. They know that some family members are likely to have different views that of other family members, which can lead to conflict and problems. The narrative or stories that are people’s lives represent political, cultural,