Thesis: Gangs Societies Have Been Plagued With Criminals

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Gangs

Societies have been plagued with criminals and offenders since the advent of man. While there are adult offenders, there are juvenile offenders as well. There are many causes to juvenile delinquency which need to be addressed by society and the legal system of a nation. Factors like school attendance, graduation rates and academic achievement play an important part in the involvement of youth in the criminal justice system. "Research indicates that the level of education attained can affect opportunities for future employment. Although juveniles often fail to make this association, they do possess monetary ambitions" (Winters, p.451). Poor academic achievement is a major factor in crime and delinquency. Violence is being experienced by the youth today and they are both the victims and perpetrators. There have been many incidents where the juvenile offender has been sent to adult courts and are incarcerated in adult facilities even after established studies have shown this to bring about negative effects rather than any positive ones. The problem is that a proper system does not exist to control this juvenile behavior to prevent and deter juveniles from indulging in criminal activities.

Studies have shown that most chronic juvenile offenders start the careers as delinquents before they reach the age of 12. It has also been observed that the murder rates of American teens are six times higher as compared to Canadian teens (Hagan et al., p.874). Another point noted is that females are more likely to be murdered by a friend as compared to males. In the year 2000 females comprised of 23% of all juvenile arrests. To control such acts and behaviors, people have come forward with many ideas and studies to understand the root cause and to formulate a solution for the problem. Some have suggested that as man is a rational being with free will and free choice, thus in order to control delinquency deterrence, retribution and incapacitation should be accentuated. On the other hand there are some who advocate rehabilitation and treatment. They suggest that a delinquent is not completely responsible for his actions rather biological as well as cultural factors play an important part and control the actions of an individual (Jeffery, p.69). Some people believe that a little human touch can go a long way towards improving the troubled youth's behavior. They feel that a little touch can send the child in the right direction and help him improve his life rather than ruin it forever. To a certain extent this might be true but it cannot work in all situations and with every juvenile delinquent. The severity of the crime has increased as compared to four to five decades ago. Back then not many juvenile delinquents were involved in homicide. Today such incidents and their numbers have increased and it might take more than just a human touch to set the disturbed child in the right direction. Parents at times feel that they need to be violent to control their children. Violence practiced by parents can set the child in the wrong direction. It can have more negative effects then positive. Moreover the child can run away from home and end up in the hands of dangerous people. Violence does not solve problems but only creates them and makes them more and more complicated. Some support corporal punishment administered to the students by their teachers. Today in the United States, many states allow this act thinking that it is useful for the child and helps them learn to be law abiding citizens.

YOUTH GANGS

Many students end up forming gangs and countries like Britain have had a history of conflict between rival school gangs. The formation of gangs is yet another step into delinquent behavior and can lead to more serious crimes. The youth think it to be macho behavior that they are part of a gang. Normally students with low academic achievement end up in gangs. Then there are others who lack self-confidence, are insecure and require a support system to get them through school. Such people are likely to form or become part of a gang. United States is experiencing a rapid growth in the membership count of youth gangs. Reports have suggested the count to be more than 650,000 members of different gangs across the nation. Membership in gangs is related to an increased rate of antisocial behavior which would not only harm the victim but would increase the chances of gang members to be incarcerated or even be exposed to death. It is really important to understand the type of people that are more likely to join such gang systems. Once the characteristics of such people are recognized, the problem can be addressed to thus reducing gang memberships and as a result a reduction in juvenile crime rates.

Some theories suggest that people join gangs because 'birds of a feather flock together'. In broader terms this would mean that youth who are involved in antisocial behavior individually are likely to get into a group and form a gang or become a part of an existing one. Others suggest that youth who join gangs are socialized into antisocial behavior during or after gang entry. This is a situation where a non-antisocial youth joins a gang for reasons of power, protection or self-esteem and would consequently be encouraged to participate in antisocial behavior due to peer pressure. "Gang membership is more common in neighborhoods in which gangs operate and neighborhoods with high crime rates and high availability of drugs" (Curry & Spergel, p.273). It has also been observed that gang members normally come from lower socioeconomic status and single-parent families that give to them inadequate supervision. These people are more likely to have delinquent friends and attend school with gang members. They can either form gangs to gain identity or join an existing one.

Youth gangs are not a new phenomenon, in fact they have been there for over a century and there is documented proof of their existence which shows that some key elements have contributed to endurance of these gangs. Thrasher (1927) offered a clear explanation of why gangs survived and what was the main purpose of their existence. Interestingly, his explanation still holds true after almost a century.

"Gangs represent the spontaneous efforts of boys to create a society for themselves where none adequate to their needs exist… the failure of normally directing and controlling customs and institutions to function efficiently in the boys' experience is indicated by disintegration of family life, inefficiency of schools, formalism and externality of religion.. all these factors into the picture of moral and economic frontier, and coupled with deterioration in housing, sanitation and other conditions of life in the slum, give the impression of general disorganization and decay." (p. 12)

Gangs and youth involved in delinquent behavior exist due to the inadequate financial status of their families. With low paid jobs they are not exposed to the best of education or the best of friends. Life for them is tough and they look for means to gain recognition among peers and earn respect. Gangs represent a serious community problem. The youth that are in gangs today are exposed to a high level of danger. These people will become hardened criminals when they grow up and will indulge in worse crimes. They will end up behind bars or could be sentenced to death by a court of law. Indulging in gang violence could bring death to them even before the law authorities could apprehend them. Many gangs attract young students who are not really aware of the dangers of being a gang member. They not only expose themselves but also their families to this danger. They need to understand the consequences of their actions and behavior and must comprehend that it is in the best interest of everyone especially themselves if they do not become a part of any gang. Parents and teachers can play a very important part in educating the youth why not to join gangs and explain to them the dangers that will be around them all the time if they do something as foolish as joining a gang. It should be explained to them how gang activities can lead them to imprisonment and even drug involvement. Youth who live in neighborhoods where gangs exist are more likely to join a gang either in their neighborhood or at school. These teens are fascinated by the gang image and the false sense of adventure and romance perpetuated by it. They should realize that their decision to join a gang would affect not only them and it involves not only them but the entire community because indulging in gang activities would mean that they are going to harm to community either directly or indirectly.

CONCLUSION

The youth is increasingly indulging into criminal activities and gang formations with time. Such practices would ruin a nation's future as it is from this youth that the future leaders are to come. The persistence of this delinquent behavior is… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Gangs Societies Have Been Plagued With Criminals.  (2009, October 4).  Retrieved December 5, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gangs-societies-been-plagued-criminals/4466685

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