Juvenile Delinquency Juvenile Delinquents in Two Areas Thesis

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Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile Delinquents in Two Areas

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In the United States, people often conclude that "our children are our future." Although this popular adage is used in congruence with everything from environmental and political issues to social causes, it rings true exceptionally strongly when it comes to Juvenile Delinquency. Indeed, while the particular adage may not be popular in South Korea, both U.S. And South Korean societies must deal with the problem of juvenile delinquency in order to ensure that society is productive for generations to come. Social learning theory, one theoretical concept that can be applied to sociology and criminology, suggests that people who are exposed to certain behaviors learn those behaviors and, in turn, pass them on to others. According to social learning theory, then, juvenile delinquency can be named among the penultimate problems of modern society in both the East and West. Should social learning theory be correct, then it is possible that juvenile delinquency can create a vicious cycle of crime that can drastically inflict pain upon a culture, refusing to allow it to progress naturally. This is true regardless of culture and society, although culture and society play integral roles in the vicious cycle of juvenile delinquency. However, both the United States and South Korea have issues with juvenile delinquency that can be observed from a sociological viewpoint, and sociology and culture are major influences in the problem of juvenile delinquency in both East and West. Through an examination of the causes of juvenile delinquency in South Korea and the United States, characteristics integral to the problem of juvenile delinquency regardless of culture and geographic location can be isolated with implications for solutions worldwide.

Thesis on Juvenile Delinquency Juvenile Delinquents in Two Areas Assignment

In South Korea, society has been drastically impacted by the clash of cultures that occurred when traditional Eastern religion and culture met with Western ideas during the 20th century. Criminal justice was no exception. Although the Korean people had traditionally used Chinese law as the basis for their legal culture, such as Confucian ideas, the early 1900s brought with them an influx of Western law, especially European traditions. Further, during Japanese occupation, many traditions of the Japanese Criminal justice system infiltrated the Korean traditions, such as the Japanese guarantee of no form of rights. During the late 1900s, however, Western components of criminal justice began to become more characteristic of the Korean system. Civil rights such as legal searches and warrants, the right to counsel, and rules regarding types of evidence admitted to court proceedings. However, the Library of Congress (2009) writes that the culture makes refusing to abide by such rules acceptable (Library of Congress, 2009). With this unique balance of criminal justice ideas, the situation regarding the prosecution of juvenile delinquents in South Korea is precarious. It is possible that officers of criminal justice have a difficult time understanding their roles, and therefore make the apprehension and prosecution of juvenile offenders much more difficult.

Like the cultural conflict that occurred in the area of criminal justice for the South Koreans, cultural conflict between Korea's Eastern ways and the Western traditions that have become popular since the end of the 19th century has been integral in affecting the juvenile population. During both the United States and Japanese occupation of South Korea, many changes occurred that had a direct impact on society. The Japanese instituted reforms that helped to modernize society, while the U.S. encouraged the growth of the South Korean army through the Korean War. Further, South Korea was moved from a traditional culture that accepted a strict social hierarchy to a more individualistic culture of opportunity and rights (Library of Congress, 2009). Kim and Kim (2008) write that the problem of juvenile delinquency in South Korea is as a direct result of further modern challenges to families. Acknowledging Confucianism to be the foundation of most families, Kim and Kim (2008) argue that today's South Korean youth is concerned not only with more Western ideas, but also with a view that focuses on the future rather than the past, which is contrary to traditional Confucianism. The authors suggest that this conflict between the older and younger generations of South Koreans has had a profound affect on the increase of juvenile delinquency in the region. Other indicators of juvenile delinquency that Kim and Kim (2008) note are also inherently linked to society. First, the authors argue that the educational system places a great deal of pressure on the South Korean student, pressure that the student cannot often release in a culturally acceptable way. Thus, pent-up frustration is one potential impetus of juvenile delinquency. Another is the rising importance of the Internet in Korean adolescents' lives, something that does not equally attract their parents (Kim and Kim, 2008). A final characteristic that can be associated with juvenile delinquency in South Korea is smoking, which Kim and Kim noted in their 2006 study. Thus, the contributors to juvenile delinquency in South Korea are undoubtedly social, at least in part, and are in part caused by cultural conflict between traditional Korean ideals and a new world of modern, Western characteristics. Not only is it possible that the continually evolving system of criminal justice in South Korea has made it difficult to target niche offenders, but it is also true that conflict between teenagers and their caregivers due to cultural implications has given way to delinquent behavior as an outlet.

Although the United States has not experienced the unique history of cultural exchange that South Korea can claim, it is true that cultural conflicts occur daily in the culturally diverse United States. Thus, a closer examination of the problem of juvenile delinquency in the United States once again reveals two sources -- the legal or criminal justice perspective and the sociological component. According to Roberts (2005) the U.S. juvenile court was created in order to offer a unique service to children who were becoming involved in illegal activities -- a system that would allow the court to "act as a parent or guardian interested in protecting and helping the child" (para. 2). Today's juvenile court system gives states the rights to decide at what age children can be held accountable for their actions, but most children are considered juveniles until the age of 18. However, children who commit serious crimes can be tried as adults (Roberts, 2005). In recent years, as serious juvenile crime as continued to climb, discussions regarding the best way to treat juveniles who have begun to tread a path of crime have become rampant in political, social, and criminal justice circles. Topics such as the death penalty and life in prison for children and teenagers, as well as the debate regarding treatment or jail time for offenses linked with alcohol and drugs, have been posed before the Supreme Court and Congress. Thus, as ideologies conflict regarding the juvenile justice system in the United States, the country shares a problem with South Korea -- criminal justice officers and legal system representatives who are confused about their role in the area of juvenile delinquency can further stretch the problem by refusing to offer acceptable solutions.

In addition to criminal justice issues, many social issues have been linked to the issue of juvenile delinquency in the United States. Roberts, (2005), like Kim and Kim (2008) argues that the home, school, and community can all lead to juveniles who commit crimes. Thus, she argues that the entire society needs to be involved in solving the problem, something that she argues can happen through prevention. Just as Kim and Kim (2008) suggested that changes in the South Korean culture have caused conflict that have lead to juvenile delinquency, Roberts (2005) argues that changes in the U.S. society and economy have been factors contributing to juvenile delinquency. Children from single-parent homes, Roberts (2005) hypothesizes, are likely to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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