Juvenile Delinquency Theory Social Identity Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1144 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

They make up 62% of the under-aged persons prosecuted in the adult criminal system "and are nine times more likely than white youth to receive an adult prison sentence... white youth are significantly more likely than African-American youth to use drugs and 30% more likely to sell drugs, but African-American youth are twice as likely to be arrested and detained for drug offenses" (Huston 2008).

Postmodernism is a tool to help us understand why certain persons have been classified as part of a criminal class. Conventional criminology theories may state that African-Americans are more likely to commit crimes because they are members of historically discriminated-against groups, or that poverty and social disenfranchisement creates a fertile breeding-ground for crime. But this does not explain why African-Americans are less likely to use and sell drugs yet are more likely to be incarcerated for these offenses than whites. Postmodernism turns the lens of analysis and attempts to understand why what we call crimes are crimes -- why, for example, was crack considered to be a 'worse' drug than cocaine (because of its greater presence in the inner city). Its notions of the construction of 'the criminal' suggest that rather than concrete divides between criminality and normalcy, these barriers are permeable. This enables us to be more self-critical as a society of our justice system.


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Postmodernism demonstrates how standards of criminality are mutable throughout the ages. However, law enforcement officials must have some standards when enforcing behavior. To merely question or relativize all criminal behavior will not generate a functional, safe society in which all people may flourish.


Term Paper on Juvenile Delinquency Theory Social Identity Assignment

"Crime and its control cannot be separated from the totality of the discursively ordered, structural and cultural contexts in which it is produced" (Barak et al. 2011). Greater self-criticism on the part of law enforcement is essential, regarding how criminals are 'constructed.' In terms of specific policies, trying to create a more truly equal justice system that is based more upon individual rehabilitation rather than retribution for certain classes of crimes is essential. Postmodernism would be particularly against the concept of automatically trying certain juveniles as adults, which deems certain crimes so beyond the pale of society, they require the individual to be incarcerated. By rejecting the idea that the individual is "conscious, whole, self-directing, reflective, unitary, and transparent," and stressing the ability of society to change the individual by changing its own ideas and institutions, a less judgmental and more proactive form of addressing the most vulnerable and malleable persons -- juveniles -- is possible through this philosophy of criminology (Milovanovic 2011).


Barak, Gregg Stuart Henry & Dragan Milovanovic. (2011). Constitutive criminology: An overview of an emerging postmodernist school. Red Feather Journal. Red Feather

Institute Postmodern Criminology Series. Volume 1. Retrieved October 17, 2011 at http://www.critcrim.org/redfeather/journal-pomocrim/vol-1-intro/001overview.html

Cowling, Mark. (2006). Postmodern policies. Internet Journal of Criminology.

Retrieved October 17, 2011 at http://www.internetjournalofcriminology.com/Cowling%20-%20Postmodern%20Policies.pdf

Huston, Wendell. (2008). Critical condition: African-American youth in the justice system.

New American Media. Retrieved October 17, 2011 at http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=5ea659e8f4c6a52d0063d8cb61a2736e

Milovanovic, Dragan. (2011). Dueling paradigms. Red Feather Journal. Red Feather

Institute Postmodern Criminology Series. Volume 1. Retrieved October 17, 2011 at http://www.critcrim.org/redfeather/journal-pomocrim/vol-1-intro/003duellingparadigms.html

Walton, Paul & Jock Young. (1998). Criminology and postmodernity. The New Criminology

Revisited. London: Macmillan. Retrieved October 17, 2011 at http://www.bunker8.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/misc/pmod.htm [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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