The delinquent child defined: "Infant of not more than a specified age who has violated criminal laws or engages in disobedient, indecent, or immoral conduct, and is in need of treatment, rehabilitation, or supervision" (University of Phoenix, 2010, p. 1). Instead of focusing on rehabilitation of a child criminal, why not intervene and prevent the child from violating the law by eliminating destructive variables through constructive youth programs? According to U.S. Department of Justice (n.d.), "decades of research indicate that increased opportunities for success, meaningful activities, positive role models, consistent moral standards, and viable educational and employment opportunities have a prominent place in the Nation's crime control strategy," (Comprehensive Delinquency Prevention). Throughout this essay two community-based programs and their effectiveness in combating juvenile delinquency are discussed and some of the causes of juvenile delinquent behavior are analyzed.
Influences of parents and peer groups are direct contributors to juvenile delinquency. According to U.S. Department of Justice (n.d.), "Conditions such as maltreatment or neglect by family members and others, a community with a large population of delinquent juveniles and gangs, ready access to drugs and guns, and an unsafe school increase the chance that a youth will make unhealthy or unlawful choices" (Risk Factors for Delinquency).
In recent years and with the downfall of the United States economy, low-income communities and urban neighborhoods have struggled to provide local youth with positive environments and activities. Financial support for city parks, youth programs, and recreations centers has decreased, contributing to further deterioration of neighborhoods and producing high-risk environments for the local youth. The fact that most juvenile crime takes place after-school hours further implicates the lack of adult supervision as a contributing factor in youth criminal behavior.