Guilty or Not Guilty, this phrase is heard in courtrooms across the country on a daily basis. Standing in a courtroom before peers awaiting a verdict is the last stage of juvenile delinquency. Juvenile delinquency has increased each year in this country since 1948 (McClellan 1956,p.8). While teenagers are most likely to commit crimes, their delinquency is related to the overall incidence of crime in society: teen crimes increase the same as adults (Gale, 1).
Juvenile delinquency is inappropriate behavior portrayed by an adolescent. An adolescent is a youth normally between the ages of ten and eighteen who knows the difference between right and wrong. The delinquent behavior typically derives from the home and school life of the youth. "Delinquency is now recognized as the end product of a variety of situations, attitudes, motives, role definitions, self-images and personality characteristics (Moore 1958, p.24). .
There are many causes of juvenile delinquency. Such as poverty, drug abuse, and distractions within the home. The increasing rate of poverty has been greatly attributed to juvenile delinquency (Gale, 1). The anger and frustration of low-income youth separate them from the "good life" shown in the mass media. At this point, the youth lacks the visible opportunity to have a productive path, which leads many of them to drugs (Gale, 1). Many poor inner-city youth begin delinquency with participation in the drug trade (Gale, 2). At the ages of nine and ten children are paid as much as $100 a day to serve as lookouts while drug deals are taking place (Gale, 2). The sad part about this is that it is 100 percent true. While teaching bible study at the juvenile detention center, I found out that most of the guys were in there for selling drugs. When I asked them what made them want to sell drugs, there answers ranged from supporting their family to quick easy money. Most of the guys came from father-less households.