Race Young People and the Judicial System

Youth Deviance
It is thought that deviant behavior exhibited in youth is the result of chemically based body changes in the transition from child to adulthood.  During this transition, there is a period of continual fluctuation that occurs rendering the youth helpless to control his or hers emotions.

Youth is a term that came into existence in the involvement of the concept of adolescence which came to be known at the end of the 18th century.   Arnett (2006) advises that G. Steven Halls theory on adolescence details the relationship of the biological and chemical changes.  These are
Unbridled sexuality
Rejection of parents and teachers
Lack of concentration
Extremes of emotion and violence

It further expresses that deviant behavior is based on a pathological disease.

Social outlooks tend to label the behavior negatively.  It is argued that while social encounters of confinement within the family home or in a school classroom exacerbate the deviance, the condition is simply that of growing up.  It is natural and all humans go through this process.

Buehler (2006) advises that the transition youth goes through should be a time for parents to recognize the changes in cognitive growth.  Parents should according to the behavior exhibited, grasp the opportunity to restructure and redefine the parent and adolescent relationship.  Parents who instead react with hostility to the behavior will result in increased hostility of the adolescent, thus resulting in a home environment with a conflict pattern.

This pattern is a vicious cycle and soon spills over into the youths social interactions, such as at school.  In essence we all go through this psychological growth spurt and depending on other environmental factors and their impact, for example at home, or at school will determine how each individual reacts to and handles the psychological pressure.  This leads us to the interactions of youth going through this transition and that of societys reaction.

Deviant behavior typically escalates with youth running away from home.  This is their way to show that they do not accept being treated as a child.  It is the way to gain freedom and at the same time make a statement.  Once a child runs away from home many situations will depict the severity of the deviance.  Most will seek to stay with relatives, or friends.  However, many will end up on the streets, and the longer they remain there, will generally end up being victimized.  

They will be approached by deviant peers who work for adults who are involved in criminal activities.  These consist of the drug trade and sexual exploitation of minors.  The adolescent who has run away from what they deemed an unhappy environment, have now been introduced to an environment that is devoid of any caring and is very dangerous.

Youth Justice System
Jerrom (2008) tells us that in the 1990s there was a huge increase of children who became active in the Justice System.  In 1998, redirection was given to the system and the Crime and Disorder Act was enacted, hence the birth of the Youth Justice System.  It underwent a lot of scrutiny from parents and legal departments alike while it was becoming established.  It has a board of 12 members, who answer to the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Children.

There was a dire need for adolescents to have their own judicial system.  The adult facilities were just as bad as the environment on the streets.  Although with the positive side of the youth judicial system we have been able to keep our youth out of adult facilities, there is still a problem concerning the detention centers.  Unfortunately the detention centers that youth are sent to by the youth judicial system are not as safe as they could be.

Kristof (2010) explains that Our current juvenile justice system often dispatches children to detention centers with virtually no protection but their own defenses.  There is much work needed to protect youth.  Detention centers basically do not have guards, and without anyone guarding their safety, youths are at risk becoming easy targets for being raped and victimized.   This defeats the reality of rehabilitation.  To counter victimization, health professionals have been brought in to detect and recognize the potential abusers in the system in an effort to shield youths and to build trust for them in the system.  In this manner youth are more open and accepting of treatment in retaining their youthful resilience to become redirected.  They can then resist negative peer pressure, and develop a positive sense of their own potential and future.

Philosophies are the key to youth development several basic philosophies underlie the youth development perspective.  These philosophies are important for healthy development.  This means taking into accordance environmental factors such as home, and community.  Keeping youth actively involved in activities that promote positive mental and physical growth.

Psychologists take a look at historical data in regard to child development.  It helps them to define the childs role within the home environment.  It also factors in possible dysfunction that may have thrived in the household setting that may have exacerbated the deviance that would be seen during the transition from adolescence to adulthood.  Theories are the foundation from which philosophies are born.  Child development begins at birth.  There has been much research on the aspects of birth order in light of child development.  Every child born into a family will either be an only child, first born, middle, or last.  Some researchers view the order as only child, first born, second child, middle, and last.  The birth of each child impacts and changes the family environment.  Alfred Adler (2005) recognized that It alters the interactions, roles, and responsibilities of each family member.

With regard to chronological birth order, family life situations will bear influence on the childs perception.  This is when the psychological birth order is created by the child.  The child will actually look at and evaluate his or hers current birth order within the family unit, and make a decision on whether they are satisfied with the position they hold.

In evaluating each of the other siblings, the child will then position himself uniquely by exhibiting a pattern of behavior in order to become the focus of the parents and to stand out within the family structure.  This is the creation of the psychological birth order.

The sex of a child also plays an important role as the child will identify his sex role by comparing himself to someone in the family.  The reason for this is that children are treated certain ways by their parents in accordance to their sex which relates to the expectations the parents have.  This is important to a child in regard to the implemented reinforce and reward system established pertinent to sex by the parents.

Other factors that impact how a child perceives their role in the family setting is how close or far they are separated by birth from other siblings.  Children that are born fairly close to each other will bond and play together well.  Children further spaced apart let us say (e.g. five years) or more, will be less prone to be effected by birth order influences.  Also the gender has an impact in family structure.  If there are four boys or four girls, the structure would differ in regard to a childs perception.  Then again if there were two boys and two girls, such a grouping as this would define how the siblings would group together on interacting.

Adler (2005) makes emphasis on the point that the important factor is not that of the chronological birth order, but of the psychological birth order perceived by the child himself.  Parents must focus on their children and evaluate them as they perceive themselves to be.  This will be demonstrated by their actions. In paying attentions to our childrens actions we will be able to determine if we by some unexplained reason are not providing enough attention or showing enough signs of love to our offspring.  We must by all measures of awareness make sure to give equal attention and love to all of our children.

Research in that area is greatly needed to round out the research that has gone before it.  To know how a child would perceive or if a psychological birth order would even be created if no difference in treatment from parents was detected by siblings.  It has been determined that the psychological position that a child places himself into will play a significant role in the development of a childs lifestyle.

Although it has been believed that the birth order has a direct impact on a childs personality, Dr. Sarah Mendlowitz (2009) says birth order only accounts for about 5 percent of personality characteristics.
The birth order characteristics define that the oldest child or first born has feelings of responsibility for younger siblings and takes on leadership qualities while gaining control.  This may help them to build confidence, and maturity.  They are typically achievement driven, and are great at planning.  Unfortunately these qualities may manifest too early as a consequence of having siblings too early and may be placing them in positions not necessarily healthy. This could have the world view them as bossy, spoiled, and even lonely individuals.

The middle child is just that, stuck in the middle, between the oldest and youngest.  Even though they may exhibit rebellious behavior in growing up from time to time, to mark their position in the family setting, they more than likely will grow up as peacemakers, with friendly and compliant affects.

The youngest child generally gets all of the focus on every little thing.  They are the life of the party, yet they can also be the show stopper when it comes to attention seeking and immaturity.  The middle child is stuck between the extremes of the leader and the life of the party.  Evaluating his psychological order and deciding what position he will put himself into could very well fall along the lines of being that of an unruly child in early years and peacemaker in later years.

Many theorists and researchers agree that birth order in itself has little to do in regard to personality itself, as factors surrounding the childs own perception as to what position he deems himself to be in (psychological birth order) and his family environment along with social expectations must be taken in to account in the development of the personality overall.

Race Effects
Research has shown that race or ethnicity does play a role in the number of youth who show severe deviant behavior.  African Americans have a higher percentage of exhibiting deviant behavior.  Minority children are twice as likely as White children to experience poverty and the risk factors associated with poverty. Research has also shown that minority children both African American and Hispanic have a deep sense of family loyalty particularly between parent and child.  They are more attentive and reliant on the support of families than White adolescents are.

Yet even with the research results, there are a higher percentage of minorities in the Youth Judicial System than Whites.  With African Americans having the highest number and the most violent exhibition of behaviors.  New research is being conducted in social schemas related to community, and social impacts as well as how big a role poverty plays in the home and community environments of minorities.


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