Research interview on Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency is a term given to young people (juveniles) who commit crimes. Tricia Ellis-Christensen (2010) in her article entitled, What is Juvenile Delinquency defines a juvenile as a person who has not attained the age of majority or a person who has not reached adulthood. The law normally predetermines what is to be referred as the age of majority or adulthood, and this is different among countries (Angela, 2010).

The issue of juvenile delinquency has become very common in the society today. The number of youth involved in acts of crime has been rising steadily. States are concerned about this trend since the process of correction is costly and wastes the time of the concerned juveniles. So much needs to be researched on and done to ensure this trend does not continue (The Columbia Encyclopaedia, 2008). It was for this reason that the researcher planned an interview with someone knowledgeable in this field. The aim was to get insight into several issues surrounding juvenile delinquency.

In this research, interview as a method of collecting information was preferred due to several reasons. First, the respondent was readily available and therefore it was more convenient to use interview over other methods such as questionnaires. The respondent was only one and therefore this was an in-depth interview as opposed to focus groups. When the interviewee is only one, interviews are preferred (Guba  Lincoln, 1981). The in-depth interview used in this research normally provides the richest data, details and new insights. In such an interview, it is possible to experience both the affective and cognitive aspects of responses. Such aspects as irritation over a particular question or anger can be detected. Furthermore, it is easy for the interview to clarify the questions hence attaining more relevant and complete responses. Finally, flexibility in administering interviews to different individuals and circumstances is possible (Fetterman, 1989).

The interview was set in the office of the chief security officer, since he was the chosen respondent. He has studied criminology up to the university level. He was considered the right respondent due to his vast understanding of the field under study. The interview was carried out face to face since the respondent was easily available. An afternoon was believed to be the best time since the respondent was not busy hence he was ready to give his time to the interview process.

In this research, informal and unstructured type of research interview was employed. This type was chosen due to the fact that the respondent was only one and therefore no standardization between respondents was needed. This type of interview is normally flexible, responsive and sensitive to participants. The interviewer can easily adapt to the demands of the immediate environment for better results from the process. For those taking part in the interview, this method is natural and relaxed. This ensures high responsiveness and positive interaction among the participants. Furthermore, informal unstructured interviews lead to collection of qualitative data which is highly detailed and ecologically valid (Keegan, 2010).

The degree of structure in the interview questions used was minimal. This was important to allow the respondent to give his opinion without too much limitation. . J. Lemke in Analyzing Verbal Data Principles, Methods, And Problems, posits that analyzing data from unstructured interviews may be challenging but the researcher ends up with better and more comprehensive information (Lemke, 2010). Considering the fact that the respondent was a learned and well informed person, it was deemed necessary to present unstructured questions. These kinds of questions are normally the best especially when dealing with professionals in the field of study (Wilson, 1993).

The researcher found it important to tape the interview process. This was aimed at getting information with desired completeness and accuracy. When an interview is taped, it is easy for the researcher to analyze it with confidence after the interview process. It also ensures the researcher is concentrating on the process since he is not disrupted by writing (Sasked, 2010).

There were several ethical guidelines that were to be observed during the preparation of the interview. First, confidentiality was paramount. The interviewer also made sure that permission from the respondent was obtained. It was also important for the interviewer to explain the purpose of the study during the introduction part. The respondent and the researcher shared on the interview sheet after the interview. This was to ensure that the respondent agreed with and affirmed the contents of the interview (Keegan, 2010)

On interviewing the respondent, juvenile delinquency was found to be actions of crime done by people who have not attained the age of majority. Asked what he understood by juvenile delinquency, the respondent had this to say, Juvenile Delinquency is that behaviour that is recognized by law as criminal when it is done by children. Children here refers to anyone who has not reached the age of majority, or someone who is not mature. He further explained that juvenile delinquency starts from minor crimes such as bullying others in school to felony or even murder.

The researcher wanted to know why the issue of juvenile delinquency had gained so much attention of late. To that, he replied, Parents have become very liberal nowadays. They do not spare time for their children. They are too busy doing more important things. This has left the children with too much freedom that is unguided. As a result, these children have turned to breaking the law. Every day a child is committing a crime somewhere. That is why the issue of juvenile delinquency is all over the place.

At this point, the researcher sought to know how the courts deal with issues of juvenile delinquency. The respondent hesitated to answer and clarified that he would say what the courts do, not what they should do. This was seen as a sign of disagreement with the court process concerning handling of child cases. He proceeded to explain. It all depends with the intensity of the crime. When the crime is very serious, the court may decide to deal with the matter as if it was an adult who has broken the law. It may therefore sentence the juvenile just like it would an adult. However, if the case is minor, it will be referred to a special court that deals with children. From here, the children may be taken to behaviour correction centres which serve as childrens prisons. These are known as juvenile detention centres. But before the decision is made concerning whether a child will be taken to these centres or not, a few considerations need to be taken.

The researcher probed further to get insight on some of the factors that need to be considered before imprisoning a child. The first consideration, as I mentioned earlier, he began, is the magnitude of the crime. The more serious the crime is, the higher the probability of the child being referred to a juvenile detention centre. The court also determines the degree of risk posed by the juvenile to the society. This is normally compared to the degree of the benefit derived from incarceration. The judges who deal with juvenile cases have greater freedom to decide the kind of rehabilitation method to be applied, especially if the child is very young. Such may include therapy thats appointed by court or house arrest.

The next question was on the causes of juvenile delinquency. To this, the respondent said, Well, it is not possible to comprehensively discuss the causes of juvenile delinquency. This is because people are unique and they pass through unique situations. However, there are some general factors that are associated with increased rates of juvenile delinquency. For example, impoverished, neglected or abused children will be more likely to engage in delinquent behaviour than their counterparts who are well treated and taken good care of. But this idea does not explain the causes of delinquent behaviour among children who have well off parents who are loving and caring. One of the aspects responsible for juvenile delinquency is the genetic make up of the children in question. However, this only pre-determines a direction towards certain behaviour, but it is the manner in which the child is brought up that creates suitable environment for such behaviour. Other factors may include mental illness, drug use and upbringing. However, these are only general issues. Each case of juvenile delinquency is unique and should be treated as such.

The last question on this matter touched on the intervention measures that the respondent thought would be useful in curbing cases of juvenile delinquency. To this, the respondent answered, The first question that needs to be answered is what the cause of criminal behaviour in a particular child is. Once the cause of the behaviour is known, it is much easier to deal with the problem. For example if it is known early enough that a child suffers from mental illness, it would be easier to deal with that problem before it to results into delinquent behaviour. Other problems such as drug abuse can also be corrected to avoid further problems. Parents should also make sure they raise their children in a loving manner without compromising delinquent behaviour. In some cases, societies come up with programs aimed at preventing the youth from engaging in delinquent behaviour. Such programs are normally aimed at preventing drug use or involvement in gangs.

Discussion and Conclusions
In this research, unstructured and informal type of interview was used. Interview method of research is purpose-based conversation that is non-experimental in nature. The aim of this method of interview is to gather particular type of information. There are several advantages associated with this type of interview.

First, since the interview is not structured, it is possible to gather data that is rich and full. It is also possible to gather highly detailed data due to the willingness of the respondent to cooperate. The validity of data is ensured by the relaxed atmosphere which increases the chances of the respondent giving true information.

The informal type of interview allows for greater flexibility than other types. The interviewer can respond positively to the environment in which the interview is taking place. It is also possible for the interviewer to change the approach of this exercise depending on how he finds the interviewee. It is therefore responsive to the individuals involved in it. This type of interview acknowledges the uniqueness of every interview session and conforms appropriately.

There exists a relaxed atmosphere and this helps the interviewee to feel comfortable. The environment is very natural for both the interviewee and the interviewer. This makes the rate of coordination very high which in turn contributes to the success of the entire process. Due to this relaxed atmosphere, the interviewee does not feel as if he is being assessed. This makes them willing to give more information.
However, there are several limitations that are encountered when using informal and unstructured type of interview. First, it is very difficult to replicate because there is no standardization. One may therefore be unable to generalize the findings to a wider population. Furthermore, the interviewer may be biased and be tempted to use spontaneous questions, hence drifting away from his main focus.

The whole process of setting up, conducting and analyzing one research interview took approximately three days. The first day was for preparation, the second for the interview and the third for analysis. Some of the ethical issues that arose in the process of conducting this interview included introduction and conclusion techniques which were found to be vital whenever conducting an interview. When introducing oneself, it is important to be brief and smile to the respondent. One also needs to go straight to the point and tell the host what he or she wants (Trochin, 2006). When concluding, it is important to discuss a certain topic, like how the interviewee likes his or her job. This will ensure the respondent does not feel like his importance to you ended with the conclusion of the interview (Hollwitz  Wilson, 1993).

Research interviews are some of the best methods of gathering research information. However, their effectiveness is highly dependant on the preparation especially of the questions that are to be asked.


Post a Comment