Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, December 14th, 2018

Juvenile Delinquency


Juvenile Delinquency

No existing society in the world is perfect. There are different factors in every society that are responsible for creating injustices and crimes and pollute the systems. Though in every society there is a system of maintaining justice but ideal justice can never be achieved as there are evident short comings. There have been development and improvement in the legal systems and law-enforcing agencies but the crimes have kept pace with these developments.

Every sort of crime is a matter of concern for a society and is responsible for introducing disorder. The random crimes may be treated as a normal phenomenon but different trends and organized forms of crimes can really put a society on threshold of destruction.

Among the different trends of crimes, Juvenile Delinquency is considered one of most concerning for the modern societies. Juvenile Delinquency is basically an anti-social, illegal or criminal behavior on the part of youngsters or adolescents.

The terms youngsters or adolescents here refers to every person below the age of 18. Youngsters are basically concerned as the backbone of society and the future of a society highly depends on the potential of its youngsters. If they are motivated towards the improvement of the society and are optimistic about the socio-political scenario and have conformist attitude towards the prevailing social, political and economic setups, they can prove beneficial for the society as whole.

But if they are pessimistic, have negative approach towards the socio-political scenario and have non-conformist attitude towards the social, political and economic systems they fall the prey to delinquency. Juvenile delinquency is always a cause of panic for a society because of the fact that it indicates the deterioration of the society as the juvenile delinquents are going to be serious criminals in future if managed improperly.

The causes of juvenile delinquency can be linked with the general theories of the causes of the crimes but all the theories that hold true for the crimes as a whole can never stand true for juvenile delinquency all the times as the juveniles do not share the same characteristics like that of the mature people. They differ from the grownups in their attitude, psychology and emotional integrity.

Therefore, they have to be dealt in a different manner; even the punishments that are suggested by the courts for the normal crimes must differ in the cases of juvenile delinquency so as to compensate for the differences. But it is important to have some familiarity with different theories of crimes in order to understand the causes of juvenile delinquency.

The classical theories of criminology suggest that the causes of the crimes basically lie within the individuals who commit crimes. Crime is rather a rational choice that an individual makes through his free will. He/she always has the option of an alternative and is not under any sort of compulsive forces from the socio-political circumstances. The current theories in criminology that are based on optimistic approach towards individuals suggest that the culture and society are responsible for intoxicating the individuals with the germs of crimes.

The disorganization that creeps into social institutions and their interaction determines the individuals to commit crimes. Then there are theories that suggest that crimes are basically because of the psychological reasons. Stress, strain and tension may result into psychological and behavioral disorders that result into different sorts of crimes in the society.

Moreover, there are theories that have more emphasis on group dynamics and consider crimes the result of interactions with delinquent groups. A single theory can never be considered perfectly fitting the cause of crimes within a society. Rather the causes of crimes may differ from person to person and society to society. Therefore, it would be appropriate to say that there are different factors contributing to crimes in different times and spaces.

The same theories in criminology also stand true for most of the cases in juvenile delinquency occurring in different parts of the world. But, it should be kept in consideration that the theory of rational choice can not stand as a strong theory as far as juvenile delinquency is concerned as the juveniles are not capable enough to make rational choices.

Rather the other theories that relate to social evils and psychological strain and even unchecked freedom can be considered as more reliable theories in this regard. It should be noted carefully that the youth in the third world countries are more vulnerable to be caught in the web of crimes than the youth in the developed countries of the world.

It is because the third world countries suffer greatly from different sorts of social, political and economic problems that deviate the youth from normal course of behavior and lead them towards crimes. Moreover, the psychological stress and strain on the minds of youth are immense in such countries and end up in the delinquent attitude. Poverty, limited opportunities, difficulties in getting education and pursuing the professions of their will, child labor, strict traditional values, lack of proper parental guidance and many other such problems make the youth delinquent.

Juvenile delinquency is one of the major problems in our country Afghanistan as well. The socio-political and socio-economic scenario in the country has been very much vulnerable for the youth. The circumstances are further deteriorated by the continued wave of civil wars and terrorism. Though there have been certain improvements made since the installation of so called democratic government juvenile delinquency keeps on concerning the process of improvement.

Apart from the traditional crimes like mugging, rape, robbery and murder youth in the country are dominantly caught in the web of terrorism. There are many fresh recruits in different terrorist groups who serve as potential cadre for such evil organizations and presently they have been serving as the man power for suicide bombings. In most of the cases of suicide bombings that have taken place in different parts of the country recently, the bombers have been youngsters. Moreover, there have been many youngsters involved in the smuggling and production of drugs in the country that has been a dominant evil for us for the last few decades.

The unchecked juvenile delinquency in the country really points at serious concerns for the future of the country. Necessary measure must be introduced by the government in this regard to curb the situation appropriately and as per the scientific approach towards the solution. Severe punishments alone can not guarantee a crimeless society and in the case of juvenile delinquency the matter gets even more complicated. Special considerations, special laws and special treatment must be in place to deal with the cases of juvenile delinquency otherwise the circumstances may get worse rather than getting any better.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlook afghanistan@gmail.com

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