Essay about Labeling Theory And The Juvenile Justice System
1. Labeling theory maintains that how a child is socially perceived affects his or her behavior. A sociological take on self-fulfilling prophecy, the theory holds that if a child is labeled a delinquent, he is more likely to act like one, helping explain the impact a child’s involvement in the juvenile justice system (Class Notes 2/23/16; Mahan: Short Assignment 3). For example, if a juvenile delinquent internalizes a negative label and then views it as part of his identity—rather than reject the label and stop his criminal activity as intended—he will likely continue to commit crime (Mahan: Short Assignment 3). Therefore, labeling theory can help explain recidivism rates in the juvenile justice system.
2. Risk and protective factors for juvenile delinquency are aspects of juveniles’ lives that help determine their likelihood of engaging in delinquent behavior. Risk factors, such as a youth living in a violent neighborhood or having a low socioeconomic status, increase that likelihood, while protective factors, such as a youth having non-delinquent friends or parental supervision, lessen it (McNamara 2014; p. 312). Many delinquency prevention tactics rely on mitigating the effects of risk factors and increasing the prevalence of protective factors in juveniles’ lives.
3. Walter Reckless’s containment theory maintains that internal and external influences “push and pull” youth’s behavior toward delinquency (Class Notes 2/23/16). The theory holds that…