The Pros And Cons Of Police Delinquency

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1. Police discretion when arresting youth allows for the possibility of the issue being resolved outside of the juvenile justice system and provides officers the opportunity to determine the best interests of the youths with which they interact (Class Notes 4/5/16). For example, a police officer could choose to tell youth trespassing at an abandoned building to leave instead of filing charges against them, or he could detain the two teens he found drinking and allow their parents to come pick them up instead of placing them under formal arrest. In either case, the office is trying to stop the problematic behavior while preserving the youths’ well-being. Though allowing police discretion can have advantages—like possibly reducing the number …show more content…
A variety of criminological theories can be used to explain crime and why certain factors are more likely to lead to delinquent tendencies in youth. For example, truancy can be explained as a risk factor by analyzing Travis Hirschi’s bonding theory. The theory maintains that youths must feel a level of connectedness to their surroundings and society at large, and when they do not form proper attachments to others, they do not internalize social norms and start to believe that delinquency is acceptable (McNamara 2014: p. p 121). If a child is not very connected or involved at school and does not see the social value in attending, then truancy will occur, according to bonding theory. Another risk factor, having criminal parents, can be explained by social learning theory. If a youth spends a majority of his young life surrounded by his parents and other family members, he is likely to learn his behavior from them. If that behavior is illegal, he will learn those behaviors just as he would any other behavior, leading to an increased likelihood of engaging in criminal activity himself (McNamara 2014: p. 114). Growing up in neighborhoods with gang activity is also a risk factor that can be explained using a criminological theory. Robert Merton’s strain theory holds that crime is a product of the anxiety or strain caused by an unequal distribution of resources in society (Mahan: Short Assignment 3). According to Merton, a youth who wants to achieve socially acceptable goals but doesn’t have the means to do so may join a gang in order to achieve the success he craves, which would obviously increase his chances of ending up in the juvenile justice system (McNamara 2014: pp. 94-95; Mahan: Short Assignment 3). Having delinquent peers is another risk factor for delinquency, which can be explained using labeling theory. If a youth has delinquent friends, he is likely to be labeled as a delinquent regardless of his actual involvement with any delinquent activity. Because the

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