AN ASSESSMENT FACTORS INFLUENCING JUVENILE DELINQUENCIES AMONG JUVENILE IN BORSTAL TRAINING INSTITUTE GANMO, KWARA STATE
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This study investigated the factors influencing juvenile delinquencies among juveniles in Borstal Training Institute Ganmo, Kwara State.
A sample of 150 respondents were randomly selected.
A questionnaire titled “Factor Influencing Juvenile Delinquencies Questionnaire (FIJDQ) was administered to elicit relevant information from the respondents and the data collected were analysed with the use of frequency counts, simple percentages, t-test and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA).
The study revealed that parents not paying adequate attention to their children and lack of parental supervision or control; and exposure of children to drug use are the fundamental factors influencing juvenile delinquencies.
Based on these findings, it was recommended that multisystem therapy (MST) could be adopted.
MST is a family – oriented home based program targeting chronically violent, substance – abusing juvenile offenders aged 12 to 17. also, counsellors should be employed in remand or juvenile homes for enhanced and functional guidance and counselling activities aimed at rehabilitating and reforming the delinquent juveniles.
Background to the Study
In our contemporary, societies, the problem of juvenile delinquency has been one of the malicious, negativistic acts of purposeless violence, which has turned out to be difficult to prevent and control. It has been observed that most delinquent acts which are serious and violent are committed by the juvenile or street gangs.
These juveniles are involved in multiple, serious criminal acts.
They maintain a criminal life-style; they are known to be repeat or chronic delinquent offenders (Siegel and Senna, 1991:6).
It should be emphasized that the trends of juvenile delinquency is difficult to establish on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or over a long period in our schools.
This is because statistical records are not accurately kept in our schools.
This makes it even more difficult to determine exactly, whether juvenile delinquency is on the increase or decrease during a certain period in our schools.
ased on the national office of statistics, it is believed that juvenile delinquency rose astronomically at certain times during oil (1970 – 1979) and post – oil (1980 – 1989) era.
The records of the Police Bureau also show that there was the greatest risk that students/pupils would be victims of serious offences than minor or simple offences committed by the delinquent students in the schools. Even teachers are not safe from their anti-social behaviour.
Emphatically, the problem of juvenile delinquency is a global phenomenon.
Pathetically, on February 12 1993, 2 year old, James Bulger was abducted from a shopping mall in Liverpool, England, dragged half mile away to a construction site, beaten to death, and left on a rail road track to be run over by a train. His abductors were two 10 year – old boys whose actions were captured by mall security cameras (Siegel, 1995).
Also, on January 11, 1992, four teenage girls lured 12 – year old Shanda Renee Sharer into there car, drove her down a country road where they tortured, sodomised, slashed and finally covered her with gasoline and burned her to death.
One of the girls had accused Sharer of stealing away her girl friend in a homoerotic relationship.
The crime occurred in Madison, Indiana, a quiet town of thirteen thousand people. The girls, who later plead guilty, were given the maximum sentence allowed by law (Siegel, 1995).
It is important to note here also that the anxiety and disquiet, induced by the juvenile is not limited to the modern era.
Citing the code of Hammurabi which dates back to 2270 B.C., Regoli and Hewitt (1991:6) note that legal prohibition of specific behaviour by Juvenile is centuries old.
Still, they note that in the middle ages “little distinctions were made between juveniles and adults who were older than 12 (Rogoli and Hewitt, 1991:6).
In a comment made in 1959 but which is still relevant to those who are intrigued, frightened, or perplexed by the “heedlessness” of today juveniles.
Teeters and Matza (1959:200) stated: “it has always been popular for each generation to believe its children were the worst.”
We are also reminded by them that Sir Walter Scott in 1812 deplored the insecurity of Edinburgh where group of boys between the ages of 12 down who robbed all who came in their way (p.200).
Apropos of delinquency, such remarks underscore the relativity of opinion and the brevity of trends.
They also remind us that juvenile delinquency is a relatively new legal category that subjects children to court authority; it is also a timeless and ubiquitous part of life.
By the mid – 1800s, teenage gangs were frequently found in the larger cities.
The habits of hanging out on street corners, verbally abusing pedestrians, and even pelting citizens with rocks and snowballs were among the least threatening of their behaviours. More serious were the violent gangs of juvenile robbers.
The latter decades of the 19th century saw a number of changes in the public understand of the causes of delinquency and of appropriate approaches to its control and treatment.
In America, children as young as three years of age could be brought before the court, while in England a girl of seven was hanged.
n Massachusetts, in 1871, 1,354 boys and 109 girls were handled by the courts. Reform schools proliferated during the 19th century and were criticized for failing to prevent the apparent increase in delinquency.
Reformers called “child savers” – believed that juveniles required non-instructional treatment that would reflect the natural family (Platt, 1969).
This legal and humanitarian concern for the well-being of children led to the establishment of the first juvenile court in Cook County Illinois, in 1899. By 1925, all but two states had followed the Illinois example.
Thus, it seems fair to say that the idea of juvenile, delinquency is a relatively modern construction, a notion shared by writers such as Gibbons and Krohn (1991), Empey (1982), and Short (1990). The data on delinquency, however, are not limited to the legal status of juvenile delinquency, because counsellors are just as interested in unofficial as in official acts of delinquency.
Moreover, the gender debate on juvenile delinquency has concluded that the phenomenon does not vary by sex as male and female juveniles engage in delinquent acts.
However, male rates in cases of juvenile delinquency are almost the same for the female, especially for sex offences, truancy and incorrigible conducts, but differ in other delinquent tendencies such as stealing and aggregated assault (Iwarimie – Jaja 1999:43).
Sequel from the above background information, this study will attempt to focus on the trends, patterns and factors responsible for juvenile delinquency.
It will also show how socio-biological and psychological conditions can have expulsive effects on the child and make for engagement in delinquent activities.
Furthermore, the essential purpose of this study is to reformulate and apply to our society the theoretical framework which writers who have studied juvenile delinquency have used. In this way, the study intend to adopt a holistic or multidisciplinary approach for the explanation of juvenile delinquency.
Statement of the Problem
The problem of juvenile delinquency has engaged the attention of various scholars especially in the developed countries.
Without mincing words, juvenile delinquency has “calamitous effects” in our contemporary societies.
Efforts to discover its causes/roots reveal that it is an endless effort to attribute its roots/causes to a single factor such as poverty, family environment, biochemical make-up, genetic factors to mention but a few.
The nature and scope of the juvenile delinquency vary from non-violent, to violent and from minor to serious offences.
They include minor or single offences like cheating, fighting, lying, truancy and stealing to serious offences such as murder, arson, burglary, destruction of property and armed robbery.
It also includes acts of drunkenness, alcoholism, prostitution, drug trafficking and peddling; fraudulent practices, bribery, corruption and counter feinting.
For these acts of infringement, “the delinquent child is not tried under the criminal laws, but by the jurisdiction of the juvenile court which must do everything possible to help the child, because of the presumption that he/she is immature and lacks criminal intent (Iwarimie – Jaja, 1999:41).
There is no gain-saying the fact that delinquent juveniles are likely to graduate into adult criminals. Iwarimie – Jaja (1999) explains the link between juvenile delinquency and adult criminality.
That is, to explain the process that are involved when a juvenile or a young person who has been involved in delinquency or has been associated with delinquent gangs or friends, and/or have been processed through the Nigerian Criminal Justice System and have continued to commit delinquency until he becomes an adult, or even stops his delinquent acts or association with delinquent or criminal friends, but suddenly begins to commit crime when he reaches adult age.
Studies by Wolfgang and his associates (1972) supported the linkage between juvenile delinquency and adult criminality.
Wolfgang and his associates (1972) studied criminal careers of cohort boys (9,945) born in 1945 and followed their criminal activities until when they became 18 – year – old in 1963.
From official police records in their Philadelphia study, they discovered that their sample contained 3,475 boys with police contact, 1862 delinquent youths were recidivists, 1,613 of them were first time offenders. 1,862 of them were first time offenders. 1,235 of them had been in police custody more than once but less than five, times, while 627 of them had been arrested five times or more.
According to Wolfgang et.al 1972, the 627 delinquent recidivists with arrest record of five times or more account for 5,305 offences or 51% of all offences in the area.
These offenders are identified as the chronic offender committed serious crimes; 69% of the aggravated assaults, 71% of the homicides, 73% of the rapes, and 83% of the robberies.
Wolfgang and associates in a second study (Birth Cohort II) used a larger sample of youths (males and females) born in Philadelphia in 1958.
They found that the 1958 cohort of youths was significantly more involved in serious crime than the 1945 group, their violent offence rate is 149 per 1,000 in the sample (i.e. three times higher) than the rate for the 1945 group (which is 47per 1,000 subjects).
However, the 1945 cohort study found that crime offenders dominate the total crime rate and continue their law violating career as adults.
Indeed, Iwarmie Jaja’s study (1999) shows also that juvenile recidivists are the ones that mature to become armed robbers.
As he puts it:
No individual gets up one day and decides to rob a bank or a residence armed with a gun.
This is because armed robbery is a high-level criminal act which criminals must graduate into commit either individually or in gang context (Iwanmie – Jaja, 1999: 72).
According to the developmental research of Moffilt (2006), there are two differences types of offenders that emerge in adolescence.
One is the repeat offender, referred to as the life-course-persistent offender, who begins offending or showing anti-social/aggressive behaviour in adolescence (or even childhood) and continues into adulthood; and the age specific offender, referred to as the adolescence – limited offender, for whom juvenile offending or delinquency begins and ends during their period of adolescence.
Because most teenagers tend to show some form of antisocial, aggressive or delinquent behaviour during adolescence.
According to Roberts (2013), failure in schools is the main risk factor of juvenile delinquency.
Failure at school includes poor academic performance, poor attendance, or more likely, expulsion or dropping out of school. According to him, this is an important factor for predicting future criminal behaviour.
Leaving school early reduces the chance that juveniles will develop the social skills that are gained in school, such as learning to meet deadlines, following instructions and being able to deal constructively with their peers.
In addition, the growing incidence of child abuse and child neglect in the family tend to increase the probability of a child committing a criminal act (Roberts, 2012).
From the foregoing, it is clear that juvenile delinquency posed a serious threat to our society.
Therefore, the fundamental concern of this study is to examine the causes and suggest lasting solutions to this threatening problem in our contemporary societies.