Juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice in Russia

Juvenile delinquency refers to crimes committed by young people or minors. A criminal is one who relapses and commits crimes repeatedly. Most legal systems consider specific procedures for dealing with this problem, such as juvenile detention centers. There are many different theories about the causes of crime, most if not all of which can be applied to the causes of juvenile crimes. Juvenile crime often receives great attention from the media and politicians. This is because the level and types of juvenile crimes can be used by analysts and the media as an indicator of the general state of morality and public order in a country and as a result can be a source of moral panic alarm. 

Like most types of offenses, the number of crimes committed by juveniles in Russia has increased since the mid-twentieth century. There are many theories about the causes of juvenile crimes, regarded as particularly important within criminology. This is because the number of crimes increases dramatically between fifteen and twenty years. Second, any theory about the causes of crime of juvenile crimes should be considered as adult criminals are likely to have had a beginning in crime when they were young.  On the other hand, another possible origin of the juvenile delinquency problems such as schizophrenia, behavioral / mental stress disorder, conduct disorder or bipolar disorder, as stated in Juvenile Justice in the Russian Federation: Improving Services to Youth at Risk.

Rational choice theory. Classical criminology considers that the causes of crime have their origin in the same criminal, rather than its external environment. For classicists, what motivates offenders is the rational self-interest, and highlights the importance of free choice and personal responsibility. The rational choice theory is the clearest example of this approach.

Social disorganization theory. The current positivist approaches generally focus on culture, producing the breakdown of family relationships and community, values ​​and greater individualism.Studies show that only 16 percent of children do something bad, as opposed to 26 percent of adults do something illegal.

The theory of stress. The theory of stress is mainly associated with the work of Robert Merton. Merton believed that in society there are institutionalized paths to success. The strain theory holds that crime is caused by the difficulty for those living in poverty to achieve through legitimate means socially valued goals. For those who, for example, fails the educational attainment, that is why it is more difficult to achieve wealth and social status assured by well-paid jobs, and therefore it is more likely to use criminal means to achieve these goals, as stated in Juvenile justice in Russia. Merton suggests five adjustments to this dilemma:

Innovation: individuals who accept socially approved goals, but not necessarily the socially approved means.

Retreat: those who reject socially approved goals and means to acquire them.

Ritualism: those who are in the system of socially approved means but lose sight of goals. Merton believed that drug users are in this category.

Conformity: those who meet the means and goals of the system.

Rebellion: people who deny socially approved goals and means creating a new set of goals and acceptable means.

One difficulty with the theory is that stress does not explain why children from low income families in Russia have a poor educational performance in the first place. Indicated is the fact that much youth crimes are not economically motivated. The strain theory fails to explain the violent crime, juvenile crime rate that causes the greatest anxiety to the public.

Theory of Subcultures is related to the strain theory. The difficulty of youth to achieve goals and produce socially recognized status groups of young people, who are criminals and deviant subcultures from the right path, have their own values ​​and standards. Within these groups, criminal behavior can actually be measured, increasing the status of a youth. The notion of subcultures is important for offenders for crimes that are not economically motivated. The male members of the bands can argue to have their own values ​​such as respect for the ability to fight and daring. However, it is not clear why young people make them different from normal “non-violators.” Also, there is an explanation of why people are unable to reach socially recognized goals and must necessarily choose substitutes criminals. Theories of subcultures have also been criticized for having too big a distinction between what is “normal” and what behavior is “deviant.” There are also doubts about whether young people consciously rejected the generally accepted values.

Differential Association Theory. The differential association theory is about young people in a group setting, and sees how peer pressure and the existence of bands can lead to crime. It suggests that young people are driven to commit crimes by delinquent peers, learning skills of criminals. There has also been cited a factor in reducing crime reduction as a peer influence, as the men they marry. There is evidence that young people with criminal friends are more likely to commit crimes. However, there may be cases of criminals who prefer to join, then the delinquent peers begin to make some offending. In addition there is the question of how delinquent peers group initially began to commit crimes.

Labelling theory suggests that once you have been labeled as a young criminal, this person is more likely to commit crimes. The idea is that once that a person has been labeled, a youth becomes different, and can accept the role and it is more likely to join others who have been labeled the same way. Labeling theorists say that there is a greater likelihood that the male children of poor families are labeled as different, and this may partially explain why young male offenders belong to lower class

Juvenile delinquency in Russia as a male phenomenon. Juvenile crime committed by men is much higher than the female. Other feminist theorists have studied the causes of this phenomenon. One suggestion is that ideas of masculinity may make young men more likely to commit crimes. Being resilient, having higher capacity, being aggressive, daring and competitive can be ways in which young people express their masculinity. The expression of these ideals can make it more likely that young people develop antisocial and criminal behavior. Alternatively, something that makes young men act as they do, is because of social pressure to conform to the ideal male, and young men may be naturally more aggressive, bold, etc. There may be biological or psychological factors, the way the parents treat young men can make them more susceptible to crime. According to a study conducted by Dr. Kevin M. criminologist at the University of Florida (USA), adolescent males who possess a certain type of variation in a specific gene are more proclibed to meet with other criminals, as stated in The colony for Russia’s young offenders.

Risk factors. Certain risk factors are associated with the potential for violence against oneself and against others. It is very important to keep in mind that none of these factors alone is sufficient to predict violence. Using these factors simply as a checklist for a particular child may be inappropriate and even potentially harmful. This list will not be used to stereotype or stigmatize a young man by the mere fact that appears to have some risk factors.

Personal risk factors include:

• History of tantrums or uncontrollable explosions of anger;

• Violent behavior;

• Use past typically insulting or offensive language;

• Abusive behavior toward peers or younger;

• History of having been the victim of bullies;

• A pattern of violent threats when angry;

• Cruelty to animals;

• Start fires;

• Use and abuse of alcohol or drugs;

• Have attempted suicide in the past;

• Depression or frequent mood swings;

• Tendency to blame others for their problems; 

• Experience personal humiliation, loss and rejection;

• Too much interest in weapons or explosives;

• poor relations with peers, exclusion of the group, few or no close friends;

• Participation in cults or gangs;

• Too much unstructured time.

Mental disorders. Behavioral disorders usually develop in childhood and usually manifest during the teenage life. Some juvenile behavior is attributed to diagnosable disorder known as conduct disorder. According to the DSM-IV-TR code 312.xx (where xx varies with the specific subtype), adolescents with conduct disorder also show a lack of empathy and disregard for social norms. The DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association and referenced often by psychiatrists to diagnose mental disorders. Juvenile offenders who reoffend in the criminal justice system sometimes diagnosed behavioral disorders because they show a continued disregard for their safety and that of others and their belongings.

Once the young still have the same patterns of behavior and reaches eighteen, then you are in danger of diagnosis with an antisocial personality disorder and it is much more likely to become a serious criminal. One of the main elements used in the diagnosis of adult antisocial personality disorder is to present a documented history of conduct disorder before age 15. These two personality disorders are similar in erratic and aggressive behavior.

This is the reason why the common juvenile delinquents in Russia are diagnosed with conduct disorder is likely to show signs of antisocial personality disorder in adulthood. Once adolescents reach maturity, unacceptable social behavior becomes a lifestyle and they become career criminals. Career criminals start with antisocial behavior before entering graduate school and are versatile in the sense that they engage in an array of destructive behaviors, offenders with very high rates, and less likely to stop the crime while they are aging, as described in The colony for Russia’s young offenders.

Family environment. Among the family factors that may have a negative influence can include:the level of parental supervision, how to discipline children by parents, a parental conflict or separation, criminal parents or siblings, a parental abuse or neglect, and the quality of parent-child relationship. Children raised by divorced parents are more likely to begin to commit crimes than those who grew up with both parents, however, if one takes into account the bond that a child feels toward his parents and the level of parental supervision, it is considered that children families of single parent, is more likely to commit crime.

Just as if a child has a low parental supervision, many studies have found a strong correlation between a lack of supervision and crime, and this seems to be the most important influence of the family. When parents do not usually know where your children are, what their activities are, or who their friends are, they more likely to be absent from school and to have delinquent peers leads them to commit crimes. A lack of supervision is linked to poor relationships between children and parents, since children are often in conflict with their parents, who tend to be less willing to discuss their activities with them. Youth with a weak bond with their parents are more likely to commit crimes.

Crime prevention. The prevention of crime is the general term for all efforts to prevent youth involved in criminal or antisocial activities. Increasingly, governments are recognizing the importance of allocating resources for crime prevention. It is often difficult for states to provide financial resources for adequate prevention, organizations and communities. For all these governments work in partnership is essential for prevention. With the development of delinquency in youth, influenced by many factors, prospects for prevention efforts are understandable. Among prevention services there are included activities such as education and substance abuse treatment drugs, family counseling, mentoring and youth protection, parental education, educational assistance, and social intervention.

Consequences for society. Once the juvenile reaches maturity they are likely to continue showing maladjustment behaviors and increase their risk of being prosecuted through the criminal justice system as adult offenders. Due to the small percentage of normal adult and juvenile offenders who contribute a high percentage of violent crime (ie murder and aggravated assault), the criminal justice system should monitor the small population of professional criminals in an effort to prevent the proliferation of serious violent offenders, as described in Russia considering juvenile justice system.

If mental disorders such as conduct disorder go undiagnosed and untreated, juvenile has the growing potential for developing an antisocial personality disorder and continue later life as a professional criminal. Most violent criminals exhibit traits of antisocial personality disorder and put on display before age of 15. The antisocial personality disorder is a common diagnosis for a mass murderer. Alvarez and Bachman found a similarity between the mass murderers that made his previous criminal convictions. In this case, the conduct disorder could become an element likely to serial murderer if not diagnosed and treated before it becomes fully into adulthood in an antisocial personality disorder. Conduct disorder and antisocial personality disorders are categorized as extremely similar personality definitions in DSM-IV-TR and as explained above in mental disorders. Some common features include the constant breach of social norms, aggressive behavior toward people, and a decoupling of the emotion of empathy.These features are also common among serial murderers and maladaptive behaviors if left untreated has the potential to create a person who fantasizes about killing several victims and then meet his impulsiveness when no longer able to restrain.

All in all, the juvenile delinquency in Russia can be prevented and must be prevented, using new innovative approaches and different methods that will help youth to direct their efferts and interests in studying and working. Juvenile delinquency is a serious problem in Russia and the juvenile justice for it should be corresponding.

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