Nature of the Problem
The criminal justice system has been tasked to look after the welfare of the society as a whole. This means that both the offenders and law-abiders fit within the responsibility of the criminal justice system. Recent news briefs have been presenting reports of crimes perpetrated by relatively young offenders. Unfortunately, this situation could only get worse as juvenile offences have considerably been committed by offenders progressively getting younger. Studies have been really open in interpreting these occurrences as a social problem. (Ouimet, 2000, 15) In order to possibly avert any more instances of youth offence, it would be advisable to look into the underlying reason of juvenile delinquency based on criminal theories. Thus, this proposal will try to answer a central question: "how could criminal theories address the problem of juvenile delinquency?" Basically, the study will be addressing this central question by answering certain specific research questions and eventually testing the directional hypothesis that will be pointed out in the later part of this proposal. The study will be covering three theories of interpreting crimes: classical, positivist, and strain theory. Using these perspectives, the study intends find out the specific elements contributing to juvenile delinquency and to generate a set of recommendations that would address the said social problem.
The study intends to use the perspective of three criminal theories to understand and eventually address the issues surrounding the issue of juvenile delinquency. Specifically, the study intends to answer the following research questions:
1. How does the level of punishment affect the recurrence of delinquency among youth offenders?
In answering this research question, the classical theory of crime will be used. Particularly, a closer look on the supposed "pain-pleasure" elements and their influence on the offender will be taken into account. (Brownfield and Sorenson, 1995, 21) Thus, this research question intends to test the following hypothesis:
H1: The level of punishment given to the youth offender is directly proportional to the recurrence of the juvenile act.
2. How could scientific processes help in averting delinquent crimes among young offenders?
In this research question, the response will use the positivist theories. Particularly, responses using the biological and psychological theories to address the social problem. Del Olmo (1999, 19) noted that in using these theories, the issue of delinquency is seen as neutral objects similarly controlled by universal laws. Thus, this research question intends to test the following hypothesis:
H2: The use of scientific processes is directly related to prevention of juvenile delinquency.
3. How does the environment affect the occurrence of delinquency among young offenders?
This third research question will use the strain theory to respond and test the hypothesis. According to the work of Barlow (1995, 78), society is to blame of the actual existence of crime. Using this premise, the analysis of juvenile delinquency will be taken into account as well as the possibility of preventing its recurrence. Thus, this research question intends to test the following hypothesis:
H3: The juvenile offender's environment is directly related to the occurrence of delinquent offences.
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