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Juvenile Justice

  • Date Submitted: 06/06/2014 07:08 AM
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Question #3: Discuss Hirschi’s social bond theory and its impact on the juvenile justice system.

Hirschi’s social bond theory revolves around the idea of social control based on social bonds. The social controls are either actual or potential rewards that make a juvenile conform to social mores. The social controls take form of social bonds, the bonds between family, school, peers, and society. Hirschi felt that all juveniles have the potential to become delinquent, but tried to determine why some or most do not become delinquents.
Hirschi believes that juveniles with strong family connections, involved in school, and have friends and environments that are not deviant, are less likely to be delinquents. Juveniles with weak family connections, not involved in school, have delinquent friends, are more likely to become delinquents.   Families that show a lack of parenting, have one or more missing parents, have parental drug use or criminal involvement, are more likely to encourage delinquency. Juveniles that learn to be members of society and conform to social mores, to be involved in society, and have a general respect for society are more likely to refrain from delinquent behavior.
Hirschi places responsibility on families and schools to teach proper social values to juveniles. Hirschi believes that juveniles that are more involved with family, school, and conventional societal activities will not have time for deviant behavior. The heaviest burden is on parents to teach their children values and conformity to societal norms.
I have spent the last five years of my law enforcement career working in the courts as a sergeant in charge of bailiff / deputy sheriffs. I have seen thousands of juvenile cases, both status and criminal offenses, as well as parental rights terminations. I believe that the courts in my county seem, to a high degree, to be putting the social bond theory into practice. The courts attempt to reform juveniles and involve the parents, get...


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