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Juvenile Delinquency Causes and Control



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Oxford University Press
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  • Juvenile Delinquency : Causes and Control
    Juvenile Delinquency : Causes and Control
  • Juvenile Delinquency Causes and Control
    Juvenile Delinquency Causes and Control
  • Juvenile Delinquency : Causes and Control
    Juvenile Delinquency : Causes and Control


This is a revision of a core text for the juvenile delinquency course, taught either out of sociology or criminal justice. One of the challenges in teaching this course is that, while students are inherently interested in the subject matter, they can get overwhelmed by the theory, which is the heart of the course. Instead of attempting to cover every variation on every theory ever developed, Robert Agnew and Timothy Brezina summarize the main theoretical points that students need to understand, and presents them clearly and accessibly. The text is organized around three major questions: 1) What is the nature and extent of delinquency? 2) What are the causes of delinquency? 3) What strategies should we employ to control deniquency? This question-centered approach is the core of the book.

Author Biography

Robert Agnew is Professor of Sociology at Emory University and President Elect of the American Society of Criminology.

Timothy Brezina is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Georgia State University.

Table of Contents

Each Chapter ends with a Summary, Teaching Aids (containing Controversial Cases, "Test Your Knowledge of This Chapter" exercises, Thought and Discussion Questions, and Key Terms), and Endnotes.
An Important Message for Instructors
An Overview of This Book
1. What Is Delinquency and How Does It Differ from Adult Crime?
We View Juvenile Delinquents Differently than Adult Criminals
We Treat Juvenile Delinquents Differently than Adult Criminals
Older, Serious Juvenile Offenders as an Exception
How Can We Explain the Invention of Juvenile Delinquency?
2. How Is Delinquency Measured?
Official Statistics--Especially Arrest Data from the Police
Self-Report Data
Overcoming the Preceding Problems
Victimization Data
3. How Much Delinquency Is There and Is Delinquency Increasing?
How Much Delinquency Is There?
Is Juvenile Delinquency Increasing?
How Can We Explain the Dramatic Decline in Serious Crime Since the Mid-1990s?
4. Who Is Most Likely to Engage in Delinquency?
Is Social Class Related to Delinquency?
Are Race and Ethnicity Related to Delinquency?
Is Age Related to Delinquency?
Is Gender Related to Delinquency?
Are There Different Types of Delinquents?
5. What Is a Theory and How Do We Test Theories?
What Is a Theory?
How Do We Test Theories of Delinquency (or Determine Whether Some Factor Causes Delinquency)?
6. Strain Theory: Does Strain or Stress Cause Delinquency?
What Are the Major Types of Strain?
What Impact Does Strain Have on the Juvenile?
Why Are Some Juveniles More Likely to Cope with Strain Through Delinquency?
7. Social Learning Theory: Do Individuals Learn to Be Delinquent from Others?
Juveniles Learn to Engage in Delinquency from Others
The Differential Reinforcement of Delinquency
Beliefs Favorable to Delinquency
The Imitation of Delinquent Models
8. Control Theory: Do Weak Controls Result in Delinquency?
Why Do Juveniles Conform (and Sometimes Deviate)?
How Is Control Theory Similar to and Different from Social Learning Theory?
What Are the Major Types of Control (or Restraints to Delinquency)?
9. Labeling Theory: Does the Reaction to Delinquency Lead to Further Delinquency?
Background on Labeling Theory
10. The Life Course: How Do We Explain Different Patterns of Offending over the Course of a Lifetime?
Why Do Most Individuals Increase Their Levels of Offending During Adolescence?
Why Do a Small Percentage of Individuals Offend at High Rates over Much of Their Lives?
11. Is Delinquency More Likely in Certain Types of Situations?
What Types of Situations Are Most Conducive to Delinquency?
What Factors Influence the Likelihood That Predisposed Offenders Will Encounter Situations Conducive to Delinquency?
12. Group Differences in Delinquency: How Can We Explain Group Differences, Particularly Community Differences in Rates of Delinquency?
Why Are Crime Rates Higher in Some Communities than in Others?
What Are the Characteristics of High-Crime Neighborhoods and Cities?
Are Communities with Characteristics Conducive to Crime Becoming More Common?
Why Are Deprived Communities Higher in Crime?
Overview of the Leading Theories of Delinquency
13. Individual Traits: What Impact Do Individual Traits Have on Delinquency?
Are Juveniles with Certain Traits More Likely to Engage in Delinquency?
Why Are Some Individuals More Likely than Others to Possess These Traits?
14. The Family: What Impact Does the Family Have on Delinquency?
The Effect of the Family on Delinquency
Family Structure
Parental and Sibling Crime/Deviance
The Quality of Family Relationships
Parental Socialization
Why Do Some Parents Employ Poor Parenting Practices?
15. The School: What Impact Does the School Have on Delinquency?
What School Experiences Contribute to Delinquency?
School Characteristics and Delinquency
16. Delinquent Peers and Gangs: What Impact Do Delinquent Peer Groups and Gangs Have on Delinquency?
What Impact Do Delinquent Peers Have on Delinquency?
What Impact Do Gangs Have on Delinquency?
17. Other Social Influences: What Effects Do Religion, Work, the Mass Media, Drugs, and Guns Have on Delinquency?
Does Religion Reduce Delinquency?
Does Work Reduce Delinquency Among Juveniles Attending School?
Does Mass Media Violence Cause Violence Among Juveniles?
Do Drugs Increase the Likelihood of Delinquency?
Do Guns Increase the Likelihood of Delinquency?
18. Pulling It All Together: Is It Possible to Construct a General Theory of Delinquency?
A Brief Review of the Theories and Research on the Causes of Delinquency
A General Theory of Delinquency
Explaining Patterns of Offending over the Life Course and Group Differences in Delinquency
Using the General Theory to Explain Why Males Have Higher Rates of Delinquency than Females
The Special Role of Sexual Abuse in Explaining Serious Female Offending
An Overview of the General Theory of Delinquency
19. Policies and Programs: How Is It Determined if a Policy or Program Is Effective in Controlling or Preventing Delinquency?
The Experimental Model for Determining Program Effectiveness
20. The Police: What Do the Police Do to Control Delinquency?
How Do the Police Operate?
How Effective Is Preventive Patrol?
How Can the Police Increase Their Effectiveness?
21. Juvenile Court and Corrections: What Do the Juvenile Court and Juvenile Correctional Agencies Do to Control Delinquency?
What Happens When Juveniles Are Sent to Juvenile Court?
Juvenile Corrections: What Happens to Juveniles Who Receive a Disposition or Sentence from the Court?
An Overview of the Juvenile Justice Process
22. The Juvenile Justice System: Does the Juvenile Justice System Discriminate Against Certain Groups in Its Efforts to Control Delinquency?
Does the Juvenile Justice System Discriminate Against African Americans?
Does the Juvenile Justice System Discriminate Against the Poor and Against Males or Females?
23. The Strategies of Deterrence and Incapacitation: Is It Possible to Control Delinquency by Punishing More Offenders and Punishing Them More Severely?
Are the Juvenile Court and Correctional System Tough Enough in Dealing with Offenders, Especially Serious Offenders?
Efforts to Get Tough with Serious Offenders
How Effective Are These Get-Tough Measures, and What Can Be Done to Increase Their Effectiveness?
24. The Strategies of Prevention and Rehabilitation: Is It Possible to Prevent Delinquency and to Rehabilitate Delinquents?
A Brief History of Prevention and Rehabilitation
How Effective Are Prevention and Rehabilitation Programs?
What Are the Characteristics of Successful Prevention/Rehabilitation Programs in Different Areas?
Selected Other Prevention and Rehabilitation Programs
The Critical Role of Larger Social Forces in Preventing Delinquency
25. What Should We Do to Reduce Delinquency?
We Should Place More Emphasis on Prevention and Rehabilitation
We Should Hold Juveniles Accountable for Their Behavior and Protect the Community
Photo Credits
Name Index
Subject Index

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