Functionalist View On Juvenile Delinquency

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According to the functionalist perspective, society’s changing values and strengthening economic disparity has led to an intense state of anomie, which has created feelings of helplessness in juveniles and leads some to act out in illegal and/or problematic ways. Committing crimes, drug use, truancy, and joining gangs (among other delinquent behaviors) gives these adolescents a sense of purpose and belonging that they are not getting from their families, schools, other institutions that have served these functions in the past. Committing crimes creates shared experiences between juveniles in their communities in the same way that legitimate, more pro-social activities would - if they were available. In this view, it is necessary that people…show more content…
These children never learn skills such as conflict mediation and cooperation with others and operate with the mindset that they must take what they want in life by force. They develop the expectation that in order for one to gain something, another must lose it. In developing their personalities, these distorted perspectives becomes ingrained and they behave in a way that reflects these values. Additionally, once someone is labelled as a juvenile delinquent it becomes part of their social identity. They may have only committed a few crimes, but the label itself may prompt a troubled child to take more stereotypically deviant behaviors in earnest, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, and turning the original unfair label into a true…show more content…
According to Kendall, 2012, 14.3% of all Americans live below the poverty line. This statistic hides an even greater problem that is seen when you break down poverty by groups: minorities in America are poor at more than double the rate of white, Non-Hispanic Americans. It is even worse for children; 35.7% of African American children and 33.1% of Hispanic children live below the poverty line, compared with 11.9% of white children. In his article “The State of Poverty In America,” Peter Edelman puts it best by saying, “Poverty most definitely cuts across racial lines, but it doesn’t cut

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