This course will provide an examination of key issues associated with youth and crime in the United States, and the educational, social, and cultural efforts to reduce youth involvement with guns, drugs, and gangs. Theoretical perspectives regarding the creation of childhood as a social construct and the etiology of juvenile offending will be examined. Emphasis will be on the nature and structure of youth gangs, drug use by juveniles, and risk factors associated with youth violence. Other issues may involve curfews, gun violence, victims of youth violence, and the over-representation of minority youth in the juvenile justice system. Particular attention is paid to the role of family, peers and school.
Students completing this course will be able to:
- Define juvenile delinquency from a legal and sociological perspective and document a history of delinquency in America
- Differentiate between the various theories of delinquency and discuss how culture, diversity, social stratification, families, schools, neighborhoods and peers may play a role in delinquent behavior.
- Have an increased understanding of the issues of law enforcement related to juvenile delinquency and gangs
- Examine the goals and objectives of the juvenile court system and its handling of cases, as well as other methods of treatment of children and adolescents
- Critically evaluate direct service interventions (screening, assessment, treatment) with juvenile populations
- Critically evaluate policy efforts as they related to juvenile populations in law enforcement and corrections
- Effectively communicate possible solutions to the challenges facing the juvenile justice system
- Examine the goals, objectives, and challenges in the detention of juveniles in the Criminal Justice system