Throughout time, crime has played in an important part in the function of society. We see crime in the news everyday, in our communities, in our schools, and in some cases, even in our immediate families. Which reaches out and takes a stranglehold on the human-interest angle of the general public’s mind, and makes us become enveloped in the thought processes of the modern criminal. Along these lines, the fascination with delinquent behavior and the mind of the delinquent has prompted the development of numerous theories, and the continuous, yet rigorous, study of youth behavior. But only recently has the concept of juvenile delinquency become an issue in the way crime among youth is viewed.Order now
Our society tends to hold children in special regards in most cases, and the implementation of the juvenile court system led to the development of specific theories such as neutralization, labeling, and social control theories, by people which had a first-hand interest in these juvenile delinquency cases. These theories help investigators, parents, family, peers, and the community, to better understand why our children do what they do. For years, factors such as gender, race, age, and social class, have been the dominant force in research studies to explain the juvenile delinquent and their actions (Hewitt and Regoli, 2000). The culture that exists today is different than the American culture twenty years ago, and in twenty years from now, American culture will have yet again, undergone a similar reconstruction. Trends in our daily trials and tribulations, affect how a youth will choose to live his or her own life, whether or not they choose what is right or wrong, or stray from the path of being a model citizen. These factors and how they interact with the relation of the theories of neutralization, labeling, and social control, is crucial to our situation, with fifteen year old Matt, who is of lower class status, and has seen himself involved in the theft of an automobile.
To further evaluate this crime, I’ll begin to apply these mentioned theories to explain this specific incident.
In our example of the neutralization theory in regard to this crime, Matt has stolen a car, and when it comes time for him to “pay the piper”, or face the effects of his criminal act, more than likely, he will use some sort of neutralization technique to justify his actions. The five neutralization techniques are 1) denial or responsibility, 2) denial of injury, 3) denial of victim, 4) Condemnations of condemners, and 5) appeal to a higher loyalty (Hewitt and Regoli, 2000). As a delinquent youth, Matt comes from a lower class family, therefore, he could state that he stole the car because he needed it more than the owner. He could also state that his crime was committed just for fun. By doing this, Matt is using a very common aspect of this theory otherwise known as, a technique of neutralization (Hewitt and Regoli, 2000).
Matt could very well assert that since he is a juvenile he is not going to held responsible for his actions, that the act may be ignored in the American justice system, though he is forgetting about the juvenile court system. The next technique he could use would involve the denial or injury, although it is still deemed a criminal act, no one was hurt in the actual crime. The delinquent neutralizes the crime by using such techniques as an explanation that can allow for exceptions to be made (Shields and Whitehall, 1994). To apply the fourth neutralization technique to this crime, Matt could possibly blame his parents or friends for his behavior. By placing the blame or cause for the crime on someone else, Matt is able to compare his behavior to that of the person that is reprimanding him, along with whatever positive or negative influence they may have. In further defense of his criminal act, Matt is also susceptible to the fifth neutralization technique, which would allow him to make his act seem somewhat appropriate by stating, for example, that his family needed the car to take a sick family member to the hospital.
Any one thing that Matt could use to justify .