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NCJ Number: 192229 Find in a Library
Title: Why More Violent Young Offenders?
Journal: Corrections Today  Volume:63  Issue:7  Dated:December 2001  Pages:96-98,152,153
Author(s): Dennis D. Embry
Date Published: December 2001
Page Count: 5
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses juvenile violence causes and possible prevention measures.
Abstract: Many more middle-class children have become more violent or prone to serious problem behavior. Youth depression and bipolar disorders are also increasing. In fact, depression is increasing dramatically with each birth cohort in the United States. The rising rates of community-level depression means a lot more children will be primed to act out. One reason for this is because depressed adults pay less attention to prosocial behaviors in youths and more attention to negative or aggressive behaviors. Increased depression means increased irritability, social withdrawal and social isolation, and suicidal actions. Bipolar disorder increases the risk of serious anti-social behavior. Suicidal and homicidal actions or grandiose crimes are commonly associated with bipolar disorder. Youths with bipolar disorder are frustrating to deal with because their thoughts often defer logic. One study suggests that the use of stimulant or antidepressant medication may worsen bipolar disorder in youths. Early aggressive and disruptive behaviors in preschool or primary grades have been well established as predictors of serious violent offenders a decade later. Familial history of multifaceted problem behavior is a strong predictor of violent offenders, even if the biological father and mother do not exhibit antisocial behavior. Aggression and homicide rates are associated with increased exposure to lead. One recommended intervention and prevention strategy includes adopting the good behavior game in all elementary schools. The game involves a “response-cost” protocol to teaching young children to inhibit their disruptive, aggressive behaviors. Another is to promote the use of the Triple-P Program in a community or State. Triple P is a system of behavioral family interventions based on social learning principles and developmental research on parenting and children. The use of buccal screens (a swab of the inside of the cheek) is an important diagnostic tool to check for various genetic factors that may relate to negative reactions or risk factors for certain medications. Also suggested are the use of genograms (family histories) for intervention screening, and the increased use of folic acid and vitamin C during pregnancy. 24 endnotes
Main Term(s): Juvenile offenders; Juvenile psychological evaluation; Murderers
Index Term(s): Emotional disorders; Juvenile crime patterns; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquency prevention; Juvenile program needs assessment; Mental disorders
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