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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 73945 Find in a Library
Title: Juvenile Offender
Journal: Kriminalistik  Volume:31  Issue:7  Dated:(1977)  Pages:298-301
Author(s): A Mergen
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: The economic factors influencing habitual juvenile delinquency are discussed, and the importance of official reaction to the first offenses is emphasized.
Abstract: To the criminologist, repeat juvenile offenders are of greater interest than innumerable juvenile status offenders who commit only one offense. Each economic development creates its own atmosphere characterized by a particular type of habitual juvenile delinquency. In periods of prosperity, economically deprived juveniles are in the greatest danger of turning into habitual criminals. If juveniles are born into a prosperous environment, criminal temptations are created by heightened expectations in standard of living and, above all, by the pleasures afforded by prosperity (e.g., drugs). Juveniles who have been exposed to a constantly changing economic climate are unable to form stable norms and expectations; therefore, a succession of economic depressions and periods of prosperity is most conducive to juvenile criminal activity. Further factors in juvenile criminal development are the circumstances of initial offenses including the age at the time of the first offense, the age at the time of the first discovered offense, and the age of the first contact with law enforcement and criminal justice authorities. All juveniles can be expected to violate social norms at some point in their maturing process, but the first contact with police, prosecutors, and court (i.e., the first realization of the criminal nature of particular actions) may determine a juvenile's attitudes toward authority for the rest of his life. Therefore, law enforcement and criminal justice agencies should proceed in a cool and rational manner against first-time juvenile delinquents while remaining aware that they are dealing with essentially unfinshed, highly malleable human beings.
Index Term(s): Economic influences; First time offenders; Habitual offenders; Juvenile delinquency factors
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