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NCJ Number: 75482 Find in a Library
Title: Juvenile Delinquency in Postrevolutionary Cuba - Characteristics and Cuban Explanations
Journal: Cuban Studies  Volume:9  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1979)  Pages:43-61
Author(s): L P Salas
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 19
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using arrest rates as reported by Cuban authorities, this paper describes juvenile delinquency in that country's postrevolutionary period and analyzes theories of causation developed by Cuban theoreticians.
Abstract: Although the amount of statistical data is severely limited, the concern expressed by Cuban officials indicates that delinquency is a serious problem. Juvenile offenders under age 12 are processed outside the criminal justice system, but youths between age 12 and 16 have limited responsibility for their actions and are treated separately from adult offenders. Cuban delinquency seems to be concentrated among lower class, urban male youths with low educational achievement and who come from broken or maladjusted homes. Property offenses form the largest category of juvenile crime, with consumer goods such as clothes, radios, and tape recorders being popular targets. The large percentage of crimes linked to adherents of Afro-Cuban religions indicates that race may still be a factor, but definitive statistics are not available. Adults who work in concert with juvenile offenders also contribute to the problem. Some Cuban theorists blame delinquency on capitalistic influences, but others have focused on institutional failures, psychological explanations, and social disorders caused by radical changes in Cuban society as a result of the revolution. Many studies have criticized the traditional authoritarian methods used by parents to discipline children. Schools are responsible for children's moral and social education as well as academic learning but have experienced difficulties with inexperienced staff, inadequate resources, and poor student attitudes. A disquieting development is the creation of extensive school files on each child which could result in labeling, tracking, self-fulfilling prophecies. The Government has tried to establish sports and recreational facilities for all children and promotes mass youth organizations to provide political training and occupy leisure time. The Committees for the Defense of the Revolution and the Federation of Cuban Women are active in delinquency prevention programs. Cuban psychologists follow a developmental approach to personality growth, emphasizing the importance of love and physical contact during the early childhood years and the use of peer pressure to modify behavior. In spite of the developmental viewpoint, Cuban psychologists still consider man a rational being totally responsible for his acts and refuse to consider the impact of current social and economic conditions on crime. Over 70 footnotes are included. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Cuba; Foreign juvenile justice systems; Juvenile delinquency factors; Socialism
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