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The Effects on Labeling a Juvenile Delinquent

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The Effects on Labeling a Juvenile Delinquent

Who are criminals? A criminal according to Webster’s Dictionary is a person convicted of a crime. This person has been found guilty amongst a jury of his or her peers. The juvenile courts are different from the adult courts. Juveniles are adjudicated by a judge and do not stand trail. A person convicted of a crime is “criminal” and a juvenile adjudicated by a judge is viewed as a “delinquent” by society. Being considered a “criminal” or a “delinquent” by stigmatizing labels, labeling causes a self fulfilling prophecy, self rejection, and spoiled identity.

Labeling juvenile causes them to attain a self-fulfilling prophecy is defined as deviant behavior patterns. These deviant behavior patterns are a response to earlier labeling experiences: youth act out social roles even if they were falsely accused. When children continually receive negative feedback from parents teachers, judges, and others whom opinion they take to heart. They will eventually interpret this reaction as accurate and self defining “Teachers already think I’m stupid, so why should I brother to study.” Behavior and attitudes change and the child become someone that could have been prevented.

Labeling juveniles as delinquents also causes them to self- reject their identities. Labeled youth also “Reject their rejecters”. As opposed to viewing teachers, police officers, and parents as role models those labeled view them as the enemy. They describe teachers as “stupid, cops as dishonest and parents as those who just don’t understand”. Self- rejection disables a child from reaching his or hers full potential due to societies label. Those labeled seek out others outcast from societies who are similarly stigmatized. Associating with deviant peers helps to reinforce society’s preexisting negative evaluations: “We were right all along about him, look who his friends are”! Labeling juveniles causes them to acquire self rejection attitudes:” At times I think I am no good at all”, also “Everyone is against me so why should I obey the rules”. These effects result into a weakness of behaviors which will facilitate continuing a life of delinquency and crime.

Labeling juveniles also causes



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