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Impact of Social Environment on Mental Health of Juvenile Delinquents

ABSTRACT

Juvenile delinquency is a major issue in developing countries, with poverty playing a major role. It is found in all nations and is particularly widespread in highly industrialized nations. Juvenile laws were established to treat delinquents, but the rate of crimes has increased due to poverty and family tension. An amendment should be made to the present law to ensure it is enforced in a strict manner. Given the rise in juvenile criminality, it is imperative that the required actions be done, and that the current law be amended so that it can be strictly implemented. Delinquency is juvenile misconduct that should be dealt with by the law. Punishment aims to change children for the better. The social factors that contribute to delinquency like poverty, lack of education and family environment. The paper focuses on the psychological reason for delinquency and the role of the current legal system to tackle this problem.


KEYWORDS: Juvenile, psychological causes, delinquency, counselling


INTRODUCTION

Every child is and should be entitled to a safe, healthy and learning environment without any discrimination and a sense of prejudice. Even if they are criminally punished by the law for any grave issues or any form of a heinous crime, they deserve to learn and grow in a safe environment which will bring in a positive change in them and reform them for the good cause. The major aim is to give punishment basically dealing with this in specific and aims to change children for better than giving them harsh inhuman punishment, so they can grow up to be better individuals. In this paper, we will be dealing with the question of juvenile delinquency and discuss juvenile delinquency and its role in India. Friedlander believes that “Delinquency is a juvenile misconduct that should be dealt with by the law.”


JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

Juvenile delinquency involves criminal activities which are punished by the law. The crime committed by children, teenagers and individuals who are recognized as juveniles according to the law. They, at this age, are usually dealt with by juvenile courts.

When a minor engages icriminal or antisocial behaviour, it is referred to as juvenile delinquency (often used to refer to anyone under the age of 18). These actions might range from minor infractions like truancy, curfew breaches, or small-time theft to more serious crimes like drug use, violent behaviour or property destruction. The involvement of a child between the ages of 10 and 17 in criminal activity or behaviour is known as juvenile delinquency.

Inequality, dysfunctional families, peer pressure, and a lack of access to opportunities for education or employment are just a few of the complex societal issues that can contribute to juvenile delinquency. Many times, young people who act out in a delinquent manner have been traumatized, abused, or suffer from untreated mental health conditions. Youth delinquency is a complicated socioeconomic issue with many potential causes, such as poverty, broken families, peer pressure, and a lack of access to possibilities for school or employment.


CRIME STATISTICS IN JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

The National Crime Bureau's survey revealed that there have been 1801 rape cases perpetrated by juveniles, 519 cases of sexual harassment against women, and 151 cases of serious harm or damage. The National Crime Bureau performed a survey in 2016 that revealed 13 juveniles were charged with murder, 102 juveniles were accused of gang rape, and 5077 youngsters were transferred to special homes by the court in 2007 for reformation and rehabilitation. According to data from a 2019 assessment by the National Crime Bureau, there are 597 inmates in the borstal school. Hence, highlighting the juvenile delinquency rate and the necessity to address it.


STATUS OF CURRENT SYSTEM

In a recent report conducted by sociologists and NGOs, it was founded that 9 per cent of CCI were not registered, less than 20 CCI were made for girls some had no toilet or any diet plan for children, 15 per cent did not have proper bedding facilities for children. Children are often abused physically, sexually and mentally in shelter homes; they do not get proper counselling instead which makes them renter in society as criminals or 2012. More than 100 female residents said they were raped by caretakers and outsiders for more than a year; at least 10 girls had to undergo an abortion. Juvenile justice homes in India receive grants from the Union government. 40 cases of severe sexual abuse in juvenile justice homes were found in the case of privately-run homes and those run by NGOs. "Out of the 27 cases in these homes, inmates were responsible for the offences in five cases and out of these, in one case, the offence was committed in collusion with the staff," noted the report.[1]


ACTORS THAT LEAD TO JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

Several social, economic, and psychological factors may play a role in why children commit crimes. Children's social environments have a significant influence on their criminal and aggressive behaviour.


Social Factors

Children who grow up in poverty may be more likely to act out because they do not have access to good role models or educational opportunities. Kids from broken households may behave more delinquently since they lack a stable and supportive environment. Because they frequently lack finances, educational opportunities, and positive role models, children who live in poverty are more likely to exhibit delinquent conduct. Crimes like smuggling and murder are typically committed in groups by children, and it is more common for children from urban areas, low-income families, or homeless or illiterate children to commit such crimes.

Such crimes can also result from parental negligence in the formative years of a child's life. Another element that can contribute to adolescent delinquency is a lack of parental supervision. Youngsters who lack parental guidance and support may act out in a delinquent manner to get attention or feel like they have some control over their lives. In addition, delinquent behaviour may be more likely to occur in kids who endure neglect or abuse. Like this, kids from broken households may behave more delinquent since they lack a stable and supportive environment. Domestic violence, substance addiction, or parental neglect are all risk factors for delinquent conduct in children. Like in single-parent homes, where there is no father figure to serve as a positive role model or source of inspiration, there is a high rate of adolescent criminality as a result of carelessness, particularly among boys. Compared to girls, boys are more likely to commit crimes. Social and cultural influences such as racism, prejudice, and socioeconomic disparity are examples of cultural and societal issues that can influence young people's delinquent conduct.

In addition, the digital age has exposed young people to new dangers including cyberbullying and online predators. Young people can be exposed to hazardous content and unfavourable influences on social media and other online platforms, which may lead to criminal activity. Bullying can have long-term detrimental impacts on mental health and well-being, and it increases the likelihood that delinquent behaviour will be committed by bullied children. To stop delinquent conduct, schools and communities can adopt anti-bullying initiatives and offer services to those who have been bullied. Youngsters who struggle in school or do not have access to education may resort to delinquent behaviour as a means of getting what they need.


Psychological Causes

Another element that contributes to juvenile delinquency is mental health issues. Children with mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, or ADHD are more prone to act criminally. Another element that relates to juvenile misbehaviour is exposure to violence. Youngsters are more likely to participate in delinquent behaviour if they observe or experience violence in their homes or communities. Another risk factor for juvenile delinquency is exposure to violence, whether it occurs at home or in the community. Violence can cause mental health problems in children, such as PTSD, anxiety, or depression, which can lead to delinquent conduct.

Children that experienced early childhood trauma may exhibit violent behaviour that results in crime. Teenagers may occasionally exhibit such violent behaviour because of their inability to deal with difficulties they may also occasionally lack self-control and make poor decisions and they may suffer from mental illness and commit crimes; and, if given the correct care and support, may become very violent. In the absence of a properly functioning prefrontal cortex, adolescents use the amygdala, which increases impulsive behaviour. If proper treatment and counselling are not provided, such children may commit violent crimes in the future. Playing violent video games also makes kids more abrasive and emotionless. Children with schizophrenia, hallucinations, and psychopathy may struggle to maintain self-control in certain situations.

The prevention of juvenile delinquency is equally important. Providing young people with opportunities for jobs and education, safe environments, and positive role models may help them stay out of trouble in the first place. In addition, strengthening family bonds and encouraging community involvement can help stop juvenile crime.[2]


CURRENT REFORMATION PROGRAMME FOR JUVENILE

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act was introduced in 2015 to further reform the conditions of juveniles in the country by giving them a safe environment. Some of the major reforms are:

Section 18 allows a child to go home after advice and admonition by following appropriate inquiry, directing the child to participate in group counselling, ordering children to do community service under the supervision of the organization; children with good conduct to be released, directing the child to be sent to special home aiming to reform the child and apply reformative service like therapy, psychiatric support, undergoing addiction programme, etc.

According to Section 9, the Children Court ensures that children in conflict with the law are sent to special places of safety until they reach age 20 and go to prison which will provide special alternative therapy and counselling and behaviour modification therapy and psychiatric support during the stay.

According to Section 8(2), conducting an inquiry for declaring fit persons regarding the care of children is in conflict with the law. In conducting, at least one inspection visit every month of residential facilities for children in conflict with the law and recommend action for improvement in quality of services to the District Child Protection Unit and the State Government. Under this Act or any other law for the time being in force, on a complaint made and conducting regular inspection of jails meant for adults to check if any child is lodged in such jails and take immediate measures for the transfer of such a child to the observation home, and any other function as may be prescribed.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 expanded the concept of "Child in Need of Care and Protection" by taking into account the following factors, among the many others listed in Section 2(14) of the act. People whose parents or guardians are/were unable of caring for the child. People who are or have been caught undertaking illegal labour-related tasks. Those who are about to get married before reaching the specified legal age.

The approach to juveniles should be different from that of adults. Therefore, the Juvenile Justice (care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which was the new act, centered on an approach to adjudication and resolution of cases that was friendly to juveniles. The definition of a child is provided in Section 2 (12) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which states that a child is someone who has not reached the age of 18 or is younger than 18.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015's Section 2 (13) refers to a "Child in conflict with law" and the Act's definition of "Child" is "Child in need of care and protection.” The various aspects of offenses were clearly distinguished, leading to the creation of classifications designating the offenses as heinous, serious, and minor. If any requirements of any kind have been set for juveniles between the ages of 16 and 18, they have been made.

As soon as a child alleged to be in conflict with the law is apprehended by the police, such child shall be placed under the charge of the special juvenile police unit or the designated child welfare police officer, who shall produce the child before the Board without any loss of time but within a period of twenty-four hours of apprehending the child excluding the time necessary for the journey, from the place where such child was apprehended.[3]


ROLE OF COUNSELLORS AND MENTAL HEALTH EXPERTS IN PREVENTING JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

Counselling has the potential to be a powerful tool in the fight against adolescent crime. Youngsters who struggle with mental health conditions like depression or anxiety are more prone to act out criminally. Through counselling, these kids can get the assistance and direction they need to deal with their mental health problems and stay out of trouble. Treatment for mental illness and substance abuse, taking care of mental illness and substance abuse problems might help stop the delinquent behaviour linked to these problems.

Giving pupils access to mental health treatments is one method that schools might deter juvenile misbehavior. Youngsters who struggle with mental health conditions like depression or anxiety are more prone to act out criminally. Schools can aid in the prevention of delinquent conduct and the promotion of healthy development by giving kids access to counselling services. Another efficient strategy to stop teenage crime is mentoring. Youngsters are less prone to act in a delinquent manner when they have favourable adult role models. Mentors can offer young people guidance and support, as well as a sense of belonging and purpose. Mental health treatment can assist young people in learning effective techniques for handling stress, anxiety, and other challenging emotions that could otherwise result in antisocial conduct.[4]


CONCLUSION

A critical problem that impacts many communities worldwide is juvenile delinquency. There are numerous causes of it, but there are also numerous preventative and mitigating measures. We can make communities safer and more profitable for everyone by addressing the underlying causes of juvenile misbehavior and giving kids the help they require.

A comprehensive strategy that encompasses schools, communities, families, law enforcement, and education is needed to prevent and reduce juvenile delinquency. We can prevent and lessen juvenile delinquency by giving children positive role models, chances for constructive social interaction, tackling gun violence and bullying, involving young people in the conversation and parental participation, mentorship, law enforcement, and education. The prevention of adolescent delinquency depends on early intervention. Figuring out can prevent and lessen juvenile delinquency by giving children positive role models, chances for constructive social interaction, tackling gun violence and bullying, involving young people in the conversation and parental participation, mentorship, law enforcement, and education.

The prevention of adolescent delinquency depends on early intervention. Early risk factor detection and intervention can help stop delinquent conduct before it even occurs. Early intervention and prevention of adolescent delinquency can be accomplished through education, therapy, and mentoring. Thus, we can draw the conclusion that juvenile delinquency is a serious issue, not just from a sociological perspective but also from a legal one. By offering the best corrective care possible, we can reform not only society but also the children who committed the crime together. In doing so, we can create a better society that values all children and places more emphasis on reforming them than simply punishing them. Together, we can build a better future for our children and our neighbourhood.


REFERENCES [1] Bill which seeks to strengthen protection of children and streamline adoption process passed in Lok Sabha | India News,The Indian Express https://www.hindustantimes.com/india/40-of-juvenile-delinquents-in-homes-worse-than-jails-sc/story-CaWUMuIS7VZrqTqWovpB8J.html [2] CN Shankar Rao, Principles of Sociology with an Introduction to Sociological Thought,S.Chand [3] The Juvenal Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 [4] CN Shankar Rao, Principles of Sociology with an Introduction to Sociological Thought,S.Chand

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