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Characteristics of a Juvenile Delinquent

Kristi graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Human Development and Developmental Psychopathology of Children.


©copyright ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2012

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characteristics-of-a-juvenile-delinquent

By Definition

A juvenile delinquent is a person under the age of 18 who has committed a crime and has been taken into custody, charged and adjudicated for that crime. Juveniles can be charged as adults for more serious crimes depending on state laws, prior convictions and the severity of the crimes committed.

Adjudication is the equivalent of conviction for the juvenile justice system. Once an offender has been adjudicated, he or she will be given a disposition. However, if the offender has committed a more serious crime, has prior offenses or falls into a statutory exclusion category, then an entirely different set of rules may apply.

The End of the Child

All states have criteria which define the parameters by which juveniles will be dealt with in the legal system. They are defined as Transfer Laws.

  • Judicial Waiver Laws allow for a waiver to be filed in juvenile court and with the judge's approval and a formal hearing, they will be transferred to criminal prosecution. Waiver to criminal court in these cases is at the discretion of the judge.
  • Prosecutorial Discretion Laws are different in that it is entirely up to the prosecutor to determine whether or not to proceed in a juvenile or criminal court. Often prosecutors have total discretion and are not required to disclose any information to the defendant. There is no hearing, evidentiary record, and the defendant is not required to be notified as to which course of action is being taken.
  • Concurrent Jurisdiction Laws are similar in that the defendant may be charged in either a juvenile or criminal court based on the concurrent jurisdictional laws. They are not required to be informed about their charges and all decisions are entrusted to the prosecutor. In 13 states, juveniles become criminally accountable between the ages of 15-17 because of jurisdictional age laws.
  • Statutory Exclusion Laws allow criminal courts exclusive jurisdiction over juveniles if the alleged offense falls within a statutory exclusion category. It will be filed in a criminal court and will entirely surpass all juvenile proceedings. This means that if a child of a specific age commits a certain crime, he or she will no longer be considered a "delinquent child" because he or she will be termed "criminal" and will be handled in criminal proceedings. The overwhelming problem with statutory exclusion laws is that they are very different from state to state.
  • "Once adult always adult" Laws that require the criminal prosecution of any juvenile who has previously been waived and prosecuted by the criminal court system. Most of these laws, which are carried in nearly every state, are comprehensive.
  • Reverse Waiver Laws allow juveniles who are being prosecuted in criminal courts to petition their cases to be heard by juvenile courts. While this is seen as a corrective mechanism, there are only 24 states that currently allow the reverse waiver to be used. When it is enacted, the burden of proof is transferred to the juvenile. Reverse waiver laws are often very limited in their availability.
characteristics-of-a-juvenile-delinquent

How Did They Get Here?

There are a multitude of characteristics that help identify a juvenile delinquent. Children will likely engage in careless acts as children often do. However, experts agree that when many of these indicators are present, the risk for offending or becoming a "juvenile delinquent" is extremely high.

Some factors are based solely on the child and the family while others are outside influences such as community, school and peers. It's important to understand that most of a child's socialization comes from the family. If the family is not intact, alternative bonds will be formed whether they be with other family members, friends, gangs or other negative outside influences. Many communities offer youth outreach programs for kids and crime rates amongst the juvenile population have dropped significantly since their peak in 1994. See OJJPD.

Statistical Evidence

In 1998, 40 Major counties across the United States were examined.

  • 7,100 juveniles were criminally processed for felonies.
  • Less than 25% of those cases reached criminal courts through judicial waiver.
  • The most common was statutory exclusion cases at 42%.
  • Prosecutorial directly filed cases came in a close second at 35%
  • The charges range from robbery 31%, assault 21%, drug trafficking 11% and burglary 8%.
  • Defendants were 96% male and 62% black.

Data courtesy of Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention 2011



Family

  • Dysfunctional parenting
  • Physical abuse
  • Neglect
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse/other abuse
  • Parental criminal activity
  • Poor family bonding/monitoring
  • Failure to thrive syndrome
  • Siblings with antisocial behaviors
  • Latchkey kids
  • Broken home, divorce, domestic abuse
  • Poverty
  • Young mothers
  • Parental criminal activity
  • Poor role models

Courtesy of YOU TUBE

Community

  • Glorification of violence in the media
  • Unemployment rates
  • Poverty
  • Exposure to community violence
  • Availability of weapons and substances in community
  • Sense of insecurity within the neighborhood

Courtesy of YOU TUBE

Individual Antisocial Behaviors

  • Existing mental illness
  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Fighting
  • Vandalism and tagging
  • Substance abuse
  • Illegal gun/weapon possession
  • Hate crimes
  • Early sexual involvement
  • Prostitution
  • Teen pregnancy and teen parenting
  • Destruction of property

Peer

  • Gang involvement
  • Peer pressure
  • Peer rejection

School

  • Truancy and dropout
  • Suspension and expulsion
  • Learning disabilities and negative labeling
  • Frequent school transitions
characteristics-of-a-juvenile-delinquent

Problems

There are a number of problems with the juvenile justice system. Currently there is not a consistent method of transitioning and waiving cases from the juvenile courts into criminal courts from state to state. Since prosecutorial discretion laws are used more often, it's reasonable that there should also be a systematic means of transition and categorization for which crimes, prior offenses and situational characteristics must exist before a juvenile is simply tried as an adult. This is especially important since the prosecutorial discretion laws are silent in nature and do not require the prosecutor to disclose anything to the juvenile. According to data collected by the US Department of Justice, transferred juveniles are more than twice as likely to be convicted of violent crimes than adult felons.

The biggest problems may lie in the fact that of the 50 states that prosecute juvenile offenders into criminal courts, only 13 states publicly report all of their criminal transfer information. Of the 46 states that have judicial waiver laws, only 20 report annual waivers publicly and 13 report all waivers to the National juvenile Court Data Archive.

There are 29 states that have statutory exclusion laws which require criminal prosecution. Only 2 of these states publicly report the total number of exclusions and 5 report all criminal prosecution cases but do not specify the type of transfer mechanism which was used.

Of the 15 states with prosecutorial discretion laws, only 1 publicly reports it's total cases prosecuted by the prosecutor's discretion and 4 others report all cases prosecuted but do not individuate.

The biggest problem is that there is far too much information missing to make an accurate summation about what is working and what is failing. The Department of Justice claims that there has been a significant drop in juvenile crime since 1994. They would like to attribute it to the waiver laws and the ability of courts to use blended sentencing methods which means that a juvenile would receive a criminal sentence and it would be suspended at the time of sentencing. The reality is, the absolute lack of data gives no real view of what's working and what's not. There are too many states not reporting and states that are reporting partial information. If there was a method for every adjudication or sentencing to be followed up with a simple form that could be sent to the DOJ (Department of Justice) it would allow a better view of how cases are being handled.

It's also critical to be able to have a snapshot of six months, one year, two years after the youth has been disposed or sentenced, and know where their life has taken them. This type of information would be easy to collect for persons who are in some form of custodial care such as, lock down, jail, probation or community corrections and it would be extremely helpful in knowing whether or not keeping them in the juvenile system was better or if transferring them to criminal court served them best.

What do you believe?

Comments

Scott Inman from Scranton on June 05, 2018:

I was once one of these children and the system as a whole is broken. When I was apart of the system back in the late 80's I noticed even then that kids who were apart of the system came from broken homes. It takes a lot for a kid to ask an adult for help since even when they are fragile and do not want to be used or hurt.

I feel the system today is even worse. The kids who were in the juvenile hall and even the foster care system are having kids and mentally are not equipped to handle parenthood. I know and agree that every child is different and some need the structure of the jail format. When some are released, they grow accustomed to the rule of typesetting and do things in order to go back.

The revolving door for some starts here, if we are able to help change ones thinking this is where it needs to start. If the child does not get the help they need they can face homelessness and prison time as they get older.

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 09, 2012:

amuno, thank you for reading and responding. I also wonder what will happen to these kiddos. Many of the kids that I've worked with feel that getting out of their situation is hopeless because of the longevity of their family history or lack of education. That was always distressing. Hopefully, we can raise awareness and one by one, reach out for these kiddos. I appreciate your input. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 09, 2012:

Becky, thank you for taking the time to read and reply. I agree. Every case I've ever worked on has had a sad or tragic beginning even if the child came from an affluent home. I found myself shaking my head a lot - wondering how these kiddos made it this far - bless their hearts, they are tough little guys that's for sure.

Every child deserves another chance. If they can make it this far, I say shoot for the moon, right? Thank you for being here. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 09, 2012:

Pamela, thank you for such an excellent comment. You are absolutely correct! I will make that change immediately. I appreciate you pointing that out. It's always great to have another set of eyes.

Schizophrenia in kids is particularly paralyzing. My cousin suffers from schizophrenia and has since he was very young. He refuses medication and medical treatment so as you know, we do the best we can to see to his needs.

As far as kids being locked down for life, I think that each case is different - as different as people are. I'm a believer in rehabilitation. Kids don't have the capacity to understand the full scope of their actions. They don't think things through and have the cause=effect understanding. I'm with you, kids deserve to have a second chance. Thanks again for reading and for your input. -K

Alfred Amuno from Kampala on July 06, 2012:

I see such kids on many times and I wonder what will eventually happen to them. Where I come from, many family suffer from poverty and the degree to which kids can be tamed is reduced. Sometimes you just hope the situation will get better. Thanks for a great hub.

Becky Bruce from San Diego, CA on July 05, 2012:

Very interesting topic to me. Near and dear to my heart as well. Especially since nearly every kid tried for committing some horrible crime has a tragic back-story or negligent/abusive parents. Of course nothing excuses a horrible act but a child is a child and when living in a world of violence and fear, us humans act in some pretty dramatic ways. Especially kids who don't know any better. I don't believe that any kid should be put away for life... but I also realize proper rehabilitation is not available to everyone and if problems are not solved in youth, adulthood doesn't get any better. Great hub, I enjoyed reading your knowledgeable insights :) Voted up, of course!

Pamela Dapples from Arizona. on July 05, 2012:

It doesn't seem right that the teen or child (and I assume the parents) don't even have to be informed of certain things by the prosecutor. It seems all wrong to me that the prosecutor would be the one making the decisions, but then I'm originally from Canada.

I found your hub to be very interesting. One factor that you may have missed in your list of causes and inclinations toward a downward road to delinquency is mental illness. A young man, for instance, suffering from schizophrenia can and usually does self-medicate with drugs. Yes, sometimes the drugs actually bring on the schism and beginnings of mental illness and sometimes vica versa, but either way, the illness causes fear, confusion and a vulnerability so the person is easily entangled in companionships with delinquents. In these cases, quite often there has not been a formal diagnosis prior to a crime being committed especially because a young man suffering from schizophrenia (or young woman) takes great effort to hide their condition. The schizophrenia makes them feel very alienated, scared and isolated. Parents don't usually know for quite awhile what the young person with schizophrenia is actually going through and so the person is all the more vulnerable to influences of possible camaraderie with delinquents.

Thank you for such a well-researched and thought-provoking hub. Voting up and sharing.

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

Hui, Thank you for reading and commenting. It's unfortunate that kids are swept under the rug and pushed aside. They should be treated and rehabilitated - one day they will be running our respective countries. Good to have you here. -K

Hui (蕙) on July 05, 2012:

This is a serious hub, which reminds us something we should care but perhaps forget to. Those videos really shock!

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

My Minds Eye53, I agree with you. Each child is different and will handle situations in very different ways. My situation is similar to yours. Congratulations on being one of the success stories! Thank you for reading and commenting. -K

Maude Keating from Tennessee on July 05, 2012:

My apologies, I missed congratulating you! Well done.

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

spartucus, Thank you! I appreciate it!

Maude Keating from Tennessee on July 05, 2012:

It is hard to say how to handle it, every kid is different. According to the family list, I should have been a delinquent. I was not, but my brother was. They tried everything they knew to try to help him, but he never saw anything as his fault.

Voted up

CJ Baker from Parts Unknown on July 05, 2012:

Congrats on the hub of the day! Greatly deserved!

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

WhydThatHappen, Thank you for reading and for the compliment. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

nmdonders, You make an excellent point that case workers need to have a temperament that is built to work with children in need. I don't believe that everyone has the ability to work with troubled kids. I'm in agreement with you that rehabilitation is the answer as opposed to incarceration. Warehousing kids has proven to turn kids into career criminals. Thank you for the great comment and for reading. -K

WhydThatHappen on July 05, 2012:

Good hub!

Nira Perkins on July 05, 2012:

This Hub has a lot of great facts and I'm glad to see that people are writing about it. It's true that the family dynamics play a huge role in a child's behavior and future bonds or paths they take in life. It's also important that qualified people are caring for them when they come to the Foster home stage. Case managers and anyone else dealing with "troubled youths" should be kind, respective, caring, qualified, and understanding. They need to be there to help and care about what they are doing. This makes a world of difference and can change a person's life around. When individuals lack family support during childhood, society needs to take a break from figuring out punishments and show them some support and guidance.

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

Mandy, thank you for reading and replying. I'm familiar with CD. It's particularly difficult for kids. I address it in another hub I wrote. CD kids have a lot more difficulty staying in the mainstream in school - as you well know. The hardest part for me with CD kiddos is that they started out as victims and the CD is reactionary. Great to have you. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

Jenna, thank you for reading and replying. You are right, when things go wrong at home, there's an 80% chance that they will have a breakdown or failure in all other areas of their lives. Having a strong family bond is critical, regardless of the demographics. Glad you stopped by. -K

Mandy11111 on July 05, 2012:

As a former foster care case manager, I have worked with many juvenile delinquents. The most current term to describe this behavior is conduct disorder. Many foster children suffer from this disorder which is characterized by violent antisocial acts. It is very unfortunate as most have had such sad lives and terrible things happen to them. Thanks for bringing attention to this issue.

Jenna Pope from Southern California on July 05, 2012:

Great Hub, but sad. So much of a child's outcome in life depends upon the family. When that fails, so does the child.

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

Thank you Riverfish! Yay.

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

Mathew, thank you for taking the time to read and for commenting. I do mention poverty as both family and community issues. I didn't address envy. But I did address violence in the media. I agree that kids emulate what they see every day and that the movement towards liberalism is deteriorating values is a huge problem. I appreciate your input. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

BobbiRant, you're right. Our laws are set up right now to be more severe in order to deter kids (and adults) from committing crimes however they do the exact opposite by filling prisons beyond their maximum capacities. Studies show that rehabilitation is far more effective than incarceration. I'm just not sure anyone is listening. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate you being here. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

cardelean, I'm sure you can, with a fair amount of accuracy, make a list of the kids who will end up either in trouble, being arrested, getting pregnant or being locked down. Because you have a lot of experience with them and know them well. It's sad to watch and be helpless. I appreciate you reading and commenting. Glad you are here. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

breathe2travel, ha ha ha, yes, Had a White Christmas flashback for a moment. Thank you for reading and for your recognition. Great to have you here. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

Janine, thank you for reading and replying. I appreciate your recognition and for sharing and voting! -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

iTommyGuns, thank you for reading and for your input. You are certainly not alone in dealing with peer pressure. You were just lucky enough to get out. I agree that all kids will make mistakes but without proper guidance, it's not uncommon for them to miss the "right path". Great to have you here. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

Jeff, thank you for reading and for the wonderful compliment. I always hope to provide clarity and good information. I'm pleased that you feel I've done that. I appreciate your input. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

kelly, thank you reading and for commenting. I appreciate your input about my method of writing as well. It' always good to know if it's easy to read and understand. Great to have you here. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

jpmc, thank you for taking the time to read and reply. The family is responsible (whether they realize or not) for 95%+ of the child's socialization so if there is a breakdown or failure at home, you can predict that the child will have trouble later in life. Glad to have your input. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on July 05, 2012:

tsmog, thank you for reading and for making me laugh. There isn't anything about working with kids that I would change, given the chance. Even on the most difficult days there was always a child with a smile that broke down the "walls of my life" so to speak. I appreciate you taking the time to send me such a thoughtful comment. You brightened my day. -K

Riverfish24 from United States on July 05, 2012:

Congrats K on HOTD!

Matthew Weese from Auburn on July 05, 2012:

forgot social acceptance, if a child is from a family of lower income, the community tends to give them their scarlet letter and out casts them from the community, not just the child but the whole family, a child seeing what every one else has and not being able to have it gives that child a unstoppable drive to acquire what it is that every one has that makes them cool, you forgot envy. Capitalism is responsible for 95 % of the crime in this country....There is also gangster rap, funny as it may sound I have been locked up with African Americans, and whites that wanted to be African Americans, and I have witnessed the gangster mentality, I watched theses kids, and some grown men stand in front of B.E.T./M.T.V for nine hours a day, they then would walk away from the television talking, acting, and truly believing they were the biggest thugs in the world. A criminal is raised in a country of crime, this country was not founded, it was stolen, and backed by murder, by rape, ext....See when you build a house on an unstable foundation what do you expect but for the house to shake and weaken the boards.

BobbiRant from New York on July 05, 2012:

Prisons, including kid prisons are big business. Change that fact, maybe less would be in jails.

cardelean from Michigan on July 05, 2012:

Very well written and informative hub krsharp05. Unfortunately I see this every day in the school system that I teach in. There is such a disconnect with so many of the kids in our building and I can see that many of the kids that we see every day will probably become one of these statistics. Nicely done and congrats on your hub of the day!

Heidi from Gulf Coast, USA on July 05, 2012:

Although it's been said many times and many ways -- excellent job. (Did you hear Bing Crosby for a moment?)

Voting up, interesting & useful.

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on July 05, 2012:

Have to agree with the masses. Very well written and researched. Congrats on the HOTD, very well deserved. Sharing and voting up too.

TommyGuns from Blakeslee, PA on July 05, 2012:

Peer pressure did me in when I was a teen. As soon as I realized it I moved away and stayed away. Good kids always do bad things, it's part of growing up and learning.

Jeff Gamble from Denton, Texas on July 05, 2012:

Fabulous article Kristi, very well done, this is a great guide to identifying and preventing problems with our kids

kelleyward on July 05, 2012:

This is such an interesting hub. I like how you included So many details in order to allow the reader to form their own opinion. I'm now interested in finding out more about the system. Congrats on HOTD! Kelley

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on July 05, 2012:

This is really informative. Providing care for our children is very important. The family especially the parents have a huge responsibility when it comes to rearing the kids.

Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on July 05, 2012:

I just got a little nudge. Krsharp05. Thank you for not only the information, yet demonstrating it ain't that easy being a helper and a worker. I am glad your direction changed, though really doing the same, only before instead of after.

I thank you for the service you performed, even though not knowing specifics (except punched in the face, ouch) This is a fantastic read. It should be printed and placed on a desk or two. What a gift for those thinking of a career in this area you have given. Thanks for that too.

Okay, this is a mind bender. I am sure glad person's of your demeanor are the ones helping. First, krsharpo5, I offer an apology for my fan mail. I didn't give you the normal speech. I must have been off that day. It is not only nice to meet you but exciting. A very dear friend is an alum of yours, though is a chiropractor. Based on her as a flight instructor I know you just got'a have the same characteristics. But, I got to ask one question. When performing with finely tuned skills did you ever mumble to self, "Toto, I don't think we are in Kansas anymore?" :)

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on June 13, 2012:

Simone, thank you for reading and commenting. It's a lot to take in. I appreciate you taking the time. Kiddos really do soak up everything around them so parents should be cognizant of what's going on.

A terrible and perfect example is the Nick Markowitz (Alpha Dog movie) case. If you ever have spare time, look up the true story. The movie is very close to the true story as well. -K

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on June 13, 2012:

Wow, what an incredible guide. Having known next to nothing about the juvenile justice system before reading this, I've learned a LOT. So many new words and laws to contemplate! Yeesh... some of them seem really tough.

Thanks for sharing your insights on how kids get to this state, as well as the overview of important stats, terms, and processes to consider. This is a very useful resource.

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on June 06, 2012:

CassyLu, my hubby was a JD too but he's a police officer now. It's great that the system worked for your husband. I hope your nephew has someone who will step in and work with him. I'll be thinking about you and him :) Thank you for sharing with me. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on June 06, 2012:

meloncauli, it's a proven fact that 95% of socialization comes from the family - actually it's closer to 98% but who's counting? Kids learn what they see every day. I feel for single parents who can't provide the perfect setting for their kiddos because they have to provide food and shelter - what do you do? Thank you for reading and commenting. -K

CassyLu1981 from Spring Lake, NC on June 05, 2012:

Excellent Hub! My husband was a Juvenile Delinquent. He went through a boot camp and "the system" and it really worked for him. I knew him back when he was naughty (didn't like him much then) but when we found each other again 5 years later we were married within 3 days! I agree all it takes is someone willing to put the time and effort into a kid to help them become a great person. My nephew is going through these hard times right now and I am really hoping my family steps up and teaches him the way to go. Great hub! Voted up and shared :)

meloncauli from UK on June 04, 2012:

Excellent article. I am a great believer that morals and standards set by parents/family goes a long way. Single parents tend to get annihilated in the media here in the UK as a major cause of delinquency. Hopelessness and lack of ambition or goals plays a part too...rising unemployment thus even more poverty within families. Great reading!

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on June 04, 2012:

Teaches, it's very sad information to read and stomach through. Unfortunately the court gives little or no recognition to the parenting background especially if the child falls into the statutory waiver or the prosecutorial discretion laws. Thank you very much for reading. As always, lovely to hear from you. -K

Dianna Mendez on June 04, 2012:

You certainly have done your research on this subject. It was very informative and well written. I would like to see how the court processes these children in regards to parenting background. Your list of reasons for delinquency is a good thought.

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on June 04, 2012:

Billy, thank you for reading and for your input. This article was a toughie! Glad to see you again. -K

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 04, 2012:

Well researched and equally well written. Bravo!

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on June 04, 2012:

You're right greatstuff, I listed it under PEER list. It's a huge part of why kids do the things they do especially if they don't have a strong connection to their family. Thank you for reading and commenting. -K

Mazlan A from Malaysia on June 04, 2012:

Peer pressure is also another reason for kids go astray. This happens all the time. Very well written and well researched article. Good work. Voted up and interesting.

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on June 04, 2012:

Thank you for reading and commenting Robert. I agree that kids need good role models. Studies show that the kids who do end up in criminal courts typically re-offend more often than kids who go through the juvenile system. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on June 04, 2012:

Leahlefler, the numbers are off the charts and the problem is that they are absolutely inaccurate - most likely low. The reverse waiver does exist but it's use is VERY limited. Thank you for your comment and for reading. -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on June 04, 2012:

Spartucus, Thank you for commenting. I have a strong attachment to this particular issue and found it difficult to stop writing :) Glad to have your opinion. -K

Robert Erich from California on June 04, 2012:

I agree with spartucus. Great article with tons of research and facts involved. It is disappointing to see how kids can end up with ruined lives simply because someone didn't put the time into giving them a hand when they were younger. It's so important for people to have the right kinds of role models. Great article!

Leah Lefler from Western New York on June 04, 2012:

Wow, the number of juveniles convicted of felonies in the 1998 statistics is staggering. Childhood crime is such a tragedy - and the predictive factors (abuse, neglect, etc) are heartbreaking. I had never heard of the reverse-waiver before, and am glad there is a venue for some juveniles to request a trial in a juvenile, rather than adult, courtroom.

CJ Baker from Parts Unknown on June 04, 2012:

Very detailed and informative hub. It was a very balanced approach in handling a complex issue.

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