How the lack and changes of education caused and effected children into having bad habits such as: joining gangs, doing drugs, and committing other more crimes?
LACK OF EDUCATION AND CHILDREN IN CRIME
This paper talks about the correlation between lack of education and crime in juveniles and children. Though there may be numerous reasons for why children and minors are pushed into a life of crime, but research shows that a lack of education is among the primary. In fact, most juvenile inmates incarcerated in prisons have, for sure, some sort of poor academic record, and a history of suspension and expulsion.
The paper looks into the reasons of high rates of suspension and expulsion in the country, how they are aided by unjust policies, and how, in turn, they aide the rise of crime in juveniles. The state of education in prions has also been discussed. Additionally, recommendations have been made for improving the criminal justice and public education system to deter crime in youths.
Keywords: public education, crime, juvenile delinquents, lack of education, prisons
In the recent years, there has been a boom in what is said to be a new class of criminals: juvenile delinquents, or minors who commit crimes. There have been numerous researches conducted on the mechanics of the how and they why of children’s involvement in crime, but the suggestions always seem to fall short of reality.
There are numerous reasons why children are pushed into crime: financial need, born into an abusive household, and bad company. However, there is one factor that has been given less importance consistently: education. A child might not have access to basic, practical education due to his or her upbringing, or the style and place of education as well. However, this lack on the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, legal and illegal is what has led many children towards crime from a young age.
Additionally, the fault lies not only in the house, but also at the state level, where courts punish juvenile delinquents regularly. Early juvenile courts were of the opinion that minor offenders should be tried and sentenced to the same punishments as adult offenders. However, the thought school was abolished in favour of the rehab and reformation model, which concentrated on re-educating delinquents to make something of their lives. Furthermore, in 2005, the United States Supreme Court also abolished the death penalty for all minor offenders, thus creating an opportunity for reformation all across the country.
The system. However, can be considered as flawed as the people it is supposed to treat. This paper will list some ideas and opinions on how lack of education is what pushes juveniles into crime, particularly drugs, gangs and other such organized activities. Additionally, it will aim at providing suggestions to improve the situation on the education front. It will also point out flaws in juvenile education, thus rounding out the subject.
Education has been called the most cost effective way to prevent crime and its increase. One who invests in the education of a child would be saving him from a lifetime of delinquency CITATION Dol12 l 16393 (Dolan, 2012). However, according to 2008 study by the Human Rights Council, the ineptitude of the public education system is what has largely contributed to the increase in numbers of juvenile delinquents in the country. One of the major reasons for the suspension, expulsion and the subsequent dropping out of students are the stringent policies in public schools, which spurn inequality and tension. For example, ever since the Gun-Free schools Act was brought into action in 1994, the amount of funding levied to public schools was decided on the basis of the number and nature of anti-gun policies a school had in place. This led to an increase in the number mandatory expulsion policies at the time. However, the policies have since been twisted into ways to discriminate between students: a large number of students have reported being suspended under the policies, but who admitted to being involved in no direct crime at all. Between 2000 and 2004 alone, the country saw a 9% increase in suspension and a 7% increase in expulsion CITATION Wei08 l 16393 (Weissman, et al., 2008) CITATION Nat1 l 16393 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007).
Suspensions and expulsions have not increased the dropout rate in schools, but the presence of police on school grounds has also led to an increase in the number of student arrests, even for matters that would have been handled with some sort of disciplinary action from the school administration. The data from U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights shows that the situation has led to students of colour being grossly disadvantaged. The official data puts the number of coloured students in American schools to be around 42%. However, of the total population expelled from school, 58% were students of colour, and comprised by students of the black, Latino, Asian-American and Native American communities CITATION Off06 l 16393 (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2006) CITATION Wei08 l 16393 (Weissman, et al., 2008).
The numbers also spell a clear distinction between African-Americans and the rest of the student body that was expelled. 17% of the total students in the country are comprised by students of the African-American community. However, the percentage is 35 for students expelled, and the same for the number of students suspended CITATION Wei08 l 16393 (Weissman, et al., 2008).
This lack of education, coupled with the obvious discrimination against students of one particular community is a predominant characteristic among juvenile offenders. 56% of African American juvenile offenders reported that they had been expelled or suspended from school. Similarly, a student who had dropped out of school has is 3.5 times more likely to be incarcerated in his lifetime than a student who has not CITATION Off06 l 16393 (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2006).
Despite the obvious correlation between education and crime, wherein a proper education results in a lower rate of recidivism, there are many ways in which the federal government has failed to provide public schools with enough funding to keep operating. Statistics have further supported this claim. In the federal court, the percentage of juveniles who were released from prison and who had a college degree was 77%, as against the 30.5 percent who were released and had only a high school diploma CITATION Has11 l 16393 (Hashimoto, 2011).
Another study, published in the International Journal of Behavioural Development said that boys and girls who stayed in school throughout their adolescence had a much less chance of steering towards crime later in life. The students who dropped out, however, were more likely to be underdeveloped and have issues with control, which made them more susceptible to activities promoting crime CITATION Hen99 l 16393 (Henry, Caspi, Moffitt, Harrington, & Silva, 1999).
Despite the data, however, research says that illiteracy and a poor academic report card are not only the direct factors that steer a child towards crime. They do, however, eventually push a child towards crime because of his or her lack of being able to earn properly. Most incarcerated juveniles have at least marginal literary capabilities, and lag behind their years by a year or two. In fact, 15.5 percent of juveniles had the academic knowledge of that of a fourth grade child CITATION The15 l 16393 (The National Center on Education, Disability and Juvenile Justice, n.d.).
Despite there being good evidence of a direct relation between literary skills and pro-social outcomes, there is a stark lack of support and funds from the government when it comes to funding juvenile education centres. It may also be the case that since the criminal justice system is underfunded on the whole, education juveniles does not seem to be a priority when the whole system is competing for funds CITATION Nat1 l 16393 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007).
The school quality of the education being received by juveniles in prison is questionable at best too. Data indicates that the quality of education in prisons is average at best, with 51 percent of participants saying that it is good, whereas 49% say that is bad. The facility education programs are perceived to be the poorest by 42% students in juvenile correctional facilities. However, 66% those housed in juvenile residential facilities report that the facility education programs were good CITATION Rea11 l 16393 (Read & O’Cummings, 2011) CITATION USD101 l 16393 (U.S. Department of Education, 2010).
The report card of student achievements and outcomes too leaves a lot to be desired. Records indicate that 20% of the students who enter a correctional facility do not enrol into school at all, despite the fact that they do not even have secondary education. Only 40% attained their high school credits after enrolling into school in prison, and one third got accepted into local schools after being released. However, over two thirds of students reported an improvement in their reading abilities and maths, with the number being 68% for the former and 69% for the latter CITATION Rea11 l 16393 (Read & O’Cummings, 2011) CITATION USD101 l 16393 (U.S. Department of Education, 2010).
The data mentioned in the paper clearly demonstrates how lacking the public education system in the country is. While the road to correcting the same is a long and tiring one, efforts can be made from the grassroots level, that is, from the family unit itself. Parents and guardians should focus on educating their children as far and for as long as possible. Despite a lack of funds, the family unit can look into state administered care and services that ensure that their child has a proper, educated future.
Another change needs to be brought about at the school level, where discrimination among students, unjustified policies, suspensions and expulsions lead to a large number of students dropping out, and thus turning towards a life of crime. School policies should always be monitored and approved by a higher authority to ensure that they do not disadvantage students from any community. Additionally, a fair, just redressal system should be in place to take complaints from students who do report bring expelled or suspended for no valid reason. Finally, regardless of the community, colour, caste and creed of the perpetrator of the report, strict disciplinary actions should be taken against schools that show a repeated and rampant increase in the number of students who have been expelled without a valid reason.
At the correctional level, measures should be taken to promote education among students. There should be a varied range of courses as far as the funds allow, and the treatment of the juveniles should be good and respectable, so they do not feel alienated and humiliated. This kind of positive motivation will help in not only an educational, but also in attitudinal turnaround in students.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Dolan, K. (2012). Juvenile Crime: Using Education as a tool for Prevention, Intervention and Socialization. WIDENER JOURNAL OF LAW, ECONOMICS & RACE, 105-125.
Hashimoto, E. J. (2011). Class Matters . Journal of Criminal Law and Psychology , 101.
Henry, B., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., Harrington, H., & Silva, P. (1999). Staying in School Protects Boys with Poor Self-regulation in Childhood from Later Crime: A Longitudinal Study. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 1049-1073.
National Center for Education Statistics. (2007). Digest of Education Statistics. Washington: U.S. Department of Education.
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (2006). Juvenile Offenders and Victims 2006 National Report. Washington: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs.
Read, N. W., & O’Cummings, M. (2011). Factsheet: Juvenile Justice Education. Washington DC: National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At Risk .
The National Center on Education, Disability and Juvenile Justice. (n.d.). Juvenile Correctional Education Programs. Retrieved December 2, 2015, from edjj.org: http://www.edjj.org/focus/education/
U.S. Department of Education. (2010). Consolidated State Performance Reports. Washington DC: U.S. Department of Education.
Weissman, M., Cregor, M., Gainsborough, J., Kief, N., Leone, P., & Elizabeth, S. (2008). The Right to Education in the Juvenile and Criminal Justice Systems in the United States . Dignity in Schools Campaign .
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