The Reasons Why Do Children Commit Crimes
Often when children commit crime there is a deeper reason than them just being ‘evil’. Often there may be aspects of their upbringing, surroundings and mental health that can cause young people to commit crimes. This may mean that the cause for their crime may not be any fault of their own potentially changing whether they should be personally convicted and punished for suffering unfortunate circumstances that lead to their mistakes. There are differing opinions on this as often conviction can also help these disadvantaged youths and some feel that despite personal circumstances that it is still the offender’s responsibility to accept the consequences for their actions.
One reason why a child may commit a criminal offense is due to their upbringing. If a child faces neglect or domestic abuse in their daily lives this can lead to increased anger which can lead to violent crimes. This can also lead to children trying to stay away from their homes or running away from their homes to avoid the abuse they face which can further lead to crimes on the streets such as stealing food to be able to eat enough to live. In cases such as these is it fair to let these children who have already faced extremely traumatic circumstances that are no fault of their own face further punishment and trauma rather than helping them get back on their feet.
Another reason a child may commit a criminal offence is due to them facing mental health problems. If a child faces a mental illness such as psychopathy, sociopathy or an anger disorder they may not be able to be empathetic or be able to control or understand the consequences of their criminal actions. Also, if a child is suffering from depression or anxiety they may turn to illegal drugs or be easily manipulated by people to commit crime. Once again, should we further punish these already suffering children by convicting them.
A third cause for criminal activity amongst young people which decreases their responsibility is living with family who have been or are involved with criminal activity for example parents or older siblings who have been or are incarcerated. This can cause crime as if these are the role models that the young people have, they are also likely to commit crime and have low aspirations to earn money and possession through hard work e.g. education. This can lead to absence from school which gives young people more free time to commit crime. Should the child be prosecuted if they have committed these acts based on the poor socialisation shown by their close family.
A final factor that can cause youths to commit criminal offences is peer pressure within education. If children become associated with individuals who commit criminal acts they may be manipulated or encouraged to join in with these acts especially if the other individual is older or more popular than them. Once these vulnerable individuals become linked to criminal offenders they may be bullied or threatened if they do not participate in criminal activity. Should these people be punished for acting to avoid potentially being emotionally or physically hurt themselves.
However, some would argue that despite these circumstances that in the majority of cases, conviction should occur. One reason for this is that if young people facing such extreme circumstances as spoken about before are convicted, they could receive help to get themselves out of these circumstances and into better crime free lives. If these people aren’t convicted then they will continue to go through harsh circumstances and will be more likely to continue down a criminal path.
Finally, some would argue that although young people are going through extreme circumstances that they should be responsible and find other ways than crime to deal with these. These people would argue that if someone has committed a crime, no matter the reason, that they should face the consequences and learn from their mistakes. There are many people who go through harsh circumstances who try to live better lives than the people surrounding them and do not go into crime so why should people who don’t do this be let off.
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