Increase funding in after-school enrichment programs
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Juvenile Delinquency is a problem affecting many of America's poorest and socioeconomically displaced youth. Inner city neighborhood children are the most affected due to the low-income rate and the lack of guidance from the school (dependent on the quality of education these children receive).
Juvenile crime stems from a spectrum of sources. Ranging from educational to socioeconomic problems, these inhibitors push the youth of the United States further into the abyss of delinquency. Low-quality education is found to be one of the leading causes of delinquency at a very young age. The Regis University Department of Criminology claims from a twenty-five year long study conducted by the Institute of Education Studies,
A 25-year long study of 1500 children in low-income inner-city Chicago neighborhoods found that children who attended a high-quality preschool were 28% less likely to develop drug problems or be incarcerated in adulthood. Additionally, they were 22% less likely to be arrested for a felony and 24% more likely to attend a four-year college(Regis University, 2014)
Chicago is one of the largest cities in the United States, more so it is known for its nefariously high criminal rate and expansive gang networks that haunt the inner-city streets. The crime in this city stems from the poor education the young people receive. Implying students who receive poor education are more likely to develop drug problems or other criminal habits. Aside from developing harrowing criminal habits, the inner-city student’s high-quality preschool education lessens the risk of felony and heightens the likelihood of college attendance. Giving children a good-quality form of education may determine their outcome in the future, however not many cannot afford such higher quality studies. Thus expanding the juvenile crime spiral.
Aside from poor education expanding the juvenile spiral, low socioeconomic status poses a higher contributor to the expansion of crime. It is believed that low socioeconomic status pushes the young to devolve into a life of crime in order to support themselves or family. Benjamin Harris and Melissa Kearney published a journal titled “The Unequal Burden of Crime and Incarceration on America’s Poor” that studies the disproportionate effects of crime in the lower socioeconomic bracket of the United States and where it stems from. “Rates of crime and incarceration disproportionately impact low-income and minority communities and contribute to the social marginalization of the poor...and an additional 30 percent have sufficiently low income that they live with many of the same stressors that come from being poor.” (Harris, 2014) Families that cannot support themselves have increased psychological stress because they worry that they (the parents) cannot support their own children. Thus forcing the children to take matters in their own hands and commit crimes to help support the family. The poorest of America are more likely to commit crime, thus placing a burden in these low-income families. A life of crime only elicits negative effects, as the risk of incarceration and prison ensues. Being incarcerated for criminal activity as a juvenile leaves a permanent record of the offense, which may be used to do a background check when applying for a job. Criminal activity has more consequences than incarceration or jail time, it has a more lifelong threat: psychological trauma.
Yes, not every family can afford higher education or assistance, but I am proposing for the Los Angeles City Council, District 28 Representative Adam Schiff, and Mayor Eric Garcetti to increase funding in after school programs because they are a greater alternative to committing crimes or developing harrowing habits (like drug abuse). After school programs like LA's Best or the ones schools provides should receive increased funding in order to help socioeconomically displaced children find assistance and guidance. The increased funding will help these students stray away from crime as they will be offered alternatives like sports, music, tutoring, guidance, etc. These will be made accessible to children who need the after school assistance.
Juvenile Delinquency will be reduced at a far greater rate than keeping children in juvenile hall where they do not learn skills that a child outside of juvenile hall may learn.
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