Justice System and Children

By Constance Ndeleko

Juveniles who are living in difficult circumstances are at higher risk of committing delinquency often.

Juvenile delinquency includes all forms of criminal behaviors among young people where the perpetrators and the victims are children or young persons. A delinquent child is a juvenile who has violated the law of the country and if the action is committed by an adult, could result in criminal prosecution.

In the context of Sub-Saharan Africa juvenile delinquency has become a threat to the urban centers and families; with major characteristics of theft, arson, drug trafficking, addiction to commit crimes which altogether have constituted a threat to the general public.

In a bid to enhance care reforms in different countries in Africa, most have opted to foster the care reforms options to ensure children are protected and the best measures are taken in the best interest of the child.

Research has shown that not all crimes committed by children should lead them into institutions. Thus, campaigns on de-institutionalization should be supported to ensure children have alternative measures that will ensure reform in their behaviors. It has also been noted that not all children in the institutions have committed crimes some circumstances have forced these children to be where they are now.

The future prosperity of the Sub-Saharan Africa states depends in large part on the productivity and well-being of young people. Crime, victimization, and justice system responses greatly affect the life prospects of the most vulnerable youth in the restricting their access to ladders of opportunity.

Concentrated poverty and disparities in health, employment, and education create conditions that contribute to both victimization and offending. Juvenile delinquency is driven by the negative consequences of social and economic development, in particular economic crises, political instability and the weakening of major institutions (including the state, system of public education and public assistance, and the family.

Delinquents seemingly experienced more frustrating, less controlling, and less secure relationships with their parents than did non-delinquents. In both societies, delinquents seem relatively less able than non-delinquents to adapt and to discipline themselves to the norms of the school. And in both societies, the delinquents were thrust into marginal social roles and were predisposed or coerced to accept the deviant norms and practices of their delinquent peers amid the rapidly changing context of the urban community

Juvenile infraction is a contemporary social problem in African society that adversely affects the norms and ethical value of societies with potential of making life uncomfortable and dangerous for all citizens. (Dambazua, 2007) Not only does the problem juvenile delinquency affect the victims of the crime; it also affects the juvenile delinquent’s family, future, and society as a whole. (Estevez and Nicholas, 2011)


Perspectives on Juvenile Delinquency in Africa

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