Do After School Activities Reduce Juvenile Crime?
Statement of the Problem
Juvenile crime appears to be one of the biggest social concerns in the US. This phenomenon requires thorough investigation and control in order to provide an adequate social response. There is a need for a certain social action because of the tendency of juvenile crime to transfer into adulthood, leading to negative societal implications. Therefore, the current paper suggests that there is a need for the review of contemporary methods for the research of juvenile crime. Moreover, it proposes an overview of the literature, addressing the impact of school activities on the reduction of juvenile crime rates.
After-school activities is one of the ways to respond to the danger of juvenile crime in recent years. The research suggests that the proposed methodology would increase the ways of impacting the issue. The reason for this is that a comprehensive study of the problem would allow selecting useful methods and omitting those that have no practical impact. There is a presumption that after-school activities can significantly reduce the rates of juvenile crime. Therefore, this statement requires the approval of its validity and reliability.
Moreover, the research provides a review of literature, addressing the issue of juvenile crime. This measure is important in order to trace the general patterns of revealing and combating the problem. The literature review is a critical aspect of any research, as it gives the rational basis for the proposed scientific methodology. Moreover, the performed review exposes efficient and non-efficient methods, addressing the reduction of cases of juvenile crime. One suggests that it gives enough evidence for the selection of valid elements for the discussed methodology.
Furthermore, the final section of the research proposes a methodology designed to reveal critical correlations of the addressed social phenomenon and measures. The methodology proposes the method addressing the issue, and the reasons for its selection and discusses the sample. These measures are important for responding to the research question. The research question of the paper is “Do after school activities decrease the juvenile crime ratio?”
This section provides the literature review connected with the correlation of strategies combating juvenile crime and their actual impact. One presumes that current state of this problem can be characterized as having a wide scope of investigations, which proposes various research methodologies. Among them are those, which achieved a certain success as well as those, which failed. One suggests that a comprehensive analysis of the issue allows to obtain a valid framework for the development of an efficient methodology responding to the research question. Thus, Carter argues that juvenile crime reduction goes along with juvenile justice. The scholar claims that the cases of suspending or expelling students stimulate them towards juvenile recidivism and involvement in the juvenile justice system. Therefore, the society cannot afford continuous repetition of the similar cases, which have a strong correlation with the increase of juvenile crime ratio. Moreover, it should explore additional alternatives addressing the issue, which can strengthen the community and provide an adequate social response.
Furthermore, scholars argue that a typical day of school children has certain hours, which drastically increase the rates of juvenile delinquency. Apparently, such hours are mostly those when children leave school. Thus, the research performed by Fahey revealed that on school days the peak hours, associated with the increase of juvenile delinquency, are between 3 and 6 PM. One presumes that lack of social activity and engagement in various hobbies results that schoolchildren tend to develop criminal behaviors. Thus, Newman, Flynn, Fox, and Christeson claims that during these hours children are more likely to become victims of a violent crime or be in or cause a car crash. Moreover, they can be killed by household or other accidents, get hooked on cigarettes as well as experiment with dangerous drugs. That is why, the study suggests that there is a need for the introduction of afterschool activities and programs. The primary aim of such activities should be to increase the interest in socially productive and self-beneficial activity.
Moreover, the statistics demonstrate that the history of addressing the issue has both productive and non productive proposals for afterschool activities. Thus, Greenwood states that “the past decade researchers have identified intervention strategies and program models that reduce delinquency and promote pro-social development”. Moreover, he indicates that such interventions reduce the impact of the development of adult criminal careers, as well as save the taxpayers’ money for spending criminals in prisons. Thus, the reasonability of such programs is based on the statement that it is better to combat immediate minor evil instead of postponed greater with graver implications. That is why, Greenwood claims that prospective school-based strategies can prevent delinquency, drug use, anti-social behavior, and early school drop-out. Thus, there is a need for an overview of successful and unsuccessful programs, which addressed the issue of juvenile delinquency.
Successful strategies, combating the issue of juvenile crime are those, which reveal the correlation with reduction of crime rates. Additionally, they stimulate the reduction of anti-social and destructive behavior, resolving interior and exterior conflicts through engagement in a social activity. Mendel (n. d.) claim that among successful interventions were those, which combined both parent training and social competence development. Moreover, the scholar indicates that “95 percent of children in families receiving combined parent and child treatment achieved a 30 percent or greater improvement”. Likewise, Fahey indicates that afterschool programs are one of the most efficient measures to combat youth crime rates. Scholars suggests that they provide the safe environment, alternative to gangs and street life, offer the vast amount of social opportunities, as well as contribute to social opportunities. An example of efficient afterschool strategies are Police Activities League at Baltimore, Boys and Girls Clubs in New York, as well as numerous programs in San Diego. Likewise, Hsia argues that there are other examples of successful community programs, which gave benefits for thousands of children and adults throughout the country. Among them are such as the Health Education Center, the Female Outreach Collaborative, the Mayor’s Youth Initiative for Serious Offenders, Hosanna House and the East End Cooperative Ministry. Thus, among the efficient strategies are those, which are based in particular institutions, as well as the ones targeting the whole communities. These social initiatives establish high standards, addressing the juvenile crime and successfully reducing it.
At the same time, scholars argue that some programs may be treated as non-productive when addressing the issue. Among such programs the scholars name D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), which has grown into a $227-million-per-year enterprise employing 50,000 police officers. Moreover, Boyle and Gottfredson claim that there is empirical evidence demonstrating only small positive effects, which states its poor efficiency. One suggests that the community should have spent the indicated sum of money on more efficient programs, multiplying their efficiency, which is already high. Among other non-efficient approaches and strategies, one can indicate zero-tolerance policies, punishment, scared straight programs, boot camps, large custodial facilities, curfew laws and electronic monitoring. Likewise, Ross, Duckworth, Smith, Wyness and Schoon claim that the programs, which implement such aspects as fear arousal, dramatizing, and moral approaches prove to be non-productive. Such general flaws tend to focus on discipline instead of providing structured rehabilitation, which results that schoolchildren actively resist them.
Therefore, juvenile delinquency combating strategies should focus on protective behavioral factors. Among them, scholars name pro-social behavior, cognitive performance, supportive parents or carers, engagement with community activities, as well as social and problem solving skills.
The suggested method section allows obtaining information about the connection of efficiency of the applied program or intervention. It is designed to address the correlation of the applied approaches with the cases involving delinquent behavior among school children. Moreover, it discusses the dependent and independent variables, explains the method, reasons for its usage and discusses the proposed sample. Therefore, the method section answers the research question, which is “Do after school activities decrease the juvenile crime ratio?”
Furthermore, one should discuss the structural elements of the proposed methodology. Thus, its dependent variables are the behavior of school children, their mood, motivation and activity. Among such variables, one can name drug usage, academic success, and relationship with classmates, teachers and parents, as well as domestic and street activities. The study suggests that tracing the statistic dynamics of the indicated elements allows to evaluate the efficiency of the implemented social programs. Furthermore, the independent variables of the research are health condition of the peers, as well as the impact of drugs or other substances on their activity. One suggests that these factors do not affect the evaluation of the efficacy of the interventions addressing juvenile crime.
Moreover, the methodology of the research is of a mixed type, as it combines qualitative and quantitative phases. The qualitative phase includes peer surveys, discussing the issues exposing the occurrence of dependent variables. Thus, the questions of the research are designed in the best way for obtaining evidence about the occurrence of any of the addressed factors. Moreover, they suggest obtaining analytic information from the peers regarding the correlation of the implemented problem and the reduction of criminal activity among schoolchildren. Some of the questions have “yes/no” answer pattern, whereas others have a five or four point the scale, revealing the strength of the addressed phenomena. Furthermore, the quantitative phase involves statistic calculations, revealing the strengths and weaknesses of the aspects in the applied program or strategy.
The usage of the discussed method allows obtaining valid and relevant information regarding the actual impact of the intervention, addressing juvenile crime reduction. It interviews parents and teachers of schoolchildren as the main citizens responsible for their social education. Additionally, the interviewees were chosen because of their ability for observing the children’s behavior. The focus group of the study would include the parents, whose children had a two-month experience of participation in an after-school program. The aim of the survey addressing the focus group is to reveal associations with the impact of the program and the children’s behavior. The current research sample can be characterized with extreme importance for the study because it assesses the efficacy of the addressed social program. That is why, if the statistics reveal strong association between the positively improved behavior of the majority of the children undergoing the afterschool program, it should be labeled as effective. In the opposite case, the questionnaire suggests the obtaining the answers, which may impact on the improvement of a non-efficient program. Therefore, it can be suggested that this methodology is prospective for both effective and non-effective social interventions, which are designed to combat juvenile crime rates.