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inquiry into the causes
Hafizur Rahman Karzon
delinquency is an inextricable problem for any human society. Aftermath
of any war, economic depression, or any catastrophic situation jeopardize
social fabric and existing social structure having severe impact on family
and children. Any transition or transformation of society will have same
impact on the young folk. Deviant juvenile subcultures represent the malfunctioning
of social components in any country.
delinquency in USA
The problem of severe juvenile delinquency was first appeared in American
society. As an offshoot of the social disorganisation the slum juveniles
in down-town Chicago created a network of gangs with distinctive culture.
The Wall Street crash and the depression of 1930s worsened the overall
economic situation causing severe social disorganisation in America. It
also aggravated the situation of juvenile delinquency. Young folk of America
developed a culture of criminal gangs widening their criminal activities
in different parts of the country. Economic deprivation, class oriented
social structure and consumerist ethos caused this increased rate of juvenile
delinquency which has been continuing for decades. Robert K. Merton identified
juvenile delinquency as a result of the strain between culture goal and
social structure. American society has determined a culture goal, i.e.,
to acquire wealth for all the citizens and has specified hard labour honesty,
education for achieving that goal. But there is gap between theory and
practice. Social recognition to people who have acquired wealth through
ways not approved by the society and insufficient social opportunities
to acquire wealth causes high rate of deviant subculture. The strain,
created due to the contradiction between culture goal and socially approved
means, has tremendous pressure on the young resulting emergence of deviant
subcultures. Rather than being the product of strain Albert Cohen saw
the deviant subculture as an endeavour to resolve problems encountered
by adolescents in a class based society. When failed to achieve middle
class success within the social structure, then juveniles are behaving
in an abnormal manner and developing deviant subcultures. In this way
middle-class value system is being inverted by the juvenile delinquent
delinquency in UK
The consequences of Second World War and growing inequalities had very
damaging impact on the social structure of Britain, specifically on the
family and children causing increase in the rate of juvenile delinquency.
From about 1955 the juvenile delinquency started to rise. Surrounding
increasing affluence young people begun to enjoy freedom that was greater
than that of previous generations. This paved the way for development
of youth culture. The appearance of rock'n'roll with long jackets with
velvet collars, bootlace ties, drainpipe trousers, and sued shoes was
outrageous for the moral standard of Britain. In the late 1960s the skinheads,
the most aggressive of all subcultures, appeared and later on replaced
by suede heads and other variants on the style and associated with football
hooliganism. Originating from unskilled working class they tried to recreate
the traditional working class community with their racism, opposition
to hippy values and particular construction of their style.
Most of the British youth cultures in the 1960s were working-class origin,
the last years of the decade experienced the emergence of a middle-class
counter culture, designated as hippy culture, was largely made up of students
and ex-students. The early 1970s experienced the Afro-Caribbean cultural
resistance. In this time the view that the relation between crime and
black youth and that the blacks were innately criminal took strong hold.
Around 1976 punk appeared with bin liners, safety pins, PVC, graffiti,
ripped clothing and bondage gear as a resistance to the conventional dress
style. Its music, dancing, band names, song titles and language were totally
delinquency in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh we have not experienced any counter youth culture like Teds,
Mods, Rock'n'Roll, Hippy or Punk of Britain or any young gang culture
of the U.S.A. outraging moral and social concern. But the process of urbanisation
(which started from 1960s), migration from village to city (which started
at a large scale from 1980s), vulnerable economic condition and impact
of globalisation caused social transformation, though slow, of Bangladesh.
The large joint families started to break into segments and single parent
family begun to get prominence. Economic deprivation, unemployment, poverty,
flimsy family ties, media influence and criminalised politics made a fertile
ground for increased rate of juvenile delinquency.
are three correctional centres in Bangladesh for rectification and rehabilitation
of juveniles. Two (one is in Tongi, and other in Jessore) for male child,
and one (it is in Kunapara) for female child. Two categories of children
are kept therefirst category constitutes of uncontrollable children and
referred by parents and second category comes to the correction centres
after committing offences and referred by courts.
causes of the juvenile delinquency
A considerable segment of people of this country are very poor. They live
below poverty line in terms of the true indicators of poverty. According
to recent statistics, around 6.5 million people of Bangladesh are living
below poverty line. Due to poor economic condition, parents cannot get
their children to go to educational institutions and assist them in developing
good educational or vocational career. Parents want their children to
assist them in work field instead of going to educational institutions.
Some times parents cannot provide their children with all basic necessities
of human life, specifically food and clothing. Then the poor children
set their legs out towards criminal activities. The children do not know
which activities are lawful and which are not. They require some work
which can provide their food and clothing. Organised gangs deploy poor
children in criminal activities by taking advantage of their vulnerable
economic condition. Recent statistics show that, huge number of poor children
(under 16 years of age) of Jessore and Khulna have been deployed in carrying
Phensydil, and other contraband drugs. Some poor children become members
of pick pocket gangs and petty thievery.
family is a crucial cause for the deviation of the juveniles. Absence
of father or mother due to death or divorce, lack of parental control,
lack of home discipline, bad relation between father and mother, presence
of criminal among the members of family are the principal indications
of problematic family. Due to these problems the mental growth of a child
takes an abnormal course. In slum areas adult males and females get married
several times. They have children of their first and second marriages.
These children are not usually taken care of. These uncared children become
notorious criminal of different organised gangs. The juveniles of a well-off
family having father residing abroad derails due to lack of father's guidance.
They get huge amount of money from their father. Affluence and father's
absence makes the juvenile to involve with vicious circle.
to poverty, loss of land by river erosion, and unemployment lots of people
has been migrating from different parts of the country to Dhaka and other
metropolitan cities. Large scale migration from village to city started
from 1980s. Many women of rural areas came to city and started working
in garment factories. This titanic migration had degenerating affect on
city life destroying social equilibrium of Dhaka, Chittagong and some
other metropolitan cities. The people coming from villages usually take
shelter in slum areas, pavements and streets. They are deprived of basic
necessities and basic amenities of life. Father and mother of the family
go out of their abode at the very first hour of the day for earning money
remaining their children uncared and uncontrolled. In this situation children
(popularly known as tokai) are used by the politicians in their political
activities, which include picketing and ransacking cars and shops. They
are also utilised by the organised gangs in their criminal activities.
Surrounding environment of slum area, smuggling zone and crime prone areas
are very vulnerable for the juveniles. When residing in such areas juveniles
come in contact with criminal pattern and learn criminal techniques, then
they become notorious criminals. Action movies and obscene pictures have
negative impact on the mind set of the juveniles. The violence and sexuality
visualised in the movies make the juvenile to go brothel and involve them
with violent activities.
Juveniles are the future of any society and require special care and attention.
Due to their susceptibility they respond to social malfunctioning and
other anomalies in ways not approved by social norms and values. Their
resistance to the dominant culture indicates the necessity of reorganising
the social institutions and spatial attention being given to promote the
cause of juveniles.
Hafizur Rahman Karzon is a Lecturer, Department of Law, Dhaka University.