The purpose of this research is to examine three articles dealing with crime and delinquency. The plan of the research will be to provide a summary of each of the articles and then to relate what the articles themselves say, as appropriate, to certain theories of delinquency and crime discussed in Whitehead and Lab's text Juvenile Justice: An Introduction, with a view toward providing an interpretation and opinion of them.
Schwartz, Ira M., Rendon, Jose A., and Hsieh, Chang-Ming. "Is Child Maltreatment a Leading Cause of Delinquency?" Child Welfare 73 (September 1994): 639-655.
This article is a forceful criticism of the public-policy focus on juvenile justice as the remedy for and appropriate response to delinquency and juvenile crime, by way of a criticism of the research that has been done into the issue of the causes of juvenile crime. The key argument in this regard is the fact that most public resources (i.e., tax money) aimed at solving the problem of juvenile crime have been spent on making the judicial system that must dispose punishments for the crimes more workable, efficient, and fair. To be sure, treatment of juvenile offenders, and not just punishment, appears to be a part of this. However, the position taken by this article is that the focus is on the offenders per se and not on identifying what motivates or otherwise causes the offenses in the first place.
Like Juvenile Justice, Schwartz, Rendon, and Hsieh explain dominant methods of research into juvenile crime. They divide research methods into decades, saying that during the 1960s the focus was on minor juvenile offenses such as truancy, which could lead to adult crime; that during the 1970s the focus had shifted to learning disabilities as the cause of juvenile crime; that in the 1980s nature (i.e., genetic and biological factors) was held to be the cause; that in the 1990s the dominant view is that child maltreatment/abuse explains juvenile delinquency. In...