Role Of Community Essay

8434 words - 34 pages

When a French social worker was recently asked what he considered the most valuable attitude in working with juvenile delinquents, he replied: ‘The ability to accept failure-and still go right ahead.’ W e should not delude ourselves that there are any short, swift or easy solutions. Delinquent behaviour is not a twenty-four hour malady that affects a child as a virus does. The preceding chapter has pointed out how complex, and how deeply set, some of the motivations towards juvenile delinquency can be. Since a child does not become delinquent on the spur of the moment but as the result of a long and intricate series of reactions, any realistic plan to help that child will not be an easy one. ...view middle of the document...

Why is it so important that the community itself should become so deeply involved in preventing and controlling delinquency? The answer is this: not even the most perceptive or skilled outsider can achieve as much as the people of a community who, together, want to improve it. There is much common sense in the axiom that the better the community is, in all ways, the less is the probability of any form of delinquency. Perhaps only the people who live in a community can honestly assess its strength, know its shortcomings and make the necessary improvements. The health needs, the housing problems, the school situation, the physical resources and the recreational facilities of any community are all local factors that can influence delinquency. These are rarely the sole causes but depending on whether they are poor or better than adequate, here are the elements that can aggravate or deter delinquent tendencies. Although it is a myth that, for example, delinquency is a direct result of slum living, it can be said that a child has a better chance of not being delinquent if his family have decent living quarters and can escape the strain and depression of living in crowded, grim rooms.
Prevention and treatment
A handful of people who live in the same neighbourhood can scarcely launch a successful programme of prevention. They must enlist as many private citizens as possible, of all groups and all professions, to try and obtain the broadest and most sincere support for the programme. Professionals will always be needed to provide sound and scientific help but no programme of prevention can succeed if it is only inspired and directed by them. The impetus must come from the community and it can only come when delinquency represents a problem that matters very much to many people. Not only adults should be included, but young people, even delinquents themselves, in every way possible, at every step.
It is fatuous to advise any community interested in delinquency to be ‘practical’ about a programme of prevention. Obviously people intend to be practical. Sometimes an excess of emotion prevents them. A sentimental, pseudo-maternal attitude can be just as defeating as a harsh and punitive reaction. Delinquents, after all, should not be regarded as a strange and separate species of mankind. Even the most incorrigible delinquent cannot be delinquent every minute of the day: there are moments when he eats and talks and thinks and sleeps like any boy of his age. If we can see delinquents calmly and with a certain objective detachment, as young human beings who need help (no matter how much they resist or discourage that help), then a promising posture has been achieved.
Unfortunately, the most honest and earnest attempts to curtail delinquency may fail without two essentials: funds and facts. Any operation should have as its foundation a validated theoretical frame of reference about the causal factors of delinquency. The community should have available facts on...

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