Neutralization Neutralization is a technique for people to justify a criminal act The more someone justifies their actions, the easier it will be for them to commit the same act again, and they may get more involved in serious acts There are five basic techniques used to justify themselves Denial of responsibility Denial of injury Denial of the victim Condemnation of the condemners Appeal to higher loyalties
Denial of Responsibility This is when the juveniles feel that they do not have control over their crimes They feel that they are not responsible for what they did Often times, they blame outside sources Example Bad family backgrounds Bad neighborhood
Denial of Injury This is when juveniles believe that as long as no one got hurt, and no harm was done, everything is okay Example “The insurance will cover it!” “I was just borrowing it, I would have gave it back!”
Denial of the Victim This is when the juvenile believes that the victim deserved what they got “Code of the Street” Example Being insulted by the victim The victim was dishonest
Condemnation of theCondemners This is when juveniles believe that the people who condemn them are also engaged in questionable behavior Example The government is corrupt Parents are alcoholics
Appeal to Higher Loyalties This is when juveniles convince themselves that it serves a higher purpose It does more good than harm Example Helping friends out Protecting own things
Questions and Answers Q. How, according to theory, a kid becomes involved in more frequent or serious delinquent behavior? Why kids continue with or desist from delinquent behaviors. What could change their behavior? A. . Neutralization is a technique often used among juveniles. Neutralization is when a person makes up excuses or justifies their criminal act. This theory was brought up by Matza and Sykes. Matza and Sykes were working on juvenile delinquency when they observed some interesting patterns among the juveniles. Some observations included that the delinquents felt guilt over their behaviors and that they respect and admire, honest law-abiding people. Juveniles often know when they are committing a criminal act. However, often times, they are able to justify their actions through five basic techniques; denial of responsibility, denial of injury, denial of victim, condemnation of the condemners and appeal to higher loyalties. Denial of responsibility is when the juveniles feel that they do not have control over their crimes. They feel that they are not responsible for what they did. Often times, they blame it on outside sources, such as the way they were raised up, bad family background, bad neighborhood or peer pressure. Another technique often used is denial of injury. In this technique, juveniles believe that as long as no one got hurt, and no harm was done, everything is okay. An example would be stealing from a convenience store, and them saying that “there was no harm in stealing one little cookie… no one would miss it.” The next technique that is often used is denial of the
victim this is also like the “code of the street”. This is when the juveniles believe that the victim deserved it. An example would be if someone insulted them, and they punched them for it. Condemnation of the condemners is another technique in which they use to justify their actions. Condemnation of the condemners is when juveniles believe that the people who condemn them are also questionable in their behavior, making it not okay for the condemners to judge the juvenile. The last technique that we may try is to appeal to higher loyalties. This technique is used to justify juveniles actions because it serves a higher purpose; such as helping out a friend or protecting their own things. Neutralization is a technique often used by people to justify their criminal acts. Juveniles are often involved because the rationalization makes sense to them, therefore making it a lot easier to commit criminal acts. The more you justify yourself when going against your own beliefs, they easier it would be. Juvenile delinquents get better each time they justify their actions, in the end growing use to committing acts that are against the law. The more juveniles continue to make up excuses for themselves, the easier it will be for them to believe and give into the excuses. Something that may change their behavior is if their excuses were proved wrong.
Q. According to the theory, what would be some of the warning signs that a new probation officer should look for to better determine that a new intake is a high risk delinquent? A. Based on the theory of Neutralization-Justification and Excuses, there are five key components that can assist a probation officer with recognizing a juvenile who may potentially engage in delinquent behavior. The first would be the juvenile denying responsibility for their actions, or using their circumstances as an excuse for their own negative behaviors, such as being a product of their own environment. Second, the juvenile may display a sense of entitlement, and may see consequences as not a big deal, such as a third party paying for damages. Third, the juvenile may talk about things like getting payback, or feeling they have a right to retaliate or display negative behaviors when they are disrespected, in particular when they see the other person as the causing factor or when they are dealing with authority figures. Fourth, a juvenile may try to justify their own negative behavior by using others behavior as examples, such as comparing what a parent does to what they are doing. Lastly, a probation officer should take note as to who the juvenile is associating with, as juveniles sometimes imitate their peers and their negative behaviors as well.
Q. Consistent with the causes of delinquency outlined by your theory, what are some things that a parent or teacher could do to prevent juvenile delinquency in an at-risk child, keeping that at-risk child from becoming delinquent? A. Why kids continue/ desist from delinquent behavior? What could change their behavior? Through the development process, children go through different processes that include different opportunities that an individual perceives that include involvement in activities and interactions with others; A certain degree of involvement while interacting with others, there is a type of recognition that one receives from being involved and interacting with others, it could be positive/negative reinforcement. However, the opportunities that are more recognized are perceived to lead to more involvement leading to more actual involvement, which then leads to more rewards and recognition. During youth the socializing processes are consistent, once a bond of social attachment is established, the social bond inhibits behaviors inconsistent with the beliefs held and behaviors practiced by the socialization unit through establishment of an individual’s stake in conforming to the norms, values, and behaviors of the socializing unit to which he or she is bonded (Hawkins and Weis, 1985; Catalano and Hawkins, 1996; Hawkins and Catalano, 1987). It can concluded that the individuals pro-social or anti-social behavior depends upon the nature of the group members the individual belongs to. The “social development model” provides an integrative, developmental, and
perspective on the nature and causes of delinquency. Continuing of deviant behavior by adolescents is also due to weakening of social bonds with conventional others and institutions, leading to greater association with deviant peers and the subsequent learning of anti-social and delinquent values. This is common among adolescents who live in a socially disorganized neighborhood. Due to strain from the groups the individuals belong to and due to the perceptions of strain there is a weakening of bonds with conventional groups, activities and norms. Due to the weakened bond, in conjunction with high levels of strain, lead to the rejection of conventional values that encourages youth to go out and seek for deviant peer groups (Elliott, Ageton and Canter, 1979). Therefore these deviant associations create an environment that lead to anti-social and behavior and values. However, this essentially increases delinquent and criminal behavior. **Bibliography** *Ayers, C. D., J.H. Williams, J.D. Hawkins, P.L. Peterson, R.F. Catalano and R.D. Abbott. (1999). Assessing correlates of onset, escalation, de-escalation, and desistance of delinquent behavior. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 15, 277–306. *Catalano, R. F. and J.D. Hawkins. (1996). The Social development model: A theory of antisocial behavior. In J.D. Hawkins (Ed.), Delinquency and Crime: Current Theories (pp. 149−197). New York: Cambridge University Press. *Elliott, D.S., S.S. Ageton and R.J. Canter. (1979). An integrated theoretical perspective on delinquent behavior. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 16, 3−27.