A theoretical analysis of Aboriginal youth delinquency in Canada

2325 words 10 pages
A Theoretical Analysis of Aboriginal Youth Delinquency in Canada

Kielburger, Craig and Mark. (2012) The Shocking Contributor to Crime in Canada. The Huffington Post. N.p. Retrieved from .

The failures of the Canadian criminal justice system can be clearly noted in our treatment of Aboriginal youth. While numbers have been declining, the incarceration rate of Aboriginal youth continues to be substantially higher than the rest of the Canadian population, as they are almost 8 times more likely to be in prison (Statistics Canada, 2011). This mass overrepresentation of Aboriginal youth offenders is not a random occurrence nor is it the result of a cultural
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In other words, there is a distinct progression from merely being a badly behaved child to later becoming a delinquent and/or a criminal. This growth or progression occurs in the context of the group that the youth is involved in.
Tannenbaum went further to explain that when the child’s “playgroup” comes into conflict with a certain element of society, the individuals behavior is then controlled by the overall groups reactions and beliefs, rather than the prevailing, mainstream institutions. As members of ones group respond to situations, the individual learns how to conduct him or herself. Thus, it is not necessary that all of society approve of an act, rather, individuals search for approval in the environment or group that they are a part of (Tannenbaum, 1938). That being so, Tannenbaum posited that certain youth engage in criminal behavior at first because they themselves do not view the act as delinquent or harmful, as they identify and integrate with the group who behaves in a similar manner. The progression towards “becoming delinquent” then occurs once wider society defines the individual as bad, leading to the child responding by embracing the label that they are tagged with (Bell, 2012). Hence, society creates the criminal by labeling the individual as deviant, leading them to feel rejected by those outside of the group