Violence and crime by youngsters: ”Little terrorism” or partly a myth in the making?
SourcePsycCRITIQUES- Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books
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Reviews the books, Youth violence and delinquency: Monsters and myths, Volume 1: Juvenile offenders and victims edited by Marilyn D. McShane and Frank P. Williams III (see record 2007-09490-000); Youth violence and delinquency: Monsters and myths, Volume 2: Juvenile justice edited by Marilyn D. McShane and Frank P. Williams III (see record 2007-09492-000); and Youth violence and delinquency: Monsters and myths, Volume 3: Juvenile treatment and crime prevention edited by Marilyn D. McShane and Frank P. Williams III (see record 2007-09493-000). Why such commotion about youth delinquency and crime? In 1985 there were 67,000 violent offenses (murders, serious injuries, etc.) credited to minors in the United States, while there were 137,000 and 81,000 in 1995 and 2000, respectively. There were more than half a million property offenses (stealing or breaking and entering) and more than one million delinquency offenses (including drug trafficking, destroying others' property) committed by youth. And these statistics are only composed of cases recorded by the U.S. Bureau of Statistics (Wicks-Nelson & Israel, 2006). No matter what the approach in explaining youth crime, there are some realities that we cannot let go unnoticed. This is what Youth violence and delinquency: Monsters and myths is contemplating, the realism hidden behind–and sometimes right in front of our eyes–the statistics of youth delinquency. Marilyn McShane and Frank Williams have edited this three-volume compilation of chapters written by criminologists, criminal justice professors, criminal attorneys, sociologists and anthropologists, child psychologists, law enforcement officers, and other professionals who have vast experience with youth delinquency either academically as researchers or as applied professionals who are directly dealing every day with youth who commit acts of aggression or crimes. The first volume, Juvenile offenders and victims, is a wake-up call and uncovers the true extent of youth violence and delinquency. It lays down realities such as that most juvenile crime is intraracial and, with supporting evidence, exhibits that the problem is not as horrific or as prolific as the media want us to believe but rather is a mere selling point for news and the added sensation and glamour that youth crime adds to the headlines. Several chapters in the first volume give research-based recommendations for reducing offenses committed by youngsters. The second volume, Juvenile justice, could be named “youth delinquency in the eyes of the law (and the courts of law).” Every professional who is, at least, interested in issues surrounding the juvenile justice system should have a look at the 11 chapters of the second volume. Here the reader can find a good overview of the attempts to reform older laws pertaining to youth crime and an exploration of the effectiveness of newer, tougher laws for sentencing juveniles that have been passed in some U.S. states for such crimes. The favorite volume for a child psychologist or a child psychiatrist would likely be the last one, Juvenile treatment and crime prevention. Here the trilogy comes to an end with serious, informed recommendations for treating youth delinquency and serious crime. In this volume we learn about rehabilitative programs that have been implemented over the years within the United States, and an in-depth literature is laid out for the programs that have been most successful. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)