Juvenile delinquency is a considerable problem within the United States. Many efforts are put into place to ensure a better life for youth. Undeterred by the efforts in place, some youth are continuing to be lost within the juvenile justice system. According to the Public Broadcasting Service (Juvenile Justice) “On average, juveniles were involved in one-quarter of all serious violent victimizations (not including murder) committed annually over the last 25 years.” (Juvenile Justice) This statistic proves that youth are being involved in violent crimes, and need to be stopped.
Unfortunately for twelve-year-old Jarrell Milton, he was pulled into the justice system at an extremely rare age for the charge, murder. According to Police One article, the twelve-year-old along with his brother and peer who were age 15 and 17 lured two men in for a marijuana deal ending in the fatal shooting. (PoliceOne) Only one man was killed, and the other was injured. The United States Marshalls found Milton located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was returned to where the crime took place in Omaha, Nebraska.
There are many factors that can be considered when evaluating why Milton committed a heinous crime at only twelve-years-old. This paper will discuss the most influential factors in the case of twelve-year-old Milton, including the influence of peers, family life, and gang affiliation. Milton was with his peer and brother when the fatal shooting took place. Peers can have a huge impact on youth choices. It is hard to regulate whom juveniles are friends with. The article by Danielle Payne and Benjamin Cornell explained, “Because the primary mechanism in this version of the social influence framework is the desire to impress one’s close friends, it makes sense to test whether the degree of similarity of more distant peers’ behaviors and close friends’ behaviors directly influences adolescents’ own delinquency.
” (Payne and Cornell) Peers have the ability to directly influence youth. If a peer shows criminal behavior, it is likely that the youth will show the same behaviors. Although it is likely, the article also explains that, “
Adolescents who want to impress their friends with new techniques or behaviors face a dilemma.” (Payne and Cornell) Youth will consider what their doing is wrong, but they still want their friends to show an interest in them. The want of friendship will most always overcome the fear of being a criminal. Family provides a support system for youth. Youth look up to family members, and parents are role models to their children. The unfortunate part about parents being role models is, when parents make bad decisions, their children may follow. According to Daily Mail reporters Ashley Collman and Chris Spargo “…Jarrell ‘s mother Iyanna Moss was convicted for felony assault when he was a toddler. When she went to prison, Jarrell and his six other siblings were sent to live in an Omaha foster home…” (Collman and Spargo) Milton’s mother was not in his life, and he lived in foster care. Milton lacked the guidance he deserved, and a vital parental figure. The article Delinquent Youths and Family by Larry LeFlore states, “Indirectly and from a social structural point of view, the family determines the culture into which a child is born.”
(LeFlore) The importance of a clean, criminal free environment is crucial. The beginning years of life are extremely impactful on youth. If there is violence, drugs, and other criminal activity the youth will adapt to that environment. The article by Larry LeFlore also mentioned, “…Membership in lower SES or working-class families may limit achievement of the American Dream.” (LeFlore) If the family members are constantly working to provide, they are going to be unaware of what is happening in their children’s life. If the family has a poor economic status, it could promote the child to steal or commit crimes to receive what they want or need. The father of Milton stated, “If he’s guilty as the picture has been painted, I’d say it’s my fault. I take the blame. I’d say I probably have been the biggest influence of anybody in [my sons’ lives] when it comes to gangs.”
The father readily admits to have affecting both of his sons and that he is the reason both are juvenile delinquents. Gang members are recruiting youth every day to commit serious offenses to prove their loyalty to the gang. According to an article written by Maggie O’Brien, she explains, “All three boys, including the youngest, are Nike gang members.” (O’Brien) The gang that Milton was apart of played a huge role in why he lured the men in on a fatal drug deal. An article by Francis Thaddeus Pleban stated, “While gangs have much in common with the majority of society, they also have their own exclusive set of values, norms, lifestyles, and beliefs.” (Pleban)
It is possible that Milton was told to fatally shoot both of the men, because of the norms or rules of the gang. Gangs usually choose violence, and if someone is apart of a gang the must stay loyal at all times or there are serious consequences. The article by Francis Thaddeus Pleban also explained, “…Research had found positive correlations between self-reported gang involvement and self-reported delinquency; with the link between hang involvement and delinquency being virtually indisputable.” (Pleban) Basically, if youth are involved in gangs there are also going to be involved in delinquency. Gangs promote violence, and recruit youth to commit their heinous crimes. There are many situational factors that affected Milton’s chance at a normal lifestyle with no deviance. The first factor that affected Milton’s choice to commit murder would be peers.
Although he committed the act with his brother and his peer, he was still strongly influenced by them. Both of the boys who were with Milton were much older, and have the ability to influence his decisions. Youth will follow their peers, to impress them and to keep their interest. Another factor that significantly affected Milton’s situation would be his family. Milton’s mother and father were both criminals. Milton’s father openly admitted that he had not been a great role model, and that he was the reason he was affiliated with a gang. The last factor that affected Milton was the gang he was apart of. Gangs promote criminal activity and violence, and are not something that youth should be apart of. Unfortunately, Milton was part of the local street gang and it is highly likely that the lured drug deal murder gang’s idea. It is important to understand the seriousness of juvenile delinquency that how it can affect the future of society.