Neutralization Theory

There are many theories presented in your final chapter of reading that attempt to explain crime and delinquency. Most theories focus efforts on explaining adult criminality. Many of those theoretical explanations can extend to adolescent delinquency as well. However, Miller (1958) created his Neutralization Theory to focus specifically on explaining juvenile delinquency. Explain Miller’s explanation of how and why juvenile delinquency occurs. Detail all possible neutralizations that can be utilized by a juvenile who engaged in crime. Finally, conduct research on your own in the media and find an example of juvenile delinquency where the juvenile’s defense was a neutralization. Provide details of the crime and how the neutralization was utilized to explain the crime away.

Neutralization Theory

Neutralizations, also referred to as rationalizations are defences or explanations for the behavior that is considered to be abnormal. Sykes and Matza describe neutralizations as sayings such as “I did not do anything to hurt anyone,” “They had it coming to them,”” and “I did it not for myself” (Kaptein and van Helvoort). There are five main strategies for neutralization that include denial of blame and denial of injury denial of the victim, denial of the condemned and appeal to the higher loyalties (Kaptein and van Helvoort). The five neutralization strategies that are sometimes called “the famous five” are widely used in various contexts.

Teenagers, or those who refer to their self “taggers” as well as “writers,” engage in street tagging. This covers a range of graffiti designs that are illegal like pieces bombs, tags, and throw-ups. The primary reason for taggery was to break the monotony of daily life. Like Hose said, “I went to write because I had nothing else to be doing” (Vasquez & Vieraitis, 2016). The only thing they needed was to get outside and get involved in something that was enjoyable, and street tagging appeared as the sole option available to the participants. In the end, many people believed that their options for dealing with boredom was limited to joining a gang, or taking part in street tag. Tagging was viewed as a better option over other options including banging with a gang, for a variety of reasons. Additionally, it’s widely accepted that adolescence is the moment when the majority of people attempt to discover their identity, grow into their own self-confidence and question the authority of adults in their lives. A lot of kids develop their own styles of expression during this period of discovery.

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