Aftermath of Apprehension: Juvenile Court Judge’s Response

It would appear that juveniles find apprehension to be a reinforcement of their delinquent behavior. Being apprehended and questioned by the police, referred to juvenile court, meeting a probation officer, and going before a judge, not to mention the status one gains in one’s group from police and/or court contact, can be a very significant chain of events for many adolescents who have never known the excitement of personal recognition by parents, school officials or even friends. For the first time, they are recognized and listened to, albeit for the wrong reasons. The attention need not be positive; shouting, scolding, and lecturing apparently will suffice. This attention, in whatever form, is contingent on delinquent behavior.