Test your knowledge of this chapter’s material by determining whether the following statements are true or false. Be sure to compare your answers with the answers on page 56.
1. The primary vision of delinquency that developed in Western societies resulted in the similar labeling of youth across all social statuses.
2. In ancient times and during the Middle Ages, there was no formal concept known as juvenile delinquency.
3. The age at which youth were thought to be capable of having a “guilty mind” has changed over time.
4. Houses of Refuge and other institutions housed children in need of care along with those labeled delinquent or predelinquent in an effort to “save” them.
5. The creation of the first juvenile court was based on the philosophy of retribution.
6. In the 21st century, it is clear that moral panics about violent music, websites, and films as causes of delinquency are justified by scientific research.
7. Youth of color, particularly boys, are often portrayed by the media as people to fear, rather than people to protect.
According to Chávez-García’s historical research findings, intelligence testing of young people in reform schools was motivated by a societal interest in eugenics at the time. What does the term eugenics signify? How might recent or future scientific approaches to delinquency and criminality be used to support eugenics campaigns? Should such approaches be supported and developed if they can be used to “weed out” people who are thought to be inferior?
Source: Chávez-García, M. (2007). Intelligence testing at Whittier State School, 1890–1920. Pacific Historical Review, 76, 193–228
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1. How does the panic around Ahmed’s clock reflect how many non-Muslim adults perceive and stereotype Muslim American youth?
2. How did the social media response in support of Ahmed challenge this social construction?
Sources: Rao, S. (2015, Sept. 17). Zuckerberg, Obama and more stand with Ahmed. Colorlines. Retrieved from
https://www.colorlines.com/articles/zuckerberg-obama-and-more-stand-ahmed; Rao, S. (2016, June 1). Watch: The story of Ahmed Mohamed told via trap music and magical realism. Colorlines. Retrieved from https://www.colorlines.com/articles/watchstory-ahmed-mohamed-told-trap-music-and-magical-realism
1. What are the benefits of new forms of media that provide outlets for first-person accounts of delinquency? What can we learn from them?
2. What do you think it would take for there to be more socially just depictions of youth and their behaviors in the media? Explain the reasoning behind your answer.
1. Are you familiar with CYJ’s or similar campaigns in your own community? What types of activities do you think best get the word out about information related to treating youth who have committed acts of delinquency as adults? Are any of your ideas different from those used by CYJ?
Sources: Campaign for Youth Justice. (n.d.). Current campaigns. Retrieved from http://www.campaignforyouthjustice.org/changethe-system/current-campaigns.html; Campaign for Youth Justice. (n.d.). National youth justice awareness month. Retrieved from
1. 1. The outcry over the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice is related to the widespread perception that their deaths were one of the violent outcomes experienced by youth of color after they are stereotyped and assumed to be dangerous. What are some ways that people are challenging these stereotypes and assumptions?
2. What are some additional social changes that you think are necessary to prevent the use of deadly force against youth of color?
Sources: Amnesty International (2015). Deadly force: Police use of force in the United States. New York: Amnesty International USA;
Associated Press. (2014, August 22). Racial and gender makeup of grand jury revealed in Ferguson case. CBS News. Fantz, A.,
Almasy, S., & Shoichet, C. E. (2015, Dec. 28). Tamir Rice shooting: No charges for officers. CNN News. Retrieved from
http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/28/us/tamir-rice-shooting; Gutman, M. (2012). Trayvon Martin neighborhood watch shooting: 911 tapes send mom crying from room. ABC News, March 16. Retrieved from http://www.abcnews.go.com/US/treyvon-martinneighborhood-watch-shooting-911-tapes-send/story?id=15937881#.T2vBicyyzQo; Lee, J. (2015, Oct. 28). Outrage is growing over
the Tamir Rice investigation. Is the grand jury process stacked in favor of the cop that killed the 12-year-old? Mother Jones. Retrieved from http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/10/tamir-rice-leaked-reports-grand-jury; Sandy, E. & Grzegorek, V.(2016, Jan. 20). The grand jury in the Tamir Rice case did not take a vote on charges. Scene. Retrieved from http://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2016/01/20/the-grand-jury-in-the-tamir-rice-case-did-not-take-a-vote-oncharges; Swaine, J., Laughland, O., & Lartey, J. (2016, Jan. 2). Young black men killed by police at highest rate in year of 1,134 deaths. Retrieved from http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/young-black-men-killed-us-police-highest-rate-year-1134-deaths; Tienabesco, S., Gutman, M., & Wash, S. (2013). George Zimmerman found not guilty and goes free. ABC News, July 13. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/US/george-zimmerman-found-guilty-free/story?id=19653300
After watching a film, or films, answer the following questions:
1. How do the filmmakers portray the factors that lead to delinquency and dependence on the part of youth?
2. How are issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality portrayed?
3. When filmmakers explicitly or implicitly address the “solutions” to delinquency, what do they focus upon in the film or films you have chosen to analyze?
1. After reading about the history of the social construction of delinquency in this chapter, what three facts about it did you find the most surprising? Explain why you found them surprising. Did they challenge your understanding of how we have come to define delinquency today?
2. Why is it the case that many scholars look back on the houses of refuge and state that they were misnamed?
3. How did considerations of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, and sexuality affect the ways that authorities throughout history handled delinquency and dependency?
4. In what ways did the creation of juvenile courts shift mainstream perceptions about youth and delinquency at the turn of the 20th century? How did the due process cases of the 1960s and early 1970s later affect perceptions about youth and delinquency? Were these similar or dissimilar effects?
5. What can we learn from analyzing the various moral panics or scares about popular culture and delinquency? What are some current issues in popular culture that are garnering excessive attention for being alleged inspirations for delinquency?
Chapter Pretest Answers