Gun Violence, the Juvenile Offender and School Shootings

Youth delinquency and violent behavior have constantly been occupying the minds of criminal justice theorists and practitioners, as well as the general public. Often, feelings of outrage and shock seem to prevail each time a child or an adolescent attempts or commits a crime using a firearm or explosives. These feelings are magnified when such incidents result in fatalities in a school. Given the substantial threat to public safety that firearm crimes among juvenile offenders pose, a better comprehension of the dynamics of juvenile gun violence is pertinent not just to researchers, but to law enforcement and to the greater community.

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Empirical studies provide a blue print for understanding the underlying causes of juvenile gun violence and school shootings. This literature review presents a useful perspective into some of the social and psychological processes that lead to violent incidents within the school environment and provide a useful framework upon which criminal justice practitioners can make predictions regarding juvenile gun violence and subsequently formulate appropriate mitigation or prevention strategies.

Akers, R. (1997). Criminological theories: Introduction and evaluation (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Roxbury.

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