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Study Finds Delinquent Behavior Among Boys Is "Contagious" 245

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-you-lie-down-with-dogs-you-will-get-up-with-fleas dept.
According to a new study, if everyone else was committing a crime, you would too, at least if you are a boy. The 20-year study showed what every grandmother could tell you; children from poor families, with inadequate supervision and bad friends were more likely to end up in juvenile court. What was more surprising is that exposure to the juvenile justice system seemed to increase the chance that the boy would engage in criminal activity as a young adult. "For boys who had been through the juvenile justice system, compared to boys with similar histories without judicial involvement, the odds of adult judicial interventions increased almost seven-fold," says study co-author Richard E. Tremblay.

*

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Study Finds Delinquent Behavior Among Boys Is "Contagious"

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  • System (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302)

    There's money in prisons, pointless drug laws etc. It's not an accident things work out this way.

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday July 17, 2009 @01:55PM (#28733287) Homepage

    "Boys more likely to do what the other boys in their peer group are doing. Juvenile delinquents teach juveniles to be delinquents."

    Another amazing result by the Maximegallion Institute for Slowly and Painfully Working Out the Surprisingly Obvious.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      Except vey often, the 'Obvious' isn't.

      It's obvious that if you turn off the TV and get your kids to go outsize they'll get more exercise, right? turns out that's not true.
      Thre is a ong line of 'obvious' things that have fallen by the wayside when actually studied.

    • by NonUniqueNickname (1459477) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:36PM (#28733819)
      Delinquents are teaching delinquents now? Back when I was a juvenile delinquent we didn't have any "internet" or "correctional facilities" to show us how. If you wanted to be a delinquent you had to learn it and earn it yourself, by breaking and entering to a house that was 3 miles away in the snow uphill both way and guarded by gargoyles. Today's youth just want everything handed to them on a silver platter. Lazy little bastards. that's the Now get off my lawn.
    • by princessproton (1362559) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:39PM (#28733859)

      Not only obvious, but previously described by criminologists. Sutherland's Differential Association Theory [wikipedia.org] was published in the '70s, and even those concepts were grounded in Social Learning Theory, which was developed in the 1800s.

      The basic tenets of Differential Association Theory are that criminal (or delinquent) behavior is learned, usually through contact/behavior modeling of an intimate social group (peers). Further criminological theories posit that the labeling of these group behaviors as deviant can cause the group to develop their own subculture with values apart from traditional society. Therefore, the labeling involved in the "help given by the juvenile justice system" actually promotes continued deviant behavior.

      • by Pollux (102520) <speter.tedata@net@eg> on Friday July 17, 2009 @03:27PM (#28734535) Journal

        At our small rural school, a junior one day threw a pop bottle at the car of a senior as the senior was driving away. The senior got out, roughed up the junior a little bit, and put him in his place.

        But, the junior got pissed, got two of his buddies, and went over to the senior's house and vandalized the guy's car to the tune of about $1,500, plus did another $1,000 to his mother's car.

        When the three stooges appeared in court, one of the three was a minor. (An accomplice, not the junior...he was 18...yea, what a shocker.) They got the minor to testify that he did all the dirty work, and the other two were just accomplices. Rather than the junior getting 90 days in jail and a $2,500 fine, he made off with just a small fine, and the minor got 40 hours of community service.

        They don't just learn how to be a criminal by their friends...they are groomed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by plopez (54068)

        It's been said before, jails are places to learn to become a criminal. The "get tough on crime" approach has just clogged the justice system and created a huge criminal under class by helping people learn how to become criminals. Drug decriminalization a alternatives to prison for lesser crimes would be better in the long run. Esp. when you consider it costs more to imprison someone than to send them to MIT.

    • by Kabuthunk (972557)

      Exactly.

      This just in: Peer pressure exists.

      News at 11.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Well, I for one am shocked to learn that kids who grow up in shitty neighborhoods, with shitty parents, hanging around and bunch of drug dealers and gangbangers are more likely to turn to a life of crime than a kid who grows up in the affluent suburbs with attentive and caring parents. The hell you say!
  • warning! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday July 17, 2009 @01:57PM (#28733323) Homepage

    This may be true: sticking the bad kids in with the good kids may improve the behavior of the bad kids. BUT BE WARNED! I was part of an educational experiment in which honors students (such as myself) were placed in an 6th-grade English class with, well, the criminal class.

    I LEARNED NOTHING IN THAT CLASS! The teacher spent the whole time playing cop to stop the delinquents. Furthermore, sticking us in with them actually encouraged the good students to out-bad the bad students. It was a complete disaster.

    For the good of this country, we need to concentrate on making sure our best students get the best education. This should be a higher priority than trying to make scientists out of juvenile criminals and bullies. Society doesn't need, and will never get 100% genius-status for all students, anyway. Attempts to make this happen will likely drag us all down.

    • Re:warning! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:06PM (#28733407)

      Exactly. The bad kids need to be identified as early as possible, and shunted off into a different program where they're prepared for careers as janitors and burger-flippers, and society doesn't waste any more time or money on them than necessary. Educational resources need to be saved for the kids where it'll do the most good.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by FooAtWFU (699187)
        And what happens to the 'good kids' who are misidentified as 'bad kids' and stigmatized for life and ignored by the "good parts" of the system and put into a peer group which has won't recognize anything valuable about them save for delinquency?

        Sure, we can do more to avoid "wast[ing] time or money" on the bad kids, but a system of pigeonholing them in the manner you describe is going to be fraught with trouble before politics / political correctness / all that mess start manipulating the system to furthe

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Grishnakh (216268)

          And what happens to the 'good kids' who are misidentified as 'bad kids' and stigmatized for life and ignored by the "good parts" of the system and put into a peer group which has won't recognize anything valuable about them save for delinquency?

          Obviously, the system should have a way of allowing kids to move back to the better classes. But many other countries already have a system like this which divides kids early on, such as Germany, and it seems to work rather well. Luckily for them, they don't have

      • Re:warning! (Score:5, Funny)

        by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:42PM (#28733887) Homepage

        The bad kids need to be identified as early as possible, and shunted off into a different program where they're prepared for careers as janitors and burger-flippers

        Great. Take a whole bunch of criminals, and give them keys to go into your office after hours, and have them prepare your food.

        • Re:warning! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:49PM (#28733975)

          You do realize that many cooks in restaurants are people with criminal records, right? It's one of the few jobs that'll take them when they're actually trying to get out of a life of crime.

          • Re:warning! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday July 17, 2009 @04:25PM (#28735229) Homepage

            Well obviously it's a joke.

            But still, I find some of these attitudes strange and probably counter-productive. They talk like blue collar work shouldn't be respected, doesn't take any kind of intelligence or work ethic, etc. Then they want to decide which kids are good and which are bad, and then try to forbid the "bad kids" from growing up to be anything but a blue collar worker. And while they're at it, they want to humiliate all the "bad kids" to make sure they know they'll never be anything but a fry cook. Does all that really sound like a good idea?

            And to what end? Sometimes I think it's just kids that got picked on trying to punish their ex-bullies rather then imagine an education system or societal order that will work. Blue collar work shouldn't be shameful. It's honest work that needs to be done. It still takes skill, attention, and hard work to do a good job.

            Look, the people you are trying to punish are the people you depend on. They cook your meals, they haul your trash, they connect your calls, they drive your ambulances. They guard you while you sleep. Do not fuck with them.

      • by timeOday (582209)

        "The bad kids need to be identified as early as possible, and shunted off into a different program where they're prepared for careers as janitors and burger-flippers"

        You are still stuck on the idea that there are inherently good kids and bad kids, despite supposedly agreeing with what you were responding to. Re-read it: "sticking us in with them actually encouraged the good students to out-bad the bad students." If true, then the approach you advocate is 100% wrong; the goodness and badness of kids is n

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          So what are you proposing, putting everyone together? We already know that doesn't work, and just drags everyone down.

          Yes, some kids are better than others, despite what you may believe. The problem is the social effects: the ones in the middle are more easily swayed. So the kids who are the biggest problems need to be kicked out and kept separate, and the ones in the middle will improve.

          • Re:warning! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Omestes (471991) <omestes@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday July 17, 2009 @04:40PM (#28735369) Homepage Journal

            When I was young, me and my friend both were having problems in grade school. Both of our grades were failing, and both of us had behavioral issues. He got withdrawn, and I started trying to create my own stimulus. Eventually they decided he was gifted, and that I was mentally ill (ADHD). He went into the advanced programs, and I into "special ed". This is despite the fact that I could, at the time, read at a high school level, and won every writing contest in grade-school.

            I ended up in classes telling me about "self-esteem" instead of teaching me basic math, he ended up skipping grades eventually. This is in spite of me helping him with his homework, and in spite of tests showing me to have a pretty high IQ. Basically I didn't get any education what-so-ever from 4th grade until my freshman year of high school. This led to bad grades in high school because I was un-prepared for the work due to lack of education (and being a drug zombie for years thanks to the misdiagnosis of having ADHD). This also allowed me to network with some of the "bad kids" who actually were bad seeds, both due to familiarity, and due to my labeling of myself as such. My old friend went to college after accelerated schooling, while it took me 5 extra post-high-school years to finally get there.

            This is how this idea actually works. It sounds very nice, but the fact remains that we can't pick "bad kids" from "good kids", and when we artificially do, we end up harming potentially bright kids. If you find a solution to this problem, then let me know.

            Personally I think by mixing the groups we water down the influence of the bad ones, as long as we're careful not to teach only to the lowest common denominator. Remember, for every brilliant kid there is one bad one, and for every bad one there is 98 completely average ones. We are not talking about 99 bad kids and one good one in a class, that is a fallacy.

      • by Atrox666 (957601)
        Oh underpriviledged kids are already shunted off quite effectively already. They don't really enjoy working their whole lives and never having anything to show for it so they take option B and rob you, or sell your kids drugs, or whore out your daughter. As a little elitist puke you have to appreciate survival of the fittest..too bad it wasn't you. Fair is fair.
        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          You sound like one of those morons who defends the Somali pirates, saying they're right to kidnap and ransom people because they have more money.

      • The bad kids need to be identified as early as possible, and shunted off into a different program where they're prepared for careers as janitors and burger-flippers, and society doesn't waste any more time or money on them than necessary.

        At what point do you label somebody a "bad kid?" I went to an honors high school, and the kids, while nerdy, still would engage in frowned upon activities... chemistry: blowing up a 5 gallon water ball with IPA and O2, slide bowling (destroying slides with a ball bearing),

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          Students achieve success in different ways, some are naturally gifted as artists, engineers, programmers, etc. Others are driven to succes by their own force of will, just outworking the other guy.
          What you essentially propose is a caste system, which can have far more destructive social impact. How does the child of an underprivilidged family ever get the resources to move to a higher caste when they are deemed at 5 years to not be capable of the "intellectual track"

          Test results usually work pretty well in

      • Yeah, taking kids who have authority problems and giving them even less power over their own lives, that'll work. That'll definitely put them in their place as the servants of the kids who obeyed the teacher!

      • by AP31R0N (723649)

        Who put astroglide on this slope?

      • by gad_zuki! (70830)

        >The bad kids need to be identified as early as possible

        and how do you propose we do this? Who gets to decide? All these kids with ADD, mental illness, abusive parents, etc will be labeled unfit instead of being helped. Talk about a real lack of basic human compassion.

        While I agree we cant educate everyone, we can at least help them towards trade schools instead of guilting them to go to college. No need to label them early on. That can only end in disaster.

    • For the good of this country, we need to concentrate on making sure our best students get the best education. This should be a higher priority than trying to make scientists out of juvenile criminals and bullies. Society doesn't need, and will never get 100% genius-status for all students, anyway. Attempts to make this happen will likely drag us all down.

      But do you have a plan for those juvenile criminals and bullies? Or are you just going to let them grow into adult criminals and get stacked into the already-overpopulated prisons?

      • Yeah, people tend to talk as though it's fine to foster antisocial criminality and hopelessness in kids, because hey, we need people to work at McDonalds too! But think a little more about that-- do you think that solves the problem?

        Don't all levels of all industries need good, hard, smart workers? Not all need the same sort of education and experience, but certainly every business benefits from not-having the employees steal from the till. All business benefit from having someone smart enough to work e

      • Re:warning! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by johannesg (664142) on Friday July 17, 2009 @03:19PM (#28734397)

        For the good of this country, we need to concentrate on making sure our best students get the best education. This should be a higher priority than trying to make scientists out of juvenile criminals and bullies. Society doesn't need, and will never get 100% genius-status for all students, anyway. Attempts to make this happen will likely drag us all down.

        Whereas society definitely does need smart people. Trying to drag them down by putting them in the same class as the stupid kids only results in endless frustration for them. Worse, as their school days will likely be filled with frustration and bullying, you risk them dropping out of school (or at least, never reaching their potential) as well.

        But do you have a plan for those juvenile criminals and bullies? Or are you just going to let them grow into adult criminals and get stacked into the already-overpopulated prisons?

        Yes, we can preventively stick them in already-overpopulated prisons before they ever reach adulthood.

        Hah, you hadn't thought of -that- now had you?

    • honors students (such as myself) were placed in an 6th-grade English class with, well, the criminal class...It was a complete disaster.

      Well sure, but part of the point I gathered from TFS (didn't RTFA) is that it doesn't really work to segregate out all the "bad kids" either, because what happens is those bad kids influence each other and the bad kids get worse.

      we need to concentrate on making sure our best students get the best education. This should be a higher priority than trying to make scientists out of juvenile criminals and bullies. Society doesn't need, and will never get 100% genius-status for all students, anyway.

      I would agree that we shouldn't be trying to make all the juvenile delinquents into scientists, but some of that might be because I don't think we should be trying to make all of anyone into scientists. I'd sooner say that there are a lot of jobs out there that need doing, and it'd

      • Re:warning! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by locofungus (179280) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:19PM (#28733585)

        but if you write kids off early and treat them as though they're useless criminals, then don't be surprised when they grow up to be useless criminals.

        It's worse than that. They might start of as useless criminals, but if they're going to go into a life of crime, three years at university^Wprison is about the best education they can get.

        Tim.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Neil Blender (555885)

      I was part of an educational experiment in which honors students (such as myself) were placed in an 6th-grade English class...I LEARNED NOTHING IN THAT CLASS!

      Apparently.

    • You know, just about that whole post was pretty twisted.

    • Re:warning! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DutchUncle (826473) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:32PM (#28733765)
      I've seen the same thing from the other side, as a probationary teacher. Class settles down, trouble-maker walks in late and then continues being disruptive, and the rest of the class period is shot. Try telling the football or basketball coach that you're going to "mainstream" the team by including below-average members, rather than selecting the most talented for the appropriate sport. Then explain why we disrupt the intellectual side of the school instead.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Mr. Firewall (578517)

        Class settles down, trouble-maker walks in late and then continues being disruptive, and the rest of the class period is shot.

        This is the best argument I've seen so far for why teachers should be allowed to keep a gun in the classroom!

        I knew an old man once whose father had grown up in Arizona back when the West was still wild. Little bitty town, one-room school, and the boys had got it figured out that as soon as they ran a new teacher out of town, they got out of school until the grownups managed to find and hire a new teacher. And I guess these little brats were vicious.

        So one day, they're back in school with a new teacher, f

    • Re:warning! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MaWeiTao (908546) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:35PM (#28733811)

      I agree. And I also feel it's time parents started being held accountable for what their kids are doing. Too many parents just don't care and that needs to change.

      I went to what most would consider inner city schools. I noticed, fairly consistently, that those kids who's parents actually paid attention to what their kids were doing tended to do well. The ones where the parents were virtually non-existent were the biggest troublemakers, troublemaker being a huge understatement. And the ones who truly excelled were the ones who's parents were demanding and didn't tolerate nonsense. It certainly wasn't a guarantee at all, but doubtless it improved the odds.

      Income seems to not make a difference, except for the obvious fact that if a kid grows up around successful chances are they will learn from them and do well themselves. Although I know quite a few people who grew up fairly well off and are quite messed up. So again, parenting is important. I think race is irrelevant but cultural background is very important. Virtually all of my Asian friends in the US are successful and excelled in school. It wasn't because of any sort of inherent ability but because their parents were extremely demanding and would never tolerate poor grades. Some parents see it as a source of pride that their kids end up in ivy league schools, almost to the point of being vain, like owning a BMW or something from Burberry.

      A problem I find with a lot of Americans is that they segregate children from adults. I'll go to a party and see the kids all sent off to the children's table and told to to interrupt adults. Growing up, whenever we had get together kids were sitting around with adults, learning from them. Sometimes the topics were mature and the kids didn't get it, but that was irrelevant. The problem with keeping them separate is that kids are stupid. So what are they going to learn from each other? Nothing but more stupidity. Certainly it's perfectly fine for kids to interact and play together, but American culture has taken it to an extreme. To the point where even kids think it's uncool to be around adults. Look at kid's television, this nonsense is constantly perpetuated. So how are they supposed to have any respect for anything and learn? Another problem is this importance a lot of parents place on their kids being sociable; the more friends they have, the more activities they engage in, the better. That's all well and good, but again, from what I've seen it causes too many problems. The moment kids get too fixated on their friends their grades suffer, among other things.

      Honestly, I don't know how parents are held accountable for their children, especially in cases where guys just knock up a girl and dump her. Not that these girls are victims themselves. I've had a few classmates who got pregnant as teenagers, but kept living the single lifestyle, going to clubs and whatnot and got pregnant with second and third children, often each by a different father. How the hell do you address that? Especially when some people don't even see the problem or don't care.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        People who consistently demonstrate they're unable or unwilling to take care of their children should be deprived of the ability to have them. It might not change their behavior, but at least they'll self-select not to perpetuate their genes and child-rearing practices.

        I really have no ideas on how to force parents to deal properly with their teenagers, though, if holding them liable financially isn't enough.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ian Alexander (997430)
      I don't think what happens in the classroom is by any stretch of the imagination the decisive formative influence on young people. Putting honors students in with the delinquents won't help because the delinquents have an entire life outside the classroom that propels them towards delinquency. Messed-up situations at home, living in a bad neighborhood, having a social network full of other people who are on the same track as them... having a good education is a component to getting out of that situation but
    • by Sir Holo (531007)

      Lord Ender: For the good of this country, we need to concentrate on making sure our best students get the best education. This should be a higher priority...

      Hmmn, reinforcing the existing class structure. Haven't we been here before?

      Those who do not have the good sense to be born into advantage deserve what they get.

      (NOTE: sarcasm)

    • Common Sense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by omb (759389) on Friday July 17, 2009 @03:20PM (#28734425)
      First, the parent is correct,

      Second, education should be about equality of opportunity, not equal achievement for all, that means that the BAD and the STUPID need to be controlled, to enable that equality to the brightest and hard working.

      You in the US are caught up in an orgy of political correctness and confusion which helps nobody and disadvantages all, and MUCH WORSE, it is second time around as Ms. Shirley Williams did exactly that in the UK in the late 60s and 70s (so the Educational Elite and teachers unions can not claim they dont know). And as Obama said "lipstick on a pig" is exactly like assuming you can make all children academic, which is the assumption (WRONG) of the academic elites.

      In Switzerland, education is streamed, and bad behavior is punished quickly, firmly and effectively, which is very likely to get the delinquent child punished physically by their own parents. The result is that we have very little crime and antisocial behavior, well educated kids who are employable, and very low taxes because people take pride in being a "Good Swiss".

      People laugh at the rediculous hi-junks in the US, where the parents (are allowed to) oppose the authorities correcting children, and except for incomers from some parts of Europe, who stand to be expelled, the native Swiss would not think of it.

      The result of this is that 4 year olds can walk to kindergarten safely, and all adults expect to stand in "loco parentis" of any child in need without phobia about paedophilia, as was the case in the rural US 40 years ago.

      Put very simply, you have very arrogantly lost your own way, and the rest of the world is now FULLY wised up to you.

      Your court system, and law, is in a complete mess vide the games SCOX have played for so many years.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I transferred schools once early in high school and at my new school I accidentally got placed in a class with the...ahem...non-honors students. For a brief time (before the school realized the mistake and pulled me out of there) I felt like a small guy showing up to his first day in prison wearing a dress and lipstick. Basically it taught me that various forms of segregation (not just racial, but by class and ability too) existed for a REASON. As politically-incorrect as it is to say it, no WAY do I want m

    • Re:warning! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Zerth (26112) on Friday July 17, 2009 @03:31PM (#28734589)

      I volunteered for a class like that. I learned many things, such as:

      1) how to pick a lock
      2) how to palm a beer into your sleeve
      3) where to buy illegal drugs
      4) classes with high female-to-male ratios are great for 3/4's of the class
      5) which uppers made you lose pregnancy weight the fastest(not too useful)
      6) "if you don't hate me, why haven't you had sex with me" means Run!, not Awesome!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AP31R0N (723649)

      This is why i say that we shouldn't focus on making class sizes smaller, but on putting more adults in the classroom. Imagine if each class had a teacher in the front and another in the back. Or a parent. The teacher can focus on teaching and the assistant can be the eyes in the back of the teacher's head.

      And yeah, i agree with separating kids by behavior and interest level. Get the problem kids together, give them the attention they crave, and work on getting them to WANT to play along and to WANT to be

  • by vadim_t (324782) on Friday July 17, 2009 @01:59PM (#28733337) Homepage

    Most people don't think they're doing something wrong. They just were hanging out with their friends, or having fun, and don't deserve getting dragged through the courts for it. The ones who prosecuted them are just a bunch of jerks, and if they don't respect me why should I respect them?

    Another possible factor is that when this happens once, the people involved probably start getting watched more and treated with more suspicion. If people are watching you more, you're more likely to get caught. And if everybody assumes you're going to steal, some people come to the conclusion they might as well go and do that, since they're being assumed to anyway.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      "Most people don't think they're doing something wrong. "
      no, most of the time they know they are doing something wrong.

      • by vadim_t (324782) on Friday July 17, 2009 @03:10PM (#28734267) Homepage

        They know but they rationalize it.

        "I know beating up people is wrong, but he was a huge jerk and deserved it"
        "I know stealing is wrong, but Walmart has a huge amount of money and can afford the loss"
        "People of $nationality/$ethnicity are really intrinsically inferior, so it's ok to treat them like crap"
        "I know I committed a crime, but the harm done wasn't that great, so I shouldn't have been punished so harshly"

        People rarely admit outright that they did something wrong, with no ifs or buts. There's nearly always some reason they feel that justifies it, or at least makes it not so bad.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      If they didn't think they were doing anything wrong, they wouldn't lie to the cops when they get caught.
  • "No boys at all" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thirty-seven (568076) on Friday July 17, 2009 @01:59PM (#28733339)
    My grandfather used to say that "One boy is a boy, two boys are half a boy, and three boys are no boy at all." Meaning that when boys get together they have less good sense than one boy by himself does.
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:11PM (#28733473) Homepage

      I like the demotivational slogan: "None of us is as dumb as all of us."

    • So basically, boys(n) = 1 - (n - 1) / 2 for all natural numbers? So 100 boys are actually -48.5 boys?

      No, wait... if one boy is a boy, and two boys are half a boy, and three boys are zero, then the value of a boy must be zero! Reminds me about that nursery rhyme about sticks and snails and puppy dog tails...

      • by Chysn (898420)

        One boy is a boy, two boys are half a boy, and three boys are no boy at all.

        So basically, boys(n) = 1 - (n - 1) / 2 for all natural numbers?

        That would be (3 - n) / 2. I have four sons, so I've got -.5 boys, which would probably surprise my wife.

    • And obviously it's true. Me and my friends were all "good kids", but we did some seriously dumb and screwed up stuff. Why? Because boys talk big, even if they don't mean it, and even if they don't know what they're talking about. And once one of your friends starts talking big, you don't want to be the one who says "no".

      I'm not sure how it works among little girls, but as a boy, you can never be the one who says, "no". You can't be the boy who's too worried about consequences to do something stupid.

      • Girls (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Voyager529 (1363959)
        The same largely holds true for girls, it's just that girls don't tend to do the same "Delinquent" things that guys do in order to prevent becoming an outcast. Girls are less likely to cause fistfights, see how well something burns, or jump off a roof onto a trampoline. Girls are more about interacting with the people around them, rather than the world around them. As such, some of the equivalent girl activities would be doing something at odds with their 'genuine loner friend' to get into the more popular
  • There's an old saying which says "birds of a feather fly together." (Or, "You can tell a man by the company he keeps.") This study implies that the behavior is being shaped by peers, instead of people associating with others who have similar behavior. This is somewhat obvious, but it doesn't seem as dumb as some people are making it out to be.
  • by Tangential (266113) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:08PM (#28733437) Homepage
    I've always maintained that the IQ of a group of boys is calculated by taking the lowest IQ in the group and dividing it by the number of boys in the group. When my son was growing up, he and his friends demonstrated this over and over. My parents maintain that when I was growing up that my friends and I did too. (They are still a little pissed about me and my friends building and testing a very, very small thermite bomb in the basement.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by geekoid (135745)

      I think the IQ of the group is the IQ of the dominant peer.

      and by peer, I mean penis.

  • by tylersoze (789256) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:10PM (#28733463)
    I love the correlationisnotcausation tag every single time an article on any study is posted. Correlation means nothing! Nothing causes anything! There is no order in the universe! It's all chaos! :)
    • by Qzukk (229616)

      correlationisanecessarybutinsufficientrequirementforcausation

      • by geekoid (135745)

        correlationdoesnnotnecessarilymeancausation

        • by radtea (464814) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:58PM (#28734109)

          correlationdoesnnotnecessarilymeancausation

          Indeed, which is why the vast majority of studies that get tagged by the moronic "correlationisnotcausation" involve some application of Mill's Methods and/or statistical and theoretical inference to demonstrate causation based on the observed correlations.

          What gets reported is the correlation, because reporters are even dumber than /. taggers, but the researchers generally have thought a little bit about elementary logical errors somewhere along the path of their experiment design.

          The tag is particularly idiotic when you consider that every correlation is caused by something, so the OP here is absolutely correct: if you really believe that there is no relationship whatsoever between correlation and causation, such that you can reflexively dismiss every reported correlation with this little snippet of nonsense, then you're pretty much committed to nothing being caused by anything.

          Tagging stories this way is completely vacuous. All it tells us is that you haven't read the study or considered whether the usual methods have been employed to properly infer causation from correlation. It would be as useful and relevant to tag all stories with "theskyisblue", which is true in one sense (although the sky happens to be overcast where I am right now) but is only true in a way that is a) known by everyone and b) adds nothing of value to the discussion.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            I know, I was being snarky. Perhaps I should have posted:

            correlationdoesnnotnecessarilymeancausation~

            My bad.

    • by Chysn (898420)

      I love the correlationisnotcausation tag every single time an article on any study is posted.

      I thought that applied largely to this sentence from the summary:

      What was more surprising is that exposure to the juvenile justice system seemed to increase the chance that the boy would engage in criminal activity as a young adult.

      Okay, so people who committed crimes as children are more likely to commit crimes as adults. It seems like this is a correlation vs. causation problem, but it really isn't. The only pro

    • Just wait until someone posts an article talking about how lead poisoning is bad for people, the deadliness of digitalis [wikipedia.org] or how reading improves your ability to understand written instructions!

  • House Arrest (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sp1n3rGy (69101)

    So does this mean we should be putting more juveniles on house arrest? It seems like the juvenile detention centers breed more crime than they prevent.

    matta

    • So does this mean we should be putting more juveniles on house arrest?

      What's to say they have no one at home as bad as what you'd find in juvie? Some families are really FUBAR.

  • by Anna Merikin (529843) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:20PM (#28733611) Journal

    Find young criminals who *have not* been caught and find out over twenty years how many crimes they committed well enough not to be caught at. Perhaps, the data might suggest, the groups studied were taught by incompetent leaders. We might be better served by studying successful criminals, who might behave differently. Or who might have been taught better work habits and techniques.

    Or mebbe the youths in the study got caught "in a game" at first, but found dealing with the police, courts, other inmates, and the jail system itself emotionally satisfying in some way. This is called "institutionalisation."

    Every year we pay for more and more police, and we get more and more crime.

    Let's try something else. But, please, not another study like this one.

  • So you are telling me that boys from a bad background that manage to stay out of juvie are also more likely to stay out of jail? Amazing!

    • by geekoid (135745)

      No, they are telling you the ones that weren't sent to juvie are over 7 times more likely to go to jail as opposed to kids that were CAUGHT, but didn't go to juvie.

      As an adult, if you get caught you aren't going to be sent home for parental punishment.

  • Most people are idiots who act like Chimpanzees.

    Label this "utterly unsurprising"

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:31PM (#28733753) Homepage
    If you mix kids with too much variety in intelligence then you either teach at a level for the smart kids and leave the stupid kids behind because they can't possibly keep up or you teach at a level for the stupid kids and the smart kids get bored and quit learning.

    It's much better to split kids up into classes that are suited to their strengths and weaknesses rather than be PC and stick 'em all together.
  • by synth7 (311220) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:34PM (#28733793) Homepage
    This reminds me of the "Broken Windows" theory. (Please, don't make the OS joke that is begging to be said.) A good explanation is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixing_Broken_Windows [wikipedia.org] Whatever the original root cause, of course, the effect is the same once it takes hold: The lowest common denominator often is the expression of the group as a whole. (Barring a really great leader of some sort.) This is expressed most succinctly in the following: http://despair.com/teamwork.html [despair.com] So bad behavior (or making poor decisions) is virus-like. The question to be answered is: can good behavior (making good decisions) also be formed to be virus-like?
  • by Jack9 (11421) on Friday July 17, 2009 @02:35PM (#28733809)

    Most important is the comment that the kids exposed to the legal system, were more likely to come back to it.

    Exposing children to the ugliness, simplicity, and experience of a system engenders them to it by removing the mystery, stigma, and fear associated with it. These feelings are replaced by familiarity. This is particularly true of technology as well.

  • They go into the juvie system, and wind up criminals? The article did not say that, but it was implied.

    Well, let's see: you are enough of a thug to get sent to juvie, and dumb enough that you got caught and sent to juvie. In juvie, your hand was lightly slapped, and you were turned loose. Get caught again, get lightly slapped again. While there, hang out with more thugs.

    Later, you turn 18, and SURPRISE, you get sent to REAL JAIL. Where you become "bubba's bitch".

    Point is, if you weren't a dumbass thug t

  • The summary would seem to indicate a classic methodology error: A selected sample.

    Were kids who were in the juvenile justice system more likely to be young-adult crooks because of peer pressure in the system? Or were they in the system because they were young crooks on their way to becoming old crooks.

    Of course to do a controlled experiment you'd have to randomly select some kids and put them into juvenile detention whether they committed any crime or not. Not particularly practical (and definitely not l

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Friday July 17, 2009 @03:11PM (#28734277) Homepage

    I put myself through college working as a night counselor at a school for boys --- one needs to remove the perceived glamour of the ``gangsta'' lifestyle, demonstrate the consequences of poor decisions and provide the rewards of mature and responsible behaviour.

    Most importantly this needs to be done regardless of the child's intellectual level --- at one meeting a fellow counselor argued that one of the students should be released because he wasn't particularly bright and was ``simply going to be a janitor when he grows up anyway'' to which another added, ``one who swipes small pilferables which won't be missed.'' --- my rejoinder was that if we kept him in the program and continued working w/ him until he successfully graduated that while he might be a janitor when he grew up, he'd be an honest one who wouldn't steal and that that was a worthwhile goal, and maybe he could be something else, but that he would never get that chance if he didn't graduate.

    He stayed in the program and I actually ran into him a couple of years later --- he was just completing an apprenticeship in the building trades and had been out of trouble since graduation.

    William

  • by Alzheimers (467217) on Friday July 17, 2009 @03:13PM (#28734337)

    Everything you need to know about young boys, you can learn by reading Lord of the Flies. [wikipedia.org]

  • by XMLsucks (993781) on Friday July 17, 2009 @03:44PM (#28734787) Journal
    Child behavior is often successfully explained (but not always) by how much loving attention a child gets from its role models, and by how much freedom the child gets in pursuing its desires (e.g., if she wants to play with Barbie, then you hurt her confidence by forbidding it, and ultimately lead her to vanity, the very opposite you wanted to achieve by forbidding Barbie). A child is often a delinquent due to insufficient loving attention, or severe repression (and well-meaning parents do a lot of repression, e.g., forcing a child to share when it clearly doesn't want to, or participating in religion). The delinquent behavior of the child is a symbolic cry for loving attention / freedom, which is completely ironic, because we all view it as the child being bad and incurable, but not crying for life. The typical societal response is to punish them in a way to make it even worse: reduce what little loving attention they had even further by locking them up, and telling them that they are bad, which they inherently won't believe. The end result is anger towards society for depriving the child of the freedom and attention that he wanted, which manifests as retaliation against society --- further crime.

    Locking kids up because they want more attention and freedom doesn't seem to be the solution, particularly since they come out with a higher probability of worse crimes against society.

  • The Death of Respect (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cowbutt (21077) on Friday July 17, 2009 @04:09PM (#28735079) Journal
    New series on BBC which seems apropos: on iPlayer [bbc.co.uk]
  • ... to explain the recent flurry of stories about US Senators that can't seem to keep their pants zipped when in the company of women they're not married to?

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