Juvenile delinquency and single-parent homes: a socialist feminist analysis

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Virginia Tech


This paper critiques the state of knowledge concerning the relationship between broken homes and delinquency. It applies a socialist-feminist theoretical framework to the analysis of the study of juvenile delinquency and broken homes. The aim of this paper is to look closely at the possibility of differential law enforcement in perpetuating the flawed perception that juveniles from “broken” homes are more delinquent than juveniles from “intact” homes. Elements include: comparisons of rates of delinquency for juveniles from single-parent and traditional homes as well as comparison of numbers of interactions with the police, judicial system and correctional facilities for juveniles from different family structures.

Analysis reveals that while there is no difference in rates of delinquency for juveniles from single-parent homes and traditional homes, there are some differences when family structure is broken down into categories based on reason for father’s absence. Policy implications and areas for future research are explored.



family structure, feminism, juvenile delinquency