Jim Wallis interview of criminologist John DiIulio was commendable ("With Unconditional Love," September-October 1997). Finally, amidst all the calls for getting tough and "cracking down" on troubled youth, DiIulio offered the simple notion that what these children really need is unconditional love and compassion (something that most of them have never experienced).
My friends involved in juvenile court have been deprived of a true family experience. All are victims of abuse, neglect, and/or poverty. Interestingly, most of them have never known their biological fathers. My peers resort to drugs not because they want to impress anyone, but rather because they are searching for an escape, however temporary, from the misery and depression which engulfs them.
Juvenile delinquency is rampant, and it is destructive. However, bearing in mind the true causes of delinquency, I cannot morally justify punishment or imprisonment as a means of dealing with these young victims of circumstance. Children are nothing more than mirrors of [their] society.