Juvenile Delinquency in Ancient Vs. Modern Times

Posted on October 3, 2023

Paper Instructions

Academic level – Undergrad. 1-2
Type of paper – Analysis
Topic Title – Juvenile Delinquency in Ancient vs. Modern Times
Compare and contrast juvenile delinquency in ancient times with juvenile delinquency in modern times. Provide examples of delinquency in each period.

Analysis Sample

Juvenile delinquency is a complicated and long-standing issue that has existed throughout history. The dynamics of teenage misbehavior have evolved significantly between ancient and modern eras, even though the fundamental premise remains similar. While juvenile delinquency types of crimes and approaches in ancient times differ from those in modernity, the reasons for this misconduct are the same.

The issue of juvenile delinquency existed in ancient periods within the boundaries of early civilizations such as the Roman Empire. A child under puberty was considered incapable of committing crimes due to their lack of intellectual capacity, preventing them from being held responsible and sentenced fully in Roman law (Antošovská, 2019). As a result, juvenile misbehavior was less distinct in ancient times because the notion of a unique juvenile period was nonexistent. Delinquent conduct among young people was frequently tied to social, economic, or familial situations in countries such as ancient Rome. Children who engaged in stealing, vandalism, or other illegal actions generally came from destitute or damaged homes. In the ancient era, such criminals were punished out of law severely without any chance to improve their behavior. Thus, in the past, the concept of adolescent misbehavior in Rome and other ancient cities was based on survival considerations rather than psychological or developmental issues.

Today, juvenile delinquency is a widely recognized problem in modern society and has spread more among young boys and girls. The movement in the knowledge and perception of adolescent delinquency develops regularly in modern countries. Due to the recognition of childhood as a separate and essential stage of development, a greater emphasis on psychological, social, and educational aspects that contribute to delinquent conduct evolved. The growth of technology and media expansion has been critical in contemporary times, introducing new types of misbehavior. Children encounter subcultures and bands that emerge from their environment, with gangs often engaging in illegal activities like fighting, robberies, car thefts, assaults, thefts, and drug trading (Delcea et al., 2019). Over time, societal reactions to juvenile misbehavior have also changed due to the enhancement of the justice system in most countries. Now, people encourage rehabilitation and support of such kids and teenagers rather than punishing them. Therefore, nowadays, juvenile delinquency has become more widespread among children, with different approaches to dealing with this problem emphasizing rehabilitation.

Even though juvenile delinquency in ancient times differs from modernity, the causes for such criminal behavior remain the same. In ancient Rome, the influencing factors were the legal, social, and cultural environment in which the child’s existence was taking place, in which he or she would violate the established standards and be handled appropriately (Antošovská, 2019). Kids violated the law, for example, to alleviate hunger or fend for themselves due to parental absence. Most children nowadays resort to crime for the same reasons; also, teenagers engage in cyberbullying and other offenses due to psychological factors. Studies show that not all stressed individuals become delinquent; it depends on life experiences, lower socioeconomic groups, economic status, and cultural values (Delcea et al., 2019). Recognizing that many delinquent acts result from underlying difficulties such as economic problems or mental health concerns allows for a fairer approach to children in court. Hence, despite different types of crime and approaches, juvenile delinquents have similar causes for criminality now and in the past.

In conclusion, although juvenile delinquent offenses and methods have changed throughout time, the underlying causes of this misbehavior in ancient civilizations and now have remained similar. Children in ancient Rome were not recognized as criminals officially but still resorted to crime for social and economic factors. In modernity, kids engage in a more diverse criminal world partially due to the same reasons as their ancestors.


Antošovská, T. (2019). Children as culprits and criminals: children in mischief, delict, and crime in Roman Empire. Graeco-Latina Brunensia, 24(2), 5-18. https://doi.org/10.5817/GLB2019-2-1

Delcea, C., Fabian, A. M., Radu, C. C., & Dumbravă, D. P. (2019). Juvenile delinquency within the forensic context. Romanian Journal of Legal Medicine, 27(4), 366-372. https://doi.org/10.4323/rjlm.2019.366

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