Influence of Family Structure on Development of Male Juvenile Delinquency: A Case of Kamiti Youth Correction and Training Center Kiambu County, Kenya
The rising cases of delinquent behavior among male teenagers is a feedback of sorts that the family structure, which is the nurturing context of children has failed to effectively insulate the teenagers against negative influences. The purpose of this study was to establish the influence of the family structure on male juvenile delinquency at the Kamiti Youth Correction and Training Center (KYCTC), in Kiambu County, Kenya. The study was guided by Family Systems Theory (FST), which views the family as the primary context where the members of the structure relate with each other precipitating the development of individual character traits and patterns of behavior. Therefore, FST practitioners attribute outcomes of an individual to manifestations of sequences of family interaction. The study used purposive sampling method and simple random technique to select a sample of 68 males aged between 15 and 18 years from a target population of 120 delinquents at the KYCTC. Purposive sampling was used to juveniles between 15 and 18 years while random sampling technique was used to select the main sample of 68 out of the population of 120.The study used the ex post facto research design. In this study data was collected through interviews, Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and self-administered questionnaire. Quantitative data collected through questionnaires was analyzed using descriptive statistics with the help of SPSS version 25.0 and qualitative data collected through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions was analyzed through thematic analysis. The study established that majority, 23(33.6%) of the juveniles came from families where parents were absent, 21(30.9%) came from single parents and 16(23.5%) were from grandparent led families. Two-parent families were the least represented among the juvenile delinquents with 8(11.8%) respondents. The findings of the study indicate that a two-parent family structure presents the least risk of breeding juvenile delinquency while, the greatest risk was presented by the absent family structure. These findings point to the critical role the family structure plays in the development and(or) prevention of juvenile delinquency. Based on the findings of this study, the paper recommends that family-centric intervention measures be put in place, considering factors such as: sensitization on the critical role the family structure plays in combating juvenile delinquency, strengthening of the parenting role; encouragement of co-parenting in case of separation; coordination of key stakeholders including the children’s department, correction institutions and religious organizations.
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