Most juveniles who commit murder single-handedly have experienced a deep sense of frustration or felt cornered, with many contemplating or attempting suicide, according to a study released Wednesday by a research arm of the Supreme Court.
The report was complied by the Research & Training Institute for Family Court Probation Officers.
The group, which includes probation officers, court judges, teachers, psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, has been studying the rise in heinous youth crimes with the help of outside experts. It is the first study of its kind supported by the nation’s top court.
The report’s authors said they hope the paper will help authorities directly involved in handling juvenile crime cases better understand the kind of people they are dealing with.
The institute selected 15 cases of murder or injury that resulted in death and were committed by youths between 1997 and 1999. Of these, 10 were committed by individuals, while the other five were perpetrated by groups of two or more minors.
The 10 youths who were alone in committing their crimes were grouped into three categories: teens who showed “problem behavior” when they were young children, those who appeared to be ordinary youths on the surface, and those who experienced a major setback in their formative years.
The study group said that youths in all three groups bore some similarities. They all had a very narrow scope of vision, which led them to contemplate only destructive measures to help them alleviate painful experiences, such as being bullied at school or having a meddling mother, the researchers said.
Of the 10, seven said they had thought about killing themselves or attempted to do so. Many of them had a strong sense of inferiority, which in some cases appeared to have derived from their family environment.
The study also found that even in cases where the youth appeared to have committed the crime out of the blue, there were premonitory signs and that active communication and information exchange between schools and child welfare centers proves pivotal in spotting potential problems before they escalate into crimes.
As for the crimes committed by two or more youths, the researchers found violent behavior escalated through the interaction between the ring leader and his subordinates.
The report will be distributed to corrective facilities and family courts, and will also appear in pamphlet form in late June, institute officials said.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.