Freedom Writers analysis paper

Explaining delinquency prevention, Hawkins and Weis (1985) assert the prevention of delinquency ought to be responsive to causes as well as the interaction of etiological factors in the social development context. Fruitful delinquency prevention efforts ought to take into account the complexities characterizing causal relations and should target relevant factors in the manner they are noted to emerge and interact in the course of human development, more particularly adolescence in the case of Freedom Writers.

As per the above presentation, attention shifts to how different predictors (of delinquency) might –play out in during adolescence, one of the most significant stages of human development. Indeed, adolescence is a critical transitional period in the development of human beings and other species in the animal kingdom (Spear, 2000). In the human context, it is a crucial process of transition that involves gradual progression to maturity and general social independence. From its onset, individuals’ expectations and goals include increased social accountability, personal agency (to succeed in life) and fulfilled development and success potential. It has been conceptualized it as a psychosocial and physical rebirth process (Arnett, 2002). Many risks and challenges arise as one slowly enters the early adulthood period.The multi-faceted developmental transitions taking place during this period requires orderly reorganization of the individual as well as the context shaping emotion, cognition, social relations, and behavior. The social relations implied here are, according to Hutchinson (2015) those with peers, families, and communities (241).  Identity development has also been said to take place during this stage where an individual self-defines him/herself in the manner he or she may be different from other individuals in the society (Hutchinson, 2015; 235). That way, comprehending the challenges that arise out of the interdependence between the evolution of context and individual would not be a difficult task.  According to Steinberg (2014) and Geidd (2015), the challenges that arise here constitute the basis of resiliency, opportunity, and risk during adolescence. The social developmental model should integrate an understanding of these factors. The factors range from drug abuse to sexual infections and pregnancies to others associated with the youths’ sexual identity (Hutchinson, 2015; 255).

Freedom Writers assignment

Therefore, taking into account the challenges associated with eruptive behaviors during adolescence as well as those presented by the physical environment, the social development model should be employed to manipulate social learning processes as might be naturally occurring in the school environment. That way, more pro-social beliefs, and behaviors would be easily instilled in the students. The characteristics of individual students are associated to delinquency so they are the risk factors in the school. They include but are not limited to disruptive behaviors like aggression, opposition, as well as hyperactivity to social and cognitive defects like inattentiveness, poor performance, and low IQ.  By applying the social developmental model, effective strategies should be carved to address these factors. It is true many societies have a desire to see their youths free themselves from delinquent behaviors but they do not know what exactly should be done to achieve that (Hutchinson, 2015; 225). School engagement and general guidance and counseling would help a great deal in this regard.

The social developmental model also highlights the role played by family characteristics in delinquency. According to Tremblay and Craig (1995), strong associations exist between delinquency and characteristics like poor supervision, ineffective discipline, parental discord, parental deviance, and parental deviance. As such, it is imperative for parents and relatives of students to recognize that the way they relate to them can determine the onset or lack of delinquency. Environmental characteristics that have been linked to criminal behaviors include disorganized schools, high crime rate neighborhoods, and associations or friendships with peers who are deviant. Notably, the effects of different protective and risk factors vary in magnitude depending on the student’s developmental stages. Those who are at the peak of adolescence experience these effects most. For instance, as Hutchinson (2015) explains adolescence is the stage where many youths are exposed to alcohol and drug abuse (257)

Freedom Writers movie reflection paper

Having identified the factors (risk and protective) associated with delinquency, the objective of the social developmental model is to the factors’ causal relations and identify those that may need altering to prevent criminal activities. The point is to modify the environment the students operate in by first understanding the role it plays. In Freedom Writers, it is clear racism, segregation, and ethnic/racial profiling have played a crucial role in pushing students to delinquency (e. g gangs and gang-related violence). Curbing racism and associated discrimination would be a big stride towards addressing students’ undesirable behavior. Individual student behaviors deserve consideration in the manner they are influenced by the environment and adolescence as a stage of transition to early adulthood.  Importantly, adolescence has been known to be the stage when youths naturally develop delinquent behaviors, so effective strategies should be devised so that the students can be assisted to cope with the challenge and risks that emerge during this turbulent stage.


Geidd, J.N. (2015). The amazing teen brain. Scientific American, 312, 32-37.

Hawkins, J.D., & Weis, J.G. (1985). The social development model: An integrated approach to delinquency prevention. Journal of Primary Prevention, 6(2), 73-97.

Hirschi, T. (1969). Causes ofdelinquency. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Hutchinson, E.D.(2015). Dimensions of human behavior:The changing life course. LA: Sage Publications.

Laub, J. H., Sampson, R. J., &Allen, L. C. (1994). Explaining crime over the life course:

Toward a theory of age-graded social control. InR. Postemoster&R. Bachman

(Eds.), Explaining criminals and crime. Los Angeles: Roxbury.

Loeber, R., &Dishion, T. (1983). Early predictors of male delinquency: A review.

Psychological Bulletin, 94(1), 68-99.

Spear, L. P. (2000). The adolescent brain and age-related behavioral manifestations. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 24, 417-463.

Steinberg, L. (2014). Age of opportunity: Lessons from the new science of adolescence. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.



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