The Social Construction of Deviant behavior in Homeless and Runaway Youth

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Deviance is defined by non-compliance to certain rules or norms in society. Some people think of deviance as something bad.

Not all deviant behaviors are bad. Moreover, some deviant behavior becomes bad due to some factors. The article that will be studied here showed how some deviant behavior of youth was triggered by wrong implementation and wrong practices of law enforcers. The article entitled, The Social Construction of Deviant behavior in Homeless and Runaway Youth: Implications for practice, written by Bart Miles and Scott Okamoto examined the social factors that contributed to the runaway and homeless youth’s deviant behavior.

The findings of their study were divided into ‘themes’. The first theme or first finding was that, there are a lot of ambiguities when it comes to policies for the youth. Ambiguity on these policies is evident because the homeless youth do not know these policies, and even some police are not aware of the policies. The city should have publicized these laws so that those homeless and runaway youths would know their limitations and would not be surprised if they were taken by the police for camping and panhandling.

The second theme was the poor enforcement of anti-homelessness policy. One respondent in the interview done by the researches said that sometimes implementation of the policies depends on the cop, if the cop is busy or bored. Because of the factors mentioned above, the youth found adaptive behaviors. First, they tried to avoid authority.

This resulted to a game similar to hide and seek. As police actively seek for homeless youths, the latter would continue to hide. Next, the homeless and runaway youths also developed a way to resist authorities.One way of resisting authorities is by going to a popular coffee house, and then they will pick up an empty cup with the coffee house logo, pretend that they are customers and they will do this in front of a police who is watching them. The researchers employed proper methods of research and investigation that is why they were able to come up with good results. As they started with review of related literature, they are already giving hints and focus of their study to the readers.

The employment of qualitative methods of research was also appropriate for this kind of inquiry since the data needed in this study require in-depth conversations. This study would be beneficial for practitioners. For law enforcers or police, it would be best to review the law related to homelessness. The homeless youth seem to know better about the law.

The implementation is also questionable. The case of homeless youth should also be taken cared of social workers. Since most of them are harassed y the police it would be better if they will just be taken cared of by social workers.

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