Phenomenology of Juvenile Delinquency

Main Article Content

Donna Salih


This study uses a phenomenological approach in investigating juvenile delinquency as a distinct phenomenon experienced by children-in-conflict-with-the-law (CICL) to answer the following research question – what are the lived experiences of CICL and how do their experiences inform decisions and solutions to their situation? Respondents from a regional juvenile rehabilitation facility catering to male CICLs in the Bicol Region, Philippines were selected using purposive and convenience sampling methods. Unstructured in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted and field notes (memos) were also utilized. Explicitation of data was done using a five-step phenomenological method.  Three themes emerged from the study with its respective sub-themes. The first theme is search for connection. This theme encompasses the respondents’ family background and peer relations. The search for connection code refers to any narration of the respondent regarding his family and peer experience prior to his arrest that indicates an unconscious desire to bond with someone. From this theme, three sub-themes emerged: (a) permissive parenting style; (b) diverse set of friends; and (c) early exposure to addictive substances and unhealthy practices. The second theme is feeling of helplessness, which includes the respondents’ lived experience with the five pillars of the criminal justice system. Three sub-themes emerged from this second theme: (a) ineffective duty bearers; (b) violation of rights as CICL; and (c) resigned attitude on commitment to the center. The final theme that emerged is fear of the future. This theme focuses on the respondents’ perception about their future, including their hopes and aspirations once they are discharged from the center. Two sub-themes emerged from this final theme: (a) inability to trust non-offenders and (b) coping behavior for low self-esteem. Recommendations for future research were made based on the results of the study.

Article Details

How to Cite
Salih, D. (2024). Phenomenology of Juvenile Delinquency. Journal of Management and Development Studies, 10(2), 24–41. Retrieved from