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The theory of strain pertains to the juvenile justice system mainly in that it purports to explain why some youths end up as delinquents. The theory of strain holds that some people are so overwhelmed by the strain put upon them by society that they commit deviant acts. For example, many youths from poor backgrounds do not have any socially acceptable ways to achieve wealth or prestige in society. Wealth and prestige are socially acceptable goals, but these youths have no socially acceptable ways to achieve them. This fact leads them to act in deviant ways. They try to achieve these goals through deviant behaviors such as drug dealing or gang membership. Thus, strain theories can help to explain why some youths end up coming into contact with the juvenile justice system.
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