My experience on labeling has not been good. My mother used to tell me all the time that I'll be just like my father. My father was a repeat criminal and still continues to get in trouble with the law. As a young child growing up hearing this that became my future. If you hear something long enough, you start to believe it, when you believe it long enough it becomes true. So during my early teens I got in trouble a lot, I can tell once you start there is very little to stop you. The people that are supposed to provide rehabilitation do a minimal job and basically everyone else gives up on you. As a kid or teen its hard to truly purvey what you feel, so that lack of articulation works against you also. Thank God! For the Internet through the Internet I found guidance and answers to the questions I was looking for. Anyway, constant labeling and reinforcement that label will cause the child to become what he/she is being labeled as.
Some may get the impression that "criminal" is part of their identity or "who they are". We need to reinforce the message that a person who is at one point in time a "criminal" or even just "bad" does not have to always be so. A person can "change". By emphasizing that the labeling effect would lose its power.
The labeling theory is a theory in the Juvenile Justice system that constitutes that if a child is labeled a criminal they will become one. I believe you have the choice to be whoever you chose to be. If you committed a crime and are labeled a Juvenile Delinquent, obviously you were already committing crimes previously. Children shouldn't blame the system for their own mistakes. This theory is just allowing children to make excuses for themselves and not own up.