Criminology - Youth Crime and Justice

  • Created by: Shelly23
  • Created on: 12-01-17 10:52

Children and Young People

  • In the UK there is not a single law the defines the age of a child. Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the rights of a child (1989) states that "a child means every human being bellow the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child" (p2)
  • The majority of American stated and European countries have also adopted the UN definition of a child and apply it to their crimminal justice system
  • Young people are not a homogenous group - range of issues and backgrounds like ethnicity, social class, gender, health and education
  • Still developing physically and emotionally - dynamic, must more open to change
  • Dependent on others: social enviroment, financially, housing, care, rules, education, boundries (may differ according to care status)
  • Needs of children and young people are very different to adults
  • Therefore each young person is an individual with individual experiences and individual needs - this should be reflectd in prevention, assessment, intervention and treatment models
  • Impacted by all attitudes, policy, practice that related to all children and young people.

Context of Youth Crime

Morgan and Newburn, 2012 - conflict between welfare and punishment paradigms

  • Welfare - 'the child as having limited responsibility because his or her capacity has yet to realised, is deserving of protection, and has needs which should be met as a duty owed to the child by society'
  • Punishment - 'a responsible person exercising choice, the bearer of rights which must be respected through legal due process, but ultimately deserving punishment proportionate to culpability'

McAra (2010) conflict between restorative and actuarial crimminal justice paradigms

  • Restorative - recognises both the child's responsibilities and entitlements, bring the victim and yong person together, inclusve approach
  • Acturial - see the child in terms of a capacity for wrongdoing, interventions justified on preventative grounds in line with the future risks of offending/re-offending

'The Young People of Today'

Social change: a deterioration of society and morals or misplaces nostalgia - generation gap, increasing blur between dependence and inderpendence, increase in liberal attitudes and values. 

Pearson (2006) - 'we are in the midst of a 'moral panic' concerning hoodies, knife attacks, gangsta rap, gun culture, ASBOs, chavs and bling and the rest of it. '

Deviant Behaviour or Criminal Behaviour?

  • Demonisation of all children and young people for 'normal' behaviour - alienation, labelling
  • Devient and offending behaviour part of the transformation into adulthood, pushing boundrieseg sexual experimentation 30% of boys and 26% of girls reported having consensual intercourse before the legal age of 16 years (The Brook Centre, 2005)
  • Search for independence and approval from peers
  • Tend to engage in devient behaviour for short periods of time
  • Impact of media - national, international, social media
  • 'Just kids being kids' attitude can also be dangerous - sexual experimentation or harmful sexual behaviour
  • Balance between acknowladging devience, offending and responding appropriatlely

Early Youth Crime and Policy

  • The Youth Offenders Act 1854 - certification of voluntary reformatory schools for convicted offenders under 16 years


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