Youth Crime Essay

This could be greatly due to the sudden rise in technology around the world, it is fast becoming known that video footage of crime could be posted onto the internet faster than a phone call can be made to the emergency services to report the incident. Which is a complete turn- around to what it was like 100 years ago, serious news was the only news that ever got reported. People never heard about a vast majority of crime occurring, where as now every instance of crime committed (near enough) gets instantly posted onto the internet for the whole of society to view (Carr ND Wading, 2013).

There are endless theories as to why crime occurs and about the correct approach to combat it, the main conflict being over whether to treat young people as a threat or as a victim, which is a debate that still continues to this day (Omega, 2003). Over the years numerous strategies and intervention tactics have been implemented as an attempt to deal with this ever growing issue but as of yet none have been able to deal with the sheer number of cases that youth crime presents (Golden, 2008). As a result of this, young people ever. Here seem to be having their motives questioned u to the vast amount of stigma that surrounds the youths of today. They appear to be more independent and excluded from other age groups as they are vastly perceived by the older generations to be not only a nuisance but a true danger to society. Before the 20th century, even though juvenile crime existed, youths were not looked upon as threats or a danger as it was mostly ignored by the vast majority of people (Joyce 2006). So why the sudden change?

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Is the level of crime committed by youths actually on the rise, or is society (helped along by the media) just more aware of the issues that youth crime presents? Discussion; There are a large range of theories that circulate surrounding the reasons as to why juveniles carry out criminal activities. Some of these theories support the belief that juveniles should be looked upon and regarded as victims while other believe quite the opposite and believe they should be punished accordingly and in proportion to the crimes they commit (Seymour, 2013).

One theory that supports the latter of the Ana views is the Classicism theory. Developed out Of the enlightenment movement of the late 1 8th century, Classicism theory was based on key principles on that which the theory was established (Joyce, 2006). The first was that all crime was undertaken by rational beings, in essence the theory was based on the fact that individuals possess free will and because of this crime is committed after a specific thought process which has them weighing up the benefits and draw backs of the action they’re about to undertake.

Joyce (2006) argued the most appropriate way to deal with crime was to deal with it in a uniform manor. To have a legal code that was consistent with the crime so criminals knew the consequences for their actions. It is also stated that discretion was something active and should be avoided at all costs when dealing with criminals. The opinion was voiced that the job of magistrates and judges was to apply the law not interpret it and that punishments laid down by the law shouldn’t be up to discretion or debate.

It was also thought that the degree of punishment should always be equal to the amount of harm the crime inflicted on society. Classicism focuses on the crime not the person committing it and their reasons for doing so (the intent the criminal had is irrelevant). The final principle was that simply, the aim of the state was to deter criminals from citing rather than punish them when its too late (Joyce, 2006).

However this theory is often rejected due to the fact that there is no proof to support their ideas, there was an overemphasis on rationality (some people were mentally incapable of making rational choices and factors such as poverty could override rational thinking), it aimed to put equality before law (so rich and poor should be treated the same however, due to social divisions, access to law was unequal) and the importance of discretion was underemphasized (Burke, 2001 A theory that is the complete polar opposite of Classicism is

Positivism. This approach supports the concept that criminals do not posses free will, but instead a series of circumstances and factors influenced and motivated the person into committing the crime (Burke, 2001 ). In saying this It means that the theory condemns the punishment of wrongdoers for their actions but instead justifies removing criminals from society where more factors could influence them into committing further crime.

This theory has the view that more focus should be put on the offender. So instead of focusing on the crime the particular person committed, they should make an fort to understand the criminal and the reasons that led them to committing a crime (Banks, 2013). Another view the Positivism theory holds is that crime should be viewed as an act which breached society’s consensual values.

So instead of viewing the criminal as committing a crime, it should instead be viewed as the offender failing to adhere to the values which are placed in society, which means that the criminal is under-socialized and was unable to reflect the proper standards of behavior (Burke, 2001 However this theory is also rejected due to the following reasons. Positivism implies a total absence of free will (which cannot be proved), it promotes under- oscillation but who’s to say what the values Of society are and to the extent they exist.

It also implies that crime is a working-class phenomenon and that under-oscillation refers to those at the lower end of the social classes, which offers no explanation as to why those in superior social positions commit crime. Lastly it over-concentrates on the offender which could lead to injustices when penalties are given reflecting personal circumstances rather than the severity of the crime (Golden, 2008). According to Carr and Wading 2013) those two theories are the main and most popular theories that circulate in society. However there are many more which, in particular, offer some theories on the explanation of youth crime.

A hugely famous youth crime theory is the Labeling theory. This theory argues that the behavior or self-identity of a juvenile can be highly influenced by the labels or terms that are used to classify them (Banks, 2013). The theory promotes rehabilitating young people rather than to simply punish and then release the offenders as this attaches a label in which society views the juveniles (Burke, 2001). Due to his label, it could be seen that juveniles have no choice other than to live up to the labels presented to them and that labeling a youth as a criminal has adverse affects as to what was desired.

It argues that by labeling someone as a criminal it traps them into that career and fulfils a self fulfilling prophesy (Carr and Wading, 2013). Another thing that crime has often been linked to is the level of intelligence an individual has. The common theory is that if someone has a lower level of intelligence then they will be more likely to struggle during education and could be more likely to rebel in the form of rimming acts. However saying this, intelligence is often a feature in unsuccessful criminals (That’s to say, those who are caught) (Burke, 2001).

One more theory which is getting more apparent in today’s society is Stress theory (Burke, 2001). This theory suggests that stress among young people (such as a breakdown of family stability) is a direct factor linked to crime as it produces pressures that can lead to criminal behavior. Thrills and excitement are also linked and is often the reason why juveniles who are stressed will commit crime. They seek to satisfy excitement desires through lenient activities (tagging and writing graffiti).

Also theft is usually committed not for the reward but for the thrill of the chase or for the distraction (Banks, 2013). Stress can also cause a strong desire of the juveniles to be free of parental control. The argument is that the teen will become increasingly angry about factors such as parents control over appearance, school work and curfew hours (for example) and this will make the juvenile much more likely to commit a crime (Banks, 2013). Lower class youths attempt to satisfy middle class standards, such as education.

This can dead to status frustration and stress which results engaging in delinquent activities to earn a street status. Aside from this lower class juveniles tend to have less money and live in an area where acts of delinquency are normal and accepted or where there is little to do other than engage in such acts (Golden, 2008). Strategies; As youth crime has been a constant issue since at least the 1 ass’s, there have been hundreds of intervention strategies that have been implemented in a vain attempt to control the sheer number of juvenile offences occurring each year (Omega, 2003).

The first ever recorded intervention strategy was implemented in 1 792 when the Royal Philanthropic Society opened a juvenile centre in London to take convicted children who might otherwise be transported abroad. In 1797 it started to support offending children after leaving the centre which was possibly the first scheme of its type (Bateman and Hazel, 2014). The year 1823 saw prison ships introduced to house young offenders which was the first government sponsored institution that separated young offenders from adults.

However it was strongly criticizes for being harsh and cruel and the last of these closed in 1846. After this, there were no major strategy that got implemented until 1 902 saw the first barstool institution for young males open on an experimental basis near Rochester in Kent (Bateman and Hazel, 2014). The 1 9th century also saw legislations introduced that broadened the meaning of crime to include things that had previously been known and thought of as nuisances (e. G. Stealing apples from orchids and public gambling).

While crime rates for adults were rapidly declining the opposite was happening to the youth crime rates. However there might have been reason for this as it was known that the conviction ate owed more to the harsh and aggressive nature of the police and courts in conviction and sentencing rather than the declining behavior of youths (Golden and Muncie, 2006). Plus the crime largely happening were all non- indictable offences, such as drunkenness, begging, loitering and dangerous play.

From the late sass’s works started to feature youth crime and it was publicized greatly, mostly in the media (newspapers) but also in professional and academic works and was highlighted as a huge problem. This created a large amount of stigma be;en the generations of people at the time (Golden and Muncie, 2006). The 1 ass’s decade opened with a report called “the Ingle report” which identified one major weakness in the way which youth crime was being tackled in courts.

This was the confusion between having a duty for the welfare of the child or youth to be paramount (rehabilitation) and the notion of youths getting ‘their just desserts’ in form of court trails and sentencing (Golden and Muncie, 2006). There was also a popular program called the Scared Straight program which began in the sass’s and involved bringing juveniles at a believed risk of offending into prisons to meet real life prisoners so as to be exposed to the graphic stories f prison as to put juveniles off of committing crime.

The programs aim to give a sharp shock to juveniles by showing them the consequence of crime. However, this program was widely unsuccessful as it was shown that crime rates actually increased with juveniles on this program, it is believed to happen because it may have a diverse effect and actually romanticism prison life and the inmates (Banks, 2013). There are a high level Of therapy intervention techniques that are currently being used in an attempt to combat youth offending, the favorite one being Multiplicities Therapy (MOST) Banks, 2013).

It was first implemented from the United States and Canada, its focus is mainly on serious and high-risk youths. It combines multiple therapy techniques such as cognitive-behavioral family therapies and behavioral parent training. It does this as it acknowledges that the young people will be embedded in a number of different social environments like the community, families and their peer groups and so this technique aims to combat all of these (Banks, 2013). Another form of therapy currently used is Function Family Therapy (FT).

It was designed several years ago and it is a worth term intervention strategy and is designed to be delivered by therapists at home. This means It is less intensive than the MOST strategy and costs a lot less and so is often the more popular option for the government. It targets youths between 1 1 and 18 years of age who have issues with delinquency, substance abuse or violence. It aims to enhance problem solving skills along with improving the family environment by working on the emotional connections and strengthening the family structure (Banks, 2013).

The last popular therapy intervention strategy is Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MATCH). This system differs from MOST and FT in the fact that the young person does not continue to live at home, but rather in a therapeutic living environment with the aid of foster parents. This strategy is aimed at youths with serious delinquency issues. This course is unique from other therapy strategies due to the fact that ongoing supervision is provided after the course is complete (Banks, 2013).

All these therapies work hand in hand with the previously mentioned Stress theory, it does this as its acknowledged reasons for criminal behavior may be from stresses such as family breakdowns, peer pressure groups and other outside factors. All these therapy techniques aim to reduce the stress in a young person’s life, whether it be through one possible causes or a number of them, which could help them to steer away from possible criminal activities. There are already plans for a series of intervention tactics that will hopefully aid the future generation in battling youth crime.

At present there is heavy emphasis on the importance of education of young people and the opportunity to rehabilitate offenders. This is because it is believed that if education was available to youth offenders then there would be a lower refunding rate due to the fact that if hey emerge from custody with qualifications and skills then they would have an easier time with fitting back into society, getting a job and getting out of crime. Which links back to the theory that intelligence is key in the reason why some juveniles may commit delinquent acts.

There are current plans to build a secure college for 2017, where it will house a little over 300 young offenders aged 12 to 1 7 (Cassini, 2014). This secure college would increase a youth offenders studying hours from as little as 1 2 hours a week to at least 24, doubling the amount Of time they spend in the classroom. This scheme will playfully give young people that chance to change their lives once they are released, however there is skepticism regarding this strategy as some people believe that the young people this scheme is aimed towards won’t take advantage of the hours studying and instead will refuse to learn.

There is also arguments that state that it would be money wasted (the amount currently thought to be needed to build this secure college is around EWE million) as youths will just revert back to crime after their time is completed (Cassini, 2014). Conclusion; Youth perception has changed dramatically over the course of the last two centuries. As shown, it began as something that was not recognized or acknowledged as an apparent problem (with little strategies implemented or introduced, apart from the centre in London in 1792 and the prison ships in 1823) and has now come to be a huge part of our society (Bateman and Hazel, 2014).

As discussed, there are many theories as to why youth crime exists and its causes, the ones discussed being Classicism theory, Positivism theory, Labeling theory and Stress theory. Even though these are just a handful of theories circulating, as in reality there are hundreds Of different ideas and concepts that are active today (Banks, 2013). It is obviously apparent that within the last centenary that youth crime has become a major focus of the police and governments time, with a large influx of strategies and interventions that have been created.

Various therapy programs to help combat reasons for delinquency in teenagers, shock tactics and education related programs have all be tried and tested but as of yet little progress has been made in respects to the amount of delinquent acts caused by young offenders (Bateman and Hazel, 2014). It has been argued that juvenile crime has always been around the level that it is now, but rather than juvenile behavior becoming more extreme, our reaction and publication of it has increased.

That is to say, with the creation of things such as the Ingle report, youth crime was publicized to an extent where it became a common talking point of media focus which made society more aware of the issues juveniles present (Carr and Wading, 2013). As an extent to this it could be argued that because society is more aware of juvenile crime as a whole, that more cases are being noticed, more and more instances are now being classed as crimes when before they were just categorized as simply nuisances.