How could the Youth Justice System be improved (UK)
Intro: Youth defined, history of YJS from mid 1800s, social construction
Current style of YJ: pros and cons of the current style, what could be changed cheaply and easily? what has been changed over last 20 years?
Review of the YJS by gov.uk -
Misspent youth report critiqued
Crime and disorder act 1998 “It shall be principle aim too youth justice system to prevent offending by children and young persons” brought about by Bulgar case
YOTs (Youth Offending Teams) - Local authorities arrange multi agency YOTs- police - youth workers - social workers/probation officer/health officer. aimed to prevent crime through risk intervention.
Early intervention - aim was to ‘nip offending in the bud’ - asses how risky a neighbourhood was, supportive intervention because using data to find the most affected area.
Changes that should be considered?
Look at Youth crime action plan - had the target of reducing 1st time entrants to the YJS by a fifth by 2020. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http:/www.justice.gov.uk/publications/docs/youth-crime-action-plan.pdf
Modern restorative justice has been inspired by NZ and AUS indigenous practices. (Johnstone, 2011) and (Dignan 2005) - 3 specific philosophical strands.
Persistent young offenders - Identify offenders most involved in crime. (using the 80/20 rule) discuss validity of this, and accounting for the unknown number of crime. Could have a diffusion of benefits as those few hardened youth criminals may be the instigator in attracting their peers to become involved in crime. It may well be true that those few select youth offenders may also be involved in other types of crime? and so there could be a reduction in other types of crime. However hard to identify the select few. (Marvin Wolfgang et al 1972) (West and Farrington 1977). Although this could lead to labelling of the offender
(Becker quote 1963: 4) “Social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance, and by applying those rules to particular people and labelling them as outsiders. From this point of view… the deviant is one to whom the label has been successfully applied; deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label”
Social Learning theory (Bandura 1977) criminal behaviour is learned through operant conditioning. crime runs in families - research (Farrington and Welsh 2007 pg 57) shows ‘criminal and antisocial parents tend to have delinquent and antisocial children.
Their study found that 63% of boys with convicted fathers had convictions themselves.