Outline The Main Ways By Which Offending By Children And Young People May Be Prevented. Explain Any Conflicts You Feel May Exist With The Principles Of Human Rights And Natural Justice.
The aim of the question stated is to discuss how the New Labour Government has responded in terms of preventing children and young people from engaging in criminal behaviour and entering the youth justice system. In order to answer this statement the essay shall explore the various legislations implemented in an attempt to prevent youth criminality, discussing any conflicts that exist with the principles of Human Rights and Natural Justice.
In Britain there are two types of Law, firstly Statutory Law, ...view middle of the document...
Concerns about youth criminality have escalated in to many numerous moral panics over recent years, which have had a great impact upon the youth justice policy. The Government’s response to this concern was to prevent offending or re-offending by young people and to stop making excuses for youth crime (Home Office; 1997). It is a common belief that children and young people who start committing offences at an early age will be more likely to become serious and persistent offenders (Home Office; 1997). There is no simple explanation to address why young people offend, but there are suggested risk factors that can have the potential to influence a young person. These range from ‘psychological, family, social, economic and cultural factors, plus of course the opportunity to commit an offence’ (Home Office; 1997).
Offending behaviour can be correlated with social disadvantage and poverty; it has been have suggested that those young people living in deprived areas are at greater risk of being perpetrators of crime (Home Office; 1997). The following factors are associated with youth crime:
‘Being male; brought up by criminal parent(s); living in a family with multiple problems; experiencing poor parenting and lack of supervision; poor discipline in the family and at school; playing truant or being excluded from school; associating with delinquent friends; and having siblings who offend’ (Home Office; 1997).
Following the victory of the general Election of May 1997, the New Labour Government of Tony Blair published six documents on the subject of youth crime that each contained considerable discussion of various proposals that had been first outlined in the pre-election discussion paper ‘Tackling Youth Crime, Reforming Youth Justice’ (Crawford & Newburn; 2003). Eventually, the proposals put forward in this paper were largely unchanged and published into ‘the government’s flagship legislation, the Crime and Disorder Act 1998’ (Newburn; 2002: p560). This Act implemented the key elements of Labour’s ‘new youth justice’ (Crawford & Newburn; 2003). This entailed the establishment of the Youth Justice Board (JYB), ‘the restructuring of the non-custodial penalties available to the youth court’ (Newburn; 2002: p560), and the creation of Youth Offending Teams (YOTS). The Government’s White Paper ‘No More Excuses’ noted that there had been:
‘Confusion about the purpose of the youth justice system and principles that should govern the way in which young people are dealt with by youth justice agencies. Concerns about the welfare of young people have too often been seen as in conflict with the aims of protecting the public, punishing offences and preventing offending’ (Home Office 1997 cited in Crawford & Newburn; 2003: p12).
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 for the first time contained an overall mission for the youth justice system this was:
‘It shall be the principle aim of the youth justice system to prevent offending by children...