A New Response to Youth Crime


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Raval and Ric Tan Legada. In fact the rules on children in conflict with the law are just adaptation of the existing adult-oriented rules so that some of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act will be complied with. The settings are the same, most of the rules are the same and even the technical language is the same as the ones used for adults. This adult-oriented mentality is also evident in the conflicting provisions within the Rules on Children in conflict with the law.

Crime: Crash Course Sociology #20

For example, the rules allow children to be detained in adult jails79 in contravention with the clear mandate of the juvenile justice and welfare act that children shall only be committed to the care of the local social welfare department The courts might have felt good for saving the public from the children in conflict with the law but in reality they did not. They just condemned children to the horrendous jail condition by simply not being faithful to fundamental distinction between child and adult. Politicization of Issues The same adult-oriented mentality and infidelity to the fundamental distinction between adult and child fuel the unending calls to lower the minimum age of criminal liability.

It is as if that the number of suffering children are not yet enough, so as to condemn even younger children to this problematic system. In the Philippine congress today a number of bills are filed to amend the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of Most of the proponents in the Philippine House of Representatives want to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 76 Family Courts Act of , R.

As gleaned from the experiences of the other countries87, the development of the juvenile justice system can be seen as very volatile and unstable88 because of the balancing act that every state has to undergo in order to strike a balance between and among the issues involved. In fact sometimes it becomes a cycle already. Muncie and B. Goldson, Comparative youth justice Sage Publications Limited Bernard and M. Bishop and Scott H. After a while, when the system becomes too lax, there will be calls again to make it tougher and harsher which will again ignite calls to make it more rehabilitative again.

There is no easy way to answer the issues because even though the issues have already been answered for so many times, in practice the youth justice system will still adapt to the political environment within the country. Such is the case in America 90, Canada91, England and Wales92 and many other countries including the Philippines.

Julian Roberts offers two strategies to respond to public pressure: the first is to inform the public thoroughly on the laws, policies and state of implementation of the youth justice system; and second to improve the quality of public opinion research. First, thorough public education will minimize the assumptions that the public and the policy makers create about children. Policies based on untested assumptions about children worried Cunningham94, so must it concern the public.

The following are my recommendations to address the challenges and to synthesise the two objectives using the left realist perspective: 1. The age of criminal responsibility should be the same as the age a child attains the age of majority.


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Catherine Eliott95 argues that the age of criminal liability should be logically placed at the age when the minors leave school or are already 90 ibid. She argues that children should be regarded as not responsible not only because they lack capacity and choice but because they lack personal autonomy. The change is also faithful to the distinction between adult and child as this would pave the way for a truly separate youth justice system from the adult-oriented justice system.

Since children are on their formative years, they should be taught individual responsibility and accountability. Offending children should be dealt with by the system. The minimum age of children who should be subjected to intervention program should be the normal age of going to grade school. Children who offend should not be subjected to the adult criminal justice procedure.

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There should be a separate youth system that is not an adaptation of the adult oriented system. The welfare tribunal should decide 1 if the child is the perpetrator of the offense, 2 decide what intervention should be given to the child and, 3 decide what intervention should be given to the victim. The welfare tribunal may use restorative justice in order to ensure that the victims may be able to participate in the process of resolving the effects of the crime.

The procedure of the welfare tribunal should be informal and developmentally appropriate. In order to teach children responsibility and accountability, the welfare tribunal may impose child-oriented and developmentally appropriate punishment to the child based on the Beijing Rules. Since children cannot be criminally liable, their parents and guardian may be held criminally liable for being remiss in their duties to rear their children properly. Community-based intervention should be preferred over institution based intervention. It should be clear, however, that committing the child to this secure home is not a punishment, it is only meant to incapacitate the child.

Therefore the children may be committed in the institution not based on the crime that they commit but for the risk that they pose to themselves and to others. While in the secure facility, the child should be given intervention programs that are directed towards addressing the causes of the risk. Left realism provides an overarching objective on how to stitch seemingly competing interventions into one coherent system that is to control juvenile delinquency by providing holistic interventions to the four elements of the square of the crime In order to control crime, a youth justice system should be able to address the public demands for justice and protection but at the same time provide the child an opportunity to grow to be a full citizen.

The only way that this could be put together is to look at the problem with a child-oriented perspective as looking the other way around has only contributed to the confusion of the debate. Memmo, 'Contemporary models of youth development and problem prevention: Toward an integration of terms, concepts, and models' , vol 53 Wiley Online Library 3 Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

Caplan G, 'Principles of preventive psychiatry. Kohlberg L, 'The philosophy of moral development: Moral stages and the idea of justice' Locke J, Second treatise of government Macpherson, C. McAra L, 'Welfare in Crisis?


  1. Negative Youth Justice: Creating the youth crime ‘problem’ - Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice.
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  5. Piaget J, 'Part I: Cognitive development in children: Piaget development and learning' 2 3 Journal of research in science teaching Rule on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law , A. Small S and Memmo M, 'Contemporary models of youth development and problem prevention: Toward an integration of terms, concepts, and models' 53 1 Family Relations 3. Young J, 'The criminological imagination' Polity Press Another influential theorist is James Q. Wilson who believed that the problem of crime is such a hard problem to resolve, so in the meantime the offenders should be incapacitated while lasting solutions are being thought about.

    Both Clarke and Wilson will have a problem advocating for the first objective but will definitely go for the second objective. The problem with these criminological theories discussed is that they are partial, incomplete and lacking. The classical theory ignores the social circumstances of the offenders in explaining crime. On my part, however, I believe that both the objectives presented by McAra are necessary for an effective youth justice. In order to provide a framework to my take in synthesizing the seemingly irreconcilable objectives of youth justice, I take the position of a left realist in this discourse.

    Wilson, Thinking about crime Basic Books For a left realist, crime has a form, and a social context. Left realists emphasise that the form of crime consists of two dyads: of a victim and an offender, and of actions and reactions: of crime and its control. Rule makers are those who react to the actions of the offender and the actions of the victim. Rule makers can be formal, which is represented by the state in the square of crime or informal, which is represented by the society.

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    Thus, the four elements of the square of crime are the state, the society, the offender and the victim. In its narrow sense, the state would include agencies like the law enforcement agencies or the police, the prosecutors, the courts and the correctional agencies— the criminal justice agencies but in a wider sense, it means the political system in general The criminal justice agencies act as the formal control of crime as they are created specifically for the purpose.

    The society, on the other hand, acts as the informal control of the crime because despite the existence of the formal control of crime, it exerts efforts in one way or another to discourage and prevent crime. Society includes communities as basic as the family and as general as the civil society Crime in a realist perspective happens within a social context where each of the four elements interacts with each other within the context of their social relationship with each other. Did the victim bully the child in conflict with the law CICL?

    Is the victim being bullied by the CICL? The answer to the questions posed clarifies the social relationship of the CICL and the victim. Does the CICL perceive moral authority from the parents? Even the relationship of the CICL to the state can affect his choice to commit crime or not. Can the police officers be trusted? Does the criminal justice system truly dispense justice? Left realists propose a holistic and comprehensive intervention to control 20 crime, which means that punishment and incapacitation are as important as treatment, opportunities and changes in perspectives are.

    It also advocates that justice should not be a product of order but order should spring out of a just society. To achieve this objective, it is necessary to recognize and be faithful to the fundamental reality that is childhood as opposed to adulthood ; and to provide holistic interventions to the elements of the square of the crime.

    Scott and T. Philosophers as ancient as Aristotle,28 and political thinkers like John Locke29 and John Stuart Mill30 have clearly distinguished children from adults. They in one way or another agree that children are not yet considered citizens and cannot exercise their rights and privileges until they reach adulthood. They however should be protected, taken care of and be educated.

    References

    Kohlberg theorized the stages of moral development while Piaget discussed more about the cognitive development of a child. Macpherson ed, Hackett Pub.

    Co General Assembly tr, Document edn 12 December arts 6, 9, In controlling crime, the youth justice system must employ a multi-agency approach.

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    A New Response to Youth Crime A New Response to Youth Crime
    A New Response to Youth Crime A New Response to Youth Crime
    A New Response to Youth Crime A New Response to Youth Crime
    A New Response to Youth Crime A New Response to Youth Crime

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