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Young Offenders - What Should The Law Do With Them?

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      03.09.2012 16:23
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      This is clearly a very difficult subject with many of us will have polar opposite views on.
      Many of these youths have been dragged up in lives that me and you have only seen on TV. They are so entrenched in this way of life by the time they get to high school that stealing, fighting, drugs and alcohol are the norm and to act differently would be going against the grain and would be acting in a completely different way than those people who they know, love and trust. Where on earth are they meant to start? They act in an anti-social manner which results in local agencies attempting to intervene and trying to 'unravel' what the great mystery is but there is none, its simply years and years of mirrored behaviour and officials with a wagging finger and a sympathetic smile are not going to help! So, warnings are issued but of course the youth carries on and breaches bail, breaches behavioural contracts etc and so it gets to the stage where an ASBO is considered and then family support agencies try to intervene but guess what? Mum and Dad dont want to know so the child doesnt get the help he/she needs and goes on to commit worse crimes as they get older, meet other more entrenched criminals and it snowballs then they have kids and we start all over again.
      So whats the solution? I dont know but I do know that we need to try to attempt to understand why and go as far back as we can, every case, every family, every child has to be looked at as an individual and a holistic approach must be taken to truely help. and it will take time, a lot of time but we have to keep going and keep going and keep chipping away and see it as a rollercoaster ride because they will dip at times and reoffend but we have to give them a chance as these kids are our future and we have to break this cycle. Government needs to recognise the exceollent work done by authorities, youth services and social care and invest in these great strategies at the earliest stage rather than waiting until a young person is in too deep. It can cost a quarter of a million to keep a young person in custody, surely this can be better invested elsewhere?

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        05.07.2012 16:28

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        i have known lovely parents whose kids have gone wrong and of cause parents who couldn't care less i do believe we should try military boot camps for persistent offenders were there made to work hard at fitness attend classes and work out some more made to get up at six and go to bed at eight pm they shouldn't mind be cause in my boot camp they would have worked hard. i do believe in reward for those who show improvement . the work situation dosent help even the good kids but what the answer to that one is god knows. but whether we like it or not there are very bad kids out there and and a dose of military cant do any harm keep sending them to prison seems to make them better criminals.

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        15.04.2011 22:32

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        all young offenders cases should be dug deep!!

        WARNING: THIS COULD BE UPSETTING BUT IT'S MY EXPERIENCE AND IT'S TRUE....... when i was 3 months pregnant I was pushed purposely in the stomach by a girl I used to go to school with. After being called all the names under the sun as I minded my own business walking down the road with my boyfriend I held my middle finger up too her... irresponsible? i don't think so.

        this girl had literally made everyones lives hell, and I believed she needed to be taught a lesson. When she pushed me I walked away crying my eyes out. - Scared for my baby and me and also because I was frustrated I couldn't do anything back. After being told she don't 'give a f*** about me being pregnant and being in immense pain from being pushed' she went for me again. My boyfriend put his arm over my stomach to try and stop the blows and in the end he managed to push her away. He was fuming and desperately wanted to help me but couldn't risk her coming back for us, so he yelled and screamed at her before some one called her away.

        I walked home with my boyfriend holding on to my belly and when I got home, my mum wanted me to report her to the police so I did. when it came too it, she had got her mate to make a false alibi for her and she got off Scott-free!! even though I had shown the police the area she had pushed me and they even offered a scan!!

        it's not just the young offenders.. it depends on the police force too. she was known for assault and abuse (physical and verbal) for drink and drugs and she was only 16 or 17! - they didn't arrest her, they put her on bail instead but the Court wasn't interested in the case.

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        25.08.2010 16:58

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        it should be dealt with on a case by case basis

        I think that it is very difficult to pin down a course of action for young offenders. On the one hand I feel that a 15 year old who commits assault should receive a prison sentence but I think they should continue there studies while there because otherwise you are crippling there future more than they already have with there actions. However a situation like a child who stole to attempt to help there family out with there debts should not in my opinion receive a punishment for a first offence instead there family should be looked at and supported and if it is entirely dysfunctional the child should be put into care. however you cannot just label guilty innocent you have to look more deeply at the situation around the crime and whether the action was desperation lack of knowledge or simple maliciousness. Every child is different and as such some have a better understanding than an older child might of right and wrong.

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        24.05.2010 01:06
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        Most young people just need a chance, but their are no easy answers.

        I think it depends both on the nature of the crime committed and the age of the child and there are no easy answers. Like most people, i think Bulger's killers got off far too lightly they were certainly old enough to know what they were doing was horribly wrong. I'm sure they must have had some hardships as well, but I have known some great kids from horrible backgrounds, your parents are not an excuse.

        Do you blame the parents? in some cases, especially when the child is quite young. I remember once seeing a 5 year old involved in a riot. Now what kind of parents let a five year old out running the streets after midnight and engaging in riots? I was told this was far from his first. Or what about a six year old who routinely steals and vandalises property? The parents have some responsibility for supervision. But as children get older there are other influences, and many good parents do everything they can to steer their children away from them.

        So what is the solution? No easy ones I'm afraid. I used to do alot of youth work. We tried to take the kids who ahd been excluded from other groups. Most had been in some trouble, many were adhd ect... I'll always remember one mother coming up to me and saying her son was asking to go on a second trip with us and was he really allowed. I said of course, he was one of the first we invited and she gasped " you invited him? No one has ever taken him twice". Some times all these kids need is someone to believe in them. One of my favourite authors, steve Biddulph writes about how having one non related adult take an interest in a child can be one of the greatest thinsg for healthy development. Especially when you have so many children without fathers, and a few without mothers in the picture.

        So here is my partial solution: If everyone with a bit of time would volunteer and help a child. If you dont have that much time, how about just a short while to talk now and then? Do you have an interest you can share? Or could you include a one of your children's friends who could use a bit of extra help more? If you take your son fishing, invite the neighbour boy who doesnt have a Dad present. Taking your daughter to the zoo? Maybe you could bring another child too. teenager desperately trying to do odd jobs? Let him cut your grass even if you have a mower yourself, its good to see initiative.

        The nest thing I would wish for is jobs. even goverment subsized its better then the bru. Bring back the A schemes and increase the time.

        Finally though, there do need to be clear cut and consistant consequences and children who commit horrific acts of violence shouldnt be excused by their age. If parents refusing to supervise very young children is a factor in their crimes, at the very least there should be some intervention, if it continues fines for Mom and Dad.

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          28.02.2010 21:04
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          How can a child have this type of mentality?

          I am a firm believer that all bad behaviour is a result of unresolved issues, but its impossible to empathise with these sorts of individuals.

          Firstly the law needs to change completely, Jamie Bulgers killers were kids themselves all be it they were a lot older but still children. The question that needs to be asked is why the hell would a child have that kind of mentality?

          They needed server psychiatric help at least until they were adults then they should of served the rest of their sentence in prison. Who's to say that whatever made them do this in the first place wont make them do it again? I think their parents have a lot to answer for as well.

          The whole criminal justice system needs to be changed, prison is like a holiday camp at Butlins now days and the sentences given are ridiculous. People, especially teens, need routine and authority, their parents have obviously never taught them how to behave like decent human beings and the law should of. Instead of properly rehabilitating these kids they were probably given playstations and TVs, isn't this what they blamed the murder on in the first place?

          I don't think that all teenagers are as bad as they are made out to be, many really do have a lot of problems themselves and bad childhoods, not that everything can be blamed on that, we are all individuals and make our own choices, I'm talking more about bad behaviours in schools etc.

          Unfortunately this kind of behaviour seems to escalate, I don't necessarily think that teenage crime is worse now than 20 years ago, I just think it is becoming more publicised.

          People can try, but no-one will truly know why these individuals carry out such horrific act against another human being let alone a children. I don't think it is fair on the victim or their families that these vile individuals are given new identities in order for them to carry on with their lives as if nothing had ever happened.

          I don't believe in the death penalty but if harder punishments were given then there would be a lot less crimes committed.

          Jamie Bulger and his family have been failed by many people and his killers being released must be a real kick in the teeth for them.

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          28.07.2009 18:47
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          we need a solution.

          Young offenders. Anti social behaviour. What has happened to the youth of our time?

          Vandalism, theft, intimidation, drunken behaviour, fighting and even murdering, no wonder young people are seen negatively! There always seems to be a new crime committed by young people on the front of a newspaper, and it's at a point where nobody is sure what to do about it. Innocent young people are being murdered, and old, vulnerable people are being frightened to even go out after about 5pm! Children can't play out in the streets with their neighbours without the threat of gangs and violence, and parents are constantly worried about their children's safety.

          But not all children are criminals, and it's not fair to them, they should be able to have a normal, safe, carefree childhood. Children's depression in the UK has been growing throughout the last few years, and it's no wonder why! Innocent children are intimidated, worried, and feeling unsafe because of anti social behaviour, the negative media doesn't help.

          Anti social behaviour is much more damaging than these children can see, they wouldn't care about the damage done unless it had happened to them. How can children go around committing cold blooded murder without a trace of a guilty conscience?

          We can't put one reason down why all of these criminals do what they do, there are too many, but three words that always seem to come up during this discussion is "blame the parents". I agree with this, but only to a certain extent. Just a few other reasons that come from the top of my head are broken families; feeling unloved, peer pressure, wanting to impress, to fit in, or just for a sense of adventure. A history of family crime also plays a big part in young crime, if young children look up to their older siblings and see that this is how they act, they will automatically want to be like them.

          Maybe one step could be too help children with broken families, help them feel like they are supported. I think teaching children about crime and consequences from an earlier age would be useful, as at the moment, only 11-14 year olds are taught.

          The police have tried to handle anti social behaviour many times before, and not all of these techniques were successful in some places. ASBOs, the Mosquito and the dispersal of group are the three main methods.

          An ASBO is an Anti-Social Behaviour Order which is basically what the title suggests, an order for children who have acted in an anti social way. An ASBO covers a number of different problems including vandalism and criminal damage, noisiness, shoplifting, drunken behaviour, spitting, fighting, and intimidation. ASBOs can be given to anyone over 1o, and can last for up to 10 years. They forbid offenders from doing certain things, depending on why they got the ASBO. However this hasn't worked because ASBOs are now seen as badges of honour in gangs.

          The Mosquito was an ultrasonic device which made offenders leave a certain place with its high-pitched whine. It was supposed to only be heard by under 25s, but some people who were over25 could still hear it so it was unfair. The mosquito was also criticised because the Children's Commissioner had claimed it infringed children's rights.

          The dispersal of groups is the method that gives the police the power to split up gangs hanging about on streets after a certain time (normally around 7) in certain places. The reason this wasn't successful was because the gangs that were split up just met up again in other places.

          So if these methods haven't worked, why would any other? It's hard to try and find a solution which will be fail proof, and as the number of crimes committed by young people grows, we are becoming more desperate for a solution.

          In some ways I do think the punishment should be harsher, why should they get away with crimes so devastating? But on the other hand, children are growing up and still make mistakes. But then again, they are old enough to know right from wrong.

          But I honestly could argue both points for hours and still not be able to pick a side. So alls I can say to end this review is that we need to find a solution - fast.

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            23.03.2009 09:47
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            I don't think that there is a straight forward answer to this

            This is a really difficult question and I don't think that there is a straight forward answer to this.

            I think that Young Offenders's get to commit crime of a substancial level before they are properly punished for it. They get a couple of smacks on the hand then they have to attend a few appointments with youth offending workers - this doesn't really address the problem.

            If young people commit crime then the reasons for this should be looked at - the schools should be informed and the professionals involved with the child should consider the reasons for it.

            I think that if they were made to repay for what they have done for example cleaning up thier own mess then they would look at it and think about it rather then forgetting about their actions. Maybe this would then lead to their being less adults who are offending.

            So i think that they should be delt with harsher sooner!

            There is soo much research linking young offenders stating that they are significantly more likely to go on to commit further crime at a more significant level this alone is reason for there to be dramatic changes in the current youth justice approach. I think that there is a need for basic education in schools prior to ten when children can learn of the concequences. Prevention is always better then cure!

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            12.02.2009 09:03
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            The politics gets in the way

            There are lots of conflicting opinions about how to handle the problems of youth crime and young offenders, for me one of the key range of initiatives are those put in place to prevent young people offending in the first place, the sad thing is that there is no one initiative alone that can bring this about rather a range of measures are needed.

            The first has to be to reduce childhood poverty something this present Government has made a focus but had limited success with, if you are poor and disaffected with society then you are more likely to break the laws of that society as you do not see them existing for your benefit but for others.

            Second it is important that young people are kept in education for as long as possible and that the education is relevant to them, it is pointless teaching a student history if they can see no relevance in it to them, I'm not suggesting history is pointless as a subject just that the education offerred at should be relevant therefore the individual may benefit from an apprenticeship at the age of 14 rather than GCSE exams that they will fail.

            Finally there needs to be a sentencing structure that actually provides a deterrent to anti social law breaking, where the punishment is such that it will incentivise people not to offend, plenty of studies exist that show how appropriate and consistent sentencing can affect behaviour.

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              09.02.2009 23:02
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              Young offenders

              If you read a newspaper lie the Daily Mail or the Sun then you could well believe that the streets of any town or city in the UK are over run with marauding gangs of youths robbing people, drunkenly fighting and causing vandalism, making some streets after dark no go areas for law abiding people.

              The reality is that this picture has absolutley no relevanc in the majority o streets and town centres, sure there are bad areas where anti social behaviour is rfe but that behaviour is not always the domain of young people, the worst neighbours I have ver had were a couple in their forties who were alwaysdrunk, fighting and swearing, little wonder that their kids also ended up in trouble as well with role models like that.

              For me the question is as much about what society should do with the parents of these young offenders rather than with the actual children as many times it is these so called parents not carrying out their responsibilities as mothers and fathers that is to blame, too many single parent amilies without a male role model in the house, too many violent alchohol abusers dishing out punishments to both the women an the kids and too many shirkers living off state handouts and creating the impression that you can get by without an education.

              This is not to say that I do not see the need to lock up some young offenders, some deserve to pay a debt to society and to protect society they need to be taken away however I'm pretty confident that prison is not the answer for many young offenders as they come out more street wise and likely to offend again after getting the wrong sort of edcation from fellow inmates.

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                07.02.2009 23:39
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                Not on

                For many years now, but more recently, young offenders has become a hot topic, not only on the news, but in our own households, and I often find myself having heated discussions with my wife about it. My argument is that things cant be getting any better, as you are always hearing on the news about murders occuring, usually in places like London, and most of the time, they are being committed by people under the age of 18. My main question is, what has happened to not only our country, but our legal system, in has just collapsed, there is no justice any more. Where I live, up north, there are a lot of crimes being commited by young people, and I am not just talking about murders, but theft, and assault. A decade ago, you didnt hear of such things, but thats progress for you.

                One of the main points of discussion these days is how to punish these offenders, and in my opinion, the courts shouldnt be less harsh on them just because of their age. I think that if they are old enough to do the crime, then they are old enough to do the time. It isnt just the punishment that we need to think about, but how we should try and deter these young people from offending in the first place. Nowdays, they may get a shortened sentence, or in some cases, no sentence at all, which isnt setting a very good example to follow. No one is safe anymore, and my mother is scared to just walk down to the shop, only down the road, after a certain time. Why must she, it is a disgrace. Why is it that peopleing are killing others, and I cant understand why children, because that is what they are, are killing children. They grow up in a society where they think that if they commit a crime, they will be let of because of there age, even getting an ASBO these days in seen as some form of certificate that they should be proud of.

                Something needs to be done. NOW.

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                  20.01.2009 11:06
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                  What has the world come to, when this sort of behaviour has become acceptable?

                  I think that the topic of young offenders is a difficult one to know how to tackle for the best. It seems that the problem is increasing, especially in large cities. How has this happened? I am lucky enough to live on the Isle of Wight, where we do get our share of young offenders, but no where near as bad as places like London or Manchester. It is difficult to know what to do with them when they offend. They are at such a young age, and very vunerable, but still they should be made to be aware of the consequences of their actions. There is no respect for peoples property, cars, lives anymore. It is so common to hear of stabbings and vandelism on the news these days. It should not be accepted as a way of life, it is wrong !! I think if there were tougher punishments for these kids, it might be more of a deterent for them. Community service is a joke, we need some radical action and we need it sooner rather then later. Maybe prison is the only way for them to learn !!

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                    13.01.2009 20:01
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                    We need to go to the root of the problem...the upbringing!

                    A lot of these young offenders, I believe are bored or have been brought up badly or in bad environments.

                    Locking kids up isnt going to make them stop, its like a self-fullfilling prophesy if you treat them like a criminal they will act like one. Maybe they do all need to be in a 'safer' place. Where they cant hurt others but can be in an environment where they can maybe learn new skills and be encouraged to use their skills in a productive way. If they like fighting, be a boxer? Do it in the ring! Or have programmes where they can learn a skill they have an interest in, as a lot of people can't afford higher education or just don't want to do it.

                    They need to be around people who can give them the attention they need to find the skills they have. Everyone has something their good at. They need real feedback and to see them selves progress to increase their self esteem.

                    What ever happens, I think parents should have free inforamtion and advice on how to bring up a child, so we can stop messing up in the next generation. We also need to stop all the bad news on telly. Kids aren't the smartest, if they hear someone has a knife they will think 'we'll if they've got one I want one'. The news isnt helping with murder and death splashed all over the paper. It makes people scared and live in fear. The news is based on negativity and I think some people actually believe everything they hear, which is a shame.

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                      30.10.2008 18:12
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                      We need to get to the root course and if the goverment do not help then we need to

                      Young Offenders - What Should The Law Do With Them? I just do not know, but it needs to start looking at the root of the problem also.

                      Why have we such a problem in the UK??

                      I know a lot of people say....I blame the parents.... and I must admit I sort of feel the same, but more than that... I blame the local communities too of where these yobs live as if more people would take proactive action, we could together make our streets safer.
                      I am currently doing a lot of work for a local charity, working with the children in Rugby and Warwickshire offering dance, drama, cheerleading, martial arts classes etc. The charity was designed to be able to offer free and subsidised places to young people, including the disadvantaged, under-privileged, special needs, under-academic achievers, ethnic minorities, etc., to offer opportunities in dance, drama & singing, to help develop skills and/or talents.

                      We are also hoping that this will be helping the community to reduce potential anti-social behaviour, and offering a healthier lifestyle within an enjoyable but structured environment!
                      Our aims as a charity are to act as a resource for young people living in Warwickshire by providing advice and assistance and organising programmes of physical, educational and other activities as a means of:

                      (a) advancing in life and helping young people by developing their skills, capacities and capabilities to enable them to participate in society as independent, mature and responsible individuals;

                      (b) Advancing education for the public benefit of the performing arts, in particular but not exclusively, dance;

                      (c) providing recreational and leisure time activity in the interests of social welfare for people living in the area of benefit who have need by reason of their youth, age, infirmity or disability, poverty or social and economic circumstances with a view to improving the conditions of life of such persons.

                      Its a great charity, yet when trying to get help from the local community all I seem to be getting is resistance, because the charity is neith life threatening or life saving, most of the local buisnesses are not jumping at supporting us, and this is what annoys me.....even the parents who are not in finacial difficulty or have any problems with their children and send them to the dance school, just see it as its not their problem, its not their child...so why should they help!!!!

                      Everybody is quick enough to shout about our local youth, but if only some of the troublemakers could get some stimulation and also guidance away from home then this may help, children need to have role models in order for them to reach their potential and if they are not getting it at home then they need it from an outside source, and if local communities would stick together and help tackle the problems I think we could make huge differences to the UK youth....my husband thinks sometimes I am seeing things through rose coloured spectacles, but I do truly believe this.

                      Other than doing this though, I think we need to be harder on youths when they have reached a certain level of anti social behaviour, for eg. involved in gangs and violence, shoplifting, drugs then we should be putting them on national service, or putting them in boot camps etc....... they need to make them realise what will happen to their lifes if they carry on with the type of choices they are making.....But unfortunatly sometimes all this action is just too late, and when you come to a situation when a youth has took someones life, or beat someone up so badly then I think they need to be treated in an adult way, Im sorry that I feel this way as I love children, and I hate for the fact that these kids have probally had such a bad upbringing and that why they are like they are....BUT.... if they have made that choice, then they should be treated the same as an adult in my opinion.

                      Kids are such a gift, and it makes me so sad when you see these kids on the streets, I would never ever let my kids walk the streets, and I would never ever accept any of this type of behaviour, I would personally take them to a boot camp and make sure it was the meanest, nastiest one around..... I love my children very much and I hope with the kind of morals I teach them and the boundarys that I have set from an early age that I will never come across my children becoming a problem to our community.

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                        16.07.2008 19:12

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                        Its about time we came down hard on this, its getting out of control

                        As a mother myself in my thirties, I look at people of my parents generation and think they must be horrified to see what is happening with some of our yonger generation today. It astounds me that these delinquents are so stupid and unintelligent that they can do nothing more productive with their lives than cause trouble for other people, thinking they are immune to the law.

                        Look, it's not big and its not clever, and it actually makes me very sad, for all these people who make excuses that there is nothing for them to do and thats why they cause trouble, well I grew up in the country and we had nothing to do but I knew right from wrong and would never have got into this kind of thing.

                        So what do we do with them?, well they should not be immune to the law and should be dealt with the same as an adult who breaks the law and have to face the consequences of their actions, asbo's are collectible items now

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