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During this essay I will look at the crime policy focusing on what is available for young offenders which is between the ages of 10 - 17, using the communitarianism theory to see if their work has made any changes to the way the crime policy operates. To analyse the policy and the theory I will look into: What is available for young offenders to encourage them not to reoffend with support to help them into a better lifestyle? Are they likely to reoffend with the way the system works now? And lastly has there been any difference over time in young people committing crimes?
Crime policy covers all aspects aiming to reduce and stop all forms of crime. There have been Acts which have been put in place to improve the techniques already introduced, also new methods to lower crime, which covers all ages, gender and race. Crime and Disorder Act 1998, has introduced and updated the crime policy. They have put in place to reduce young people from committing offences or reoffending, such as introducing ASBO- Anti Social Behaviour Order, Baldock et al (2007:570) describes, 'anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) introduced in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and implemented in April 1999, these civil orders which can be applied for by the police or local authorities against an individual aged 10 or over whose behaviour is deemed to be 'anti-social'. Orders last for two years and breach makes it a criminal (and imprisonable) offence.'
From the website Office of Public Sector Information (updated 2009) Youth Justice Service including youth offending teams, aims '(4) In this section and sections 39 to 41 below "youth justice services" means any of the following, namely-
(a) the provision of persons to act as appropriate adults to safeguard the interests of children and young persons detained or questioned by police officers;
(b) the assessment of children and young persons, and the provision for them of rehabilitation programmes, for the purposes of section 66(2) below;
(c) the provision of support for children and young persons remanded or committed on bail while awaiting trial or sentence;
(d) the placement in local authority accommodation of children and young persons remanded or committed to such accommodation under section 23 of the [1969 c. 54.] Children and Young Persons Act 1969 ("the 1969 Act");
(e) the provision of reports or other information required by courts in criminal proceedings against children and young persons;
(f) the provision of persons to act as responsible officers in relation to parenting orders, child safety orders, reparation orders and action plan orders;
(g) the supervision of young persons sentenced to a probation order, a community service order or a combination order;
(h) the supervision of children and young persons sentenced to a detention and training order or a supervision order;
(i) the post-release supervision of children and young persons under section 37(4A) or 65 of the 1991 Act or section 31 of the [1997 c. 43.] Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 ("the 1997 Act");
(j) the performance of functions under subsection (1) of section 75 below by such persons as may be authorised by the Secretary of State under that subsection.'
Communitarianism theory looks into how communities work. How everyone supports each other to provide a safe, happy and working environment. Scott et al (2009:107) writes 'Communitarians favour a social order in which 'the community' identifies the common good, and persuades its members to act towards it.' When people do not contribute, or the community starts to fall apart could this be when crime starts to appear, in which children and young people copy or take part. Communitarianism aims to reduce crime within the community by working with the local authorities to inform them of problems within the community. Lewis et al (2000:233) 'community security approaches involve a turn to the local ....They involve attempts to foster greater community responsibility for the security and insurance of businesses, homes and neighbourhoods, through Neighbourhood Watch and other forms of citizen action, though these local strategies tend to work more efficiently in more affluent areas.' This should help prevent crime because local people will know how the system runs. As the area they live in is a close community they will all know each other well enough which may mean they will not want to cause harm to another person who they have made some form of a bond with. However it is possible that groups in the community could work together to stop crime illegally. Day (2006:206) states that 'Events in real life have shown vividly how putting power into the hands of the community, especially one that is free to define itself, can go hideously wrong; recent examples include vigilante actions against alleged malefactors, such as when communities gang up to drive out suspect drug-dealers or paedophiles.'
Many children may witness some form of criminal activity, not knowing it is seen as a wrong act. Which may lead to the child or young person to imitate what they have seen. Although there are some children or young person who know the act is wrong but they will continue to do it anyway. Tassoni et al (2002:278-279) comments that, 'Children learn from watching those around them, particularly their parents, carers and, later in life, their peers..... some children may not see good role models. For example, if children experience an aggressive parenting style, they are more likely to be aggressive themselves.... As children get older, they also start to copy other children and sometimes school-age children may start to spit or swear.'
The support available for young offenders is provided to help to prevent them from reoffending, and helping them to face their problems and learn to deal with underlying issues, by attending counseling sessions, anger management classes, and looking into the family environment to see if there is any area that may need improving. Nacro is a company who work alongside the local authorities, who provide help during and after a young offender is surviving some form of sentence. Nacro (2010) write that, 'We also work with their families, local communities, and local criminal justice agencies to help them support their young people to continue to make positive change.
youth activities and youth inclusion projects offering activities ranging from sports coaching to stress management
alternative education schemes re-engaging excluded young people with mainstream learning or training
restorative justice programmes allowing young offenders to repair and the harm done to their victims
resettlement support helping young prisoners prepare for release and resettle in the community
supported accommodation providing stability and security for vulnerable young people, and help to prepare for independent living
As well as providing services, we also work with national and local agencies to help develop policies and practice that will help divert young people from antisocial behaviour and crime. '
The youth justice board is another company working alongside local and governmental authorities to work to prevent and rehabilitate children and teenagers away from crime. Youth justice board (2010) explains their role, 'The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB) is an executive non-departmental public body. Our board members are appointed by the Secretary of State for Justice. The YJB oversees the youth justice system in England and Wales. We work to prevent offending and reoffending by children and young people under the age of 18, and to ensure that custody for them is safe, secure, and addresses the causes of their offending behaviour.'
Looking at last year's (2009) youth justice board news centre they write about the reduced number of youth offending, this could from all the policies and companies working closely with young people to stop crime and tackling issues which can be associated with criminal activity. Youth justice board (26/11/2009) write that, 'Today's statistics follow a 10 per cent reduction last year, which means there has been a consistent downward trend in young people entering the CJS over the past two years. This reflects the Government's investment in the youth justice system, and the work of partners, including youth offending teams (YOTs) who are reaching the young people most at risk, intervening early to prevent them committing serious crime.'
I have found from this essay that there is currently more support around and crime prevention schemes around to give young people the right encouragement to progress in life and showing although you may have got involved in some form of criminal activity there are many companies around to help to rehabilitate young people back to everyday life. With the contribution of the crime policy and the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 there have been new techniques which are currently showing an improvement to crime control. The communitarianism theory is in use with how local communities and authorities are dealing with criminal problems.