March 21, 2012
What to do about Youth Crime and Future Directions
Debates in literature
- Common response is lock them up
- Alternatives to custody have entered debate.
- Labeling theory argues that a young person’s self concept changes to be
consistent with a label, making delinquent behavior more likely.
- Punitive measures do not reduce recidivism.
- Another solution is to make harsher and longer punishment. The fact that
short sentences aren’t effective enough.
- Incarceration is popular because of moral panic in part.
- We have been socialized to think that crime is breaking the law and that if
you cause harm, you should expect the same (retributive).
- This is underlying paradigm of justice.
- Focus on custody
- There is also:
o Boot camps
o Non rehabilitative sentences
o Longer terms
Restorative justice and community
- Non adversarial approach to justice that places emphasis on helping victims
heal, offender accountability and community involvement.
- Some elements of restorative justice are currently being incorporated in the
YCJS in Canada in the form of youth justice committees, circle sentencing and
victim-offender reconciliation programs.
- Victim-offender mediation
- Family group conferencing
- Sentencing circles
- Victim-offender reconciliation programs
- Youth justice committee
- System based responses to youth crime are limited because they look at
youth crime as the problem rather than systemic issues underlying youthful
- Restorative justice potentially removes the stigmatizing effects of
- Definitions of justice are political. - Justice, ethically, is about r