The government enforces the Criminal Justice System. It is vital in preventing crime and ensuring there is justice and order in the civic community. The Criminal Justice System is a valid arrangement set to punish criminals who do not abide by the law. The Criminal Justice System possess the power to seek out crime and bring criminals in for reckoning before the law if individual break any laws of the land. Punishment used can involve probing malicious illegal activity, likewise it involves sanctioning, rehabilitating, sentencing and arbitrating. Here I will be conducting in depth thorough research, looking at the effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System in addressing the contemporary issues of youth. I will be investigating youth as they are imperative to the operation of society and will be the future of the country. By analysing, the contemporary issues behind this will help outline the difficulties and struggles they encounter. In addition, this will help to get a better understanding of what factors and circumstances gives them the impulse to become enthralled and involved into a life of crime. I will be assessing types of crimes committed and understand how this can affect them when being dealt with by the Criminal Justice System, whilst also explaining the methods of punishment the Police take to eradicate as much crime. To begin we firstly need to acknowledge what is meant by the term ‘youth’ and look in to what background and environment drives them to commit illicit activities against the law. ‘Youth’ is best understood as a period of transition from the dependence of childhood to adulthood’s independence and awareness of our interdependence as members of a community.’ (Unesco.org, 2018). Youth are a part of our community and it is the responsibility of the police to monitor the risks associated with youth and criminality. The police are accountable of ensuring youth offenders deter from habitual offending in the future.
As for the Criminal Justice System, the definition for this is as follows, ‘The system of law enforcement that is directly involved in apprehending, prosecuting, defending, sentencing, and punishing those who are suspected or convicted of criminal offenses.’ (Oxford Dictionaries | English, 2018). The absence of the Criminal Justice System will leave people exposed to criminality and in turn, the rise in the level of crime. More so, if the Criminal Justice were not in place there would be a chaos of criminality and widespread violence. Law Enforcement enforces the Criminal Justice System. This involves a network of Police officers whose responsibility is to ensure state law-abiding regulations and uphold the law. ‘The legal system must uphold fairness in society: both in business and for individuals. We want to ensure justice for victims of crime and better rehabilitation for criminals, with a reduction in the rate of reoffending.’ (Gov.uk, 2018). The Criminal Justice System is mainly used to deter crime and punish individuals that commit crime. It has been designed to rehabilitate offenders and ensure victims of crime receive support against law breaking individuals. The police are vital to the implementation of the criminal justice system. They must treat everyone with dignity and respect despite their race, age, ethnic background and sexual orientation.
The police are a powerful tool in maintaining the law as by bringing criminals to justice this also allows them to reform criminals through rehabilitation and punishment. The use of rehabilitation allows the police to work cohesively with the acquitted. ‘when seeking to limit resort to criminal justice sanctions, to start with the police. Second, and relatedly, it is clear that government targets can have a dramatic effect. The extent to which young people are formally processed and drawn into the youth justice system’ (Eprints.lse.ac.uk, 2018) The process of rehabilitation is advantageous as it assists the police greatly to monitor the progress and diminish systematic offenders. However, it can also be quite the opposite as harsh sanctions enforced by the police can lead to youths being pulled into the criminal justice system. This does not reduce crime but increases its figures when surveyed and gathered in the public eye. It is essential in the long run as it saves the government time and money as by changing a person’s criminal tendencies this prevents corruption amongst society as repeat offenders will alter their bad habits and eventually shy away from the life of crime. This prevents the needless cost of court proceedings and the taxpayer’s money can be used in other areas other than the funding of prisons and police salaries.
The problem with youth and crime is that the media and police overstate the youth crime crisis and create unnecessary moral panic. This gives youths a bad label from society, as they are then looked down upon. ‘It’s a way society molds people to fit into a category. It could also be linked with the self-fulfilling prophecy’ (Garcia, 2013). Reviewing on sanctions that are placed on youth require urgent attention, as youth are continuously tormented by society. Those that are branded deviant choose to accept their label and become involved in acts of delinquency. This contributes to the participation of gangs and subculture. The reaction of youth turning to crime is as a result of the social controls placed on them. The pressure of this pushes youth to criminality. This shows that the media sometimes defeat the object of addressing the public as the misrepresentation of youth encourages youths to commit crime. In effect this raises much of number of crimes committed by youths. It is a cycle of scapegoating that does not seem to stop. This in turn can leave the public heavily reliant on the government and authorities to have youths incarcerated.
The Youth Justice system is constantly everchanging. This is due to the multiple opinions of youth that are always being discussed back and forth by politicians and the police as they try to come up with innovative ways of tackling youth criminality. ‘Modern juvenile justice appears as ever more hybrid: attempting to deliver neither welfare or justice but a complex and contradictory amalgam of the punitive, the responsibilising, the inclusionary, the exclusionary and the protective’. (Muncie & Hughes 2002). This makes it difficult to get a clear idea of the level of youth crime that is being committed. Additionally, this means that the police are having to switch their methods constantly. This is unfavourable as the level of youth crime can misinform the public and alienate youth. This places an immense pressure on youth in society as they are being perceived negatively by the public eye. Moreover, when looking into the Crime Survey for England & Wales we can see that the amount of crime committed by youths has fallen over the years. This means that youth crime is not as big of a significant issue one might have thought. However, the damaging perception enforced by the authorities leaves youths exposed to being trapped in disciplinary and misjudged.
Figures that are obtained by the police can be distorted as the recorded figures of youth crimes committed are not always recorded as some crimes go unnoticed, although this can also work differently whereby the harsh police sanctions pick up youth crime that is not necessarily deemed important. The patterns of youth crime cannot be solely relied on as a correct representation of data as the amount of crimes that are recorded change over time as a result of the everchanging sanctions and charges placed on children. ‘Serious criminal sanctioning may produce social obstacles that discourage investment in conventional society. Rejection from conventional groups may come in the form of difficulty obtaining employment, barriers against qualifying for student loans, and informal exclusion from conventional social networks.’ (Ascani, 2018). This can cause problems for youth in later life as they may find it difficult to fit into society. This is unfavourable as this reduces their opportunity to pursue education and leaves them with no choice but to commit crime as a means of survival. Police surveys on youth crime can sometimes be an incorrect representation of crime. ‘children are perceived to be disproportionately engaged in ant-social behaviour, a perception that it is reflected in a higher use of antisocial behaviour sanctions for under-18s.’ (Bateman, 2018). Here it is evident that the police scrutinise youth. The crime control of the authorities is unstable as they are instructed to try different methods to catch youths committing delinquency. This effects youths as the adverse outlook of youths that is talked about in the media is in the presence of the public eye. This in effect leads to the stereotyping of youth. Politicians, police and the Government need to analyse their actions on tackling youth crime. This is because the sentencing and management of youth offenders creates a stigma that effects youth that are not involved in criminal activity.
Serious planned crime is a contemporary issue of youth today. There is widespread criminality as organised networks of men are committing the sexual exploitation of children. ‘In Rotherham, between 1997 and 2013, an estimated 1,400 children were subjected to abduction, rape and sex trafficking by groups of predominantly British-Pakistani men.’ (Pitts, 2015). The huge turnout of victims is proof that this is an ongoing issue that needs to be addressed as the number of children victimised is increasingly worrying. Between 1997 and 2013 we can see that the issue of sexual offending is non-stop and constant. Organised crime is highly dangerous for youths as they are subjected to sexual abuse and violence. This is immoral as it leaves youths cornered as they may be unable to have the courage to report cyber-crime to the police as this can make them feel uneasy. Unfortunately, the easy accessibility of technology and widened range of gadgets opens a gateway of opportunity for online criminals to commit criminal activity. Not all cyber-crime is reported to the police due to the sensitive nature of the crime. Victims of crime feel hesitant to come forward. ‘the National Crime Agency, reported that 10% of the 3,652 reports it received concerned online grooming.’ (Pitts, 2015). Cases of blackmail and grooming are prevalent however remain unreported to the police. The police find it tough to deal with organised crime as the groupings of grooming gangs and drug dealers can sometimes be limitless with the number of individuals involved. Especially with the reduction of police this makes it questionable as to how capable the police will be in protecting the innocence of youths. With government cuts this affects the manpower required to tackle this type of rampant crime.
Moreover, the curtain of the online world makes it easier for offenders to target youths as it is difficult for police to track them as their identity is commonly fabricated. The advancement of technology makes committing crime behind a screen simple to access and perform. This leaves online offenders free to target as many youths as they possibly can; This is a problematic for the government as the level of cyber-crime increases, additionally affecting victims and their families as this would inevitably increase also. ‘The new found connectivity allows for the commission of old crimes in new soil: the internet.’ (P Bernat and Godlove, 2012). There is a rise in offending as the more people that are getting away with cyber-crime, the more likely other individuals that commit original crime switch to cyber enabled crime because of its effortlessness and usefulness.
Moral panic is triggered by mass media reporting on youth crime. Instant panic is created by large newspaper organisations who exaggerate youth crime by sensationalising them. This generates moral panic amongst society as the way youth are presented to the public is shown to be a sinister. It usually describes youths to be involved in gang culture, violence and drugs.’ The media play a disingenuous game.’ (Cohen, 2011). The media feed off the public’s lack of confidence as a means of controlling crime. By placing fear in the public this makes society target youths as youths are often shamed on the front of newspapers. The publics perceptions are altered by what the media specifically decide to reveal to them.
Politicians use the media as a tool in the aims of governing the public. ‘For conservatives, the media glamorize crime, trivialize public insecurities and undermine moral authority; for liberals the media exaggerate the risks of crime and whip up moral panics to vindicate an unjust and authoritarian crime control policy.’ (Cohen, 2011). By playing on the anxieties of the public this allows the government to have greater control over the masses, as the disgust and reaction from the public prompts public panic and leaves them questioning what they should do. Here politicians cleverly get across their concerns and area focuses on how the public should react to crime. This intuitive method allows the government to follow through with their agenda. This is corrupt and has a detrimental effect on youth as they are then grouped together and perceived to be problematic. This provides the opportunity for them to be targeted by public anger and stereotyped.
Finally, we can see that the effectiveness of the police force on the contemporary issues of crime heavily relies on the productiveness of society. Additionally, the most vital requirement that will allow the police to tackle criminality in youth is equality. Equality ensures that youths are treated fairly and are not penalised by the Criminal Justice System. This enables them to be justly adjudicated if they happen to be drawn in to the Youth Criminal Justice System. This is valuable as the positive reinforcement of the law will deter youth criminality and help the younger generation to be protected against crime that affects them similarly. ‘First contact with the police is important in shaping children and young people’s attitudes, yet for a significant number of children and young people this experience is a negative one.’ (Ncb.org.uk, 2018). Here we can see that many youths today usually find it difficult to get along with the police as many receive bad experiences, furthermore we can see that first impressions are imperative when dealing with youth criminality as this can determine how they decide to integrate with society and whether they become involved in criminality. The perception of the public can affect youth as the exposure of mainstream media and politics can sometimes undermine the way society views youth. The effectiveness of the police dealing with the current issues of youth will be easier to accomplish if youths are educated and informed about the functionality of the Criminal Justice System from an early age. ‘young people’s attitudes toward police legitimacy are positively linked to police use of procedural justice’. (Hinds, 2007). The outlook of youths to the wider society is arguably the most important factor that affects the relationship between Policing and Youths. In summary the effectiveness of the police on the contemporary issues in relation to youth crime is one that requires careful planning without the transgression of youth culture, as this can implicate the association of youths being involved in crime.