Juvenile Criminal Justice in Australia. 2 Essay Example
JUVENILE CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN AUSTRALIA
The popularity of criminal activities among young people is one of the major problems facing Australia today. In practise, more criminal activities are committed by juveniles compared to the adult counterparts. Traditionally, both juvenile and adult crimes were treated with the same weight subjecting the juveniles to hard labour and corporal punishment. Today, however, there is the realization that the factors that drive young people into crimes differ from those of adults, hence the need for difference in administering justice (Kenny and Nelson, 2008). Juvenile crimes such as vandalism contributes to disturbances in the local communities hence the need for developing policies to counter these crimes.
The nature of crimes committed by the young people differs from that of adults as in most cases crimes are committed in groups as a result of peer pressure, in public areas and most commonly in places near their homes. Peer influence is considered as a significant contributor to juvenile crimes, mainly because children are immature and are easily susceptible to peer influence. Also, the increased immaturity among the juveniles increases the risks of mental problems caused by the abuse of drugs and alcohol at their tender ages hence the increased crime rates among them (Cunneen and White, 2011).
Different measures are provided by the Australian government in administering criminal justice to the juveniles. One of the major ways that is used is the diversion of juveniles. To avoid sending the minors directly to the courts to be charged with the crimes they commit, the Australian government ensures that the youngsters are provided with warnings, police cautions and are allowed to attend conferences to create awareness of the consequences of breaching the law. However, these provisions differ with the type of crime committed, the age, gender and the indigenous status of the offender.
Secondly, the Australian government considers the factors that drive the youngsters to commit crimes before punishing them for the crimes done (Kelly, 2011). For instance, through youth policing programs, the minors are engaged with school, employment, family and other activities that reduce the crime rates. Also, the results of the interaction of the police and the minor offenders as well as the conferences are used to find solutions to problems such as drug abuse, mental health and family problems that can cause the youths to engage in criminal activities. In addition, there are established youth drug and alcohol courts that deal with the cause of crimes rather than giving punishment to the youths for their crimes.
From the above discussion, it is evident that the crimes committed by the youths are among the major ones dealt with by the criminal justice systems in Australia. These crimes can, however, be prevented by finding the causal factors of such behaviours among the minors and addressing them rather than punishing them. Understanding the underlying factors that lead to juvenile crime can also help in the rehabilitation of these children as well as preventing stigmatization that can cause worse problems to the communities within which they live.
Cunneen, C., & White, R. D. (2011). Juvenile Justice: Youth and crime in Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Kelly Richards (2011). Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice. Australian Institute of Criminology.
Kenny, D. T., Nelson, P. K., Kenny, D. T., University of Sydney., Justice Health (N.S.W.), New South Wales., University of Sydney., … New South Wales. Dept. of Juvenile Justice. (2008). Young offenders on community orders: Health, welfare and criminogenic needs. Sydney: Sydney University Press.
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