Young people and the Criminal Justice System

Published: 2021-07-06 06:36:46
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Introduction             The young adults and the children have become the focus of attention in the recent years. The increased focus is due to enhancing criminal activities by the young people. The self-inflicted death in the prisons has unfolded the serious lapses found in the criminal justice system. The failings of the prison authorities in tackling the issue of young criminals are also worrisome. The case of Alex is describing the failure of monitoring authorities inside the prison. Despite the caring and looking after by the officials they cannot stop the Alex from committing the suicide. The criminal justice system needs overhauling in order to cope with the increase self-inflicted deaths and positive construction of the youth which will impact the policy decisions.DescriptionThe death of the 15 years old Alex was one of the major failures in the criminal justice system. It shows that how the construction of the youth is designed in the prevailing social context of the western society. Before his death, Alex was sexually abused by the member of his family. From a very young age, he went into the mental and social troubles of life. At the age of five years, he was brought to the London borough of Tower Hamlet. On granting the parental responsibilities from the parents of Alex the borough became the corporate parents of the Alex. The boy requires the special education needs and the special care as he was facing the mental disorder after suffering from the sexual abuse. He was also placed in the supportive foster care for recovery in the Medway.However, over the passage of time such caring did not change the behaviour and the troubles of Ales he became frustrated and the carers failed to retain him from the custodial sentence given to him. In the same way, corporate parents also not provided the therapeutic support to the disturbed Alex (Inquest. 2014). In October two thousand eleven he was sentenced to the detention and the training order without taking into account the mental health assessment. The multi-agency meeting before his sentence recommend that his mental assessment must be considered in deciding about Alex. No attention was given to the recommendation and he was sentenced subsequently. There was the recommendation that Alex must be placed in the secure training centre.Authorities do not provide the report to the court which lead to the sending of Alex in Cookham Wood YOI which was the male juvenile prison. He was the youngest prisoner in the Cookham. The vulnerabilities of the Alex was repeatedly witnesses by the number of personnel of the different associated agencies. Alex withdraws his participation in different activities inside the prison and his vulnerabilities became more complex which was not managed through the proper management. The failure of the corporate parents the Tower Hamlet of Alex in fulfilling the needs of Alex lead to his death. Before the death, the young boy became more frustrated and distressed and he was practising the self-harm activities. One day before his death he told the prison officer that he was sexually abused. The officer fined him for depression.The prison officers on twenty-five January found the Alex hanging by his shoelaces. After his death, his father faces the complex inquest. Different agencies were providing the legal representation of the Youth Justice Board, London Borough of Tower Hamlet, and the Medway youth offending team (Inquest. 2014). The aid to the father of Alex was granted over the highlighting of the case in the leading newspaper. The case of the Alex reveals the in-depth flaws that are in the criminal justice system. It also shows that how the construction of youth in the social environment is constructed. Those three other children that were died with the Alex in a short period also reflect the carelessness of children by the parents and the concerned authorities.The most important issue with the dealing and caring of children which could save them from death like Alex is the lack of proper management and innovations in criminal justice policy. The co-director of the inquest which was dealing with the case of Alex remarked that Alex was in severe need of caring and therapeutic support from the concern agencies. The finding of the inquiry revealed that shameful negation has been reported from the death of previous Childs. The director further lamented that imprisonment in first place for Alex provide him with the worst and disastrous environment (Inquest. 2014). He emphasized that Alex case should restrict authorities to detain children is very much dangerous and it must end now.The death of young children and adults in the prisons show that there must be the independent review which incorporates the families to look at the wider systematic and the policy issues. During the year of two thousand eleven and two thousand fourteen around sixty adults died that were in the care of government (Bateman, 2016). The broader social, economic and the political context is also influencing the deaths and attitudes of the young generation. Publications and the research reveals that certain social construction of the youth leads to the death of many in the prison. The increased death in the prison is because of the fact that dehumanising nature and violent atmosphere of the prison.The reforms or that change can improve the situation of the prison. Otherwise, the present construction will continue to lose the lives of many people. The use of the prison for the young adults and the children needs the political and policy boldness. The unsafe environment where juvenile sent by the authorities is also dangerous and harmful to the children. The untrained and the scarce resources staff of the prisons cannot deal with the young individual, who have socio-psychological vulnerabilities. The repetition of the same mistakes and the repeated death of the young people unfolded that authorities are not ready to learn the lesson from the previous deaths. Such kind of lapses in the criminal justice system raised questions about the investigation, monitoring system and the inspection of the state institutions.The concerns and the reports of the repeated death of young people stressed new thinking and improvised policy reforms. The new strategies can help the state from avoidance of death cases like Alex Kelly. The number of the interventions and the policy planning are there to eliminate the problem of distorted social construction of the youth (Burke, 2016). There are children and the adults that have died with the background of family discord, substance misuse, exploitations and the abuse. These individuals have underpinned by the inequality and the poverty. These needs are recognized as the offending related requirements. The early interventions system is indeed an essential aspect that can influence the destructed young adults from the criminal justice system.The therapeutic schemes, community and the support services is essential for the youth to save them from the exploitations. Self-inflicted and self-harming death is also caused by the violent environment of the prison. Increased lock up and the impoverished regimes also contributed the increased death in the prison (Bradshaw, 2016). Discipline and the widespread bullying make anguish and isolated the young prisoners. The treatment and the intervention of the under custody juveniles like the Alex Kelly does not consider their needs and sufferings by the rehabilitating agencies. The punitive and the generic approach is observed in most cases of juvenile caring.The support and the help for the young adults are absent in the prison. At the point of the special custody of the young adult, the authorities do not provide the personal officers which are essential for the prisoner at risk. Many criminals are abducted in that prison that is meant for young people like the Young Offender Institution.  The number of reported death has occurred in those prisons that are not. Lack of communication between the statutory agencies and the establishment of the prison led to the unidentified death of young adults (Sanders, 2015). The risk for the self-harm and its identification also lacks due to the failures in communication. In the estate of prisons, there is the collaboration of enhancing pressure and under-resourcing.The reductions in the budge of the prison and cutting off the staff also lead to the bleak, overcrowded and the violent environment of the prisoners. Certain legal mechanisms which influence the failing of systematic prosecution. Lack of proper prosecution paved way for the destruction of a criminal justice system. There was no free legal aid for the father of Alex Kelly, it was done after the leading newspaper highlighted the case as front page story. The new coronial powers support learning from the previous incidents. However, the repetition of the same mistakes and failing of prisons continues to undermine the policies that were formulated for the penal institutions.The inconsistency and the delay in the process of the inquest lead to the socio-psychological distortions of the victim’s families (Smith, 2015). There is a number of people that have faced the double trauma while waiting for the decisions about the death their close relative in the prison. Restriction in providing legal aid and constraints in the legal representation further aggravated the bereaved family. Similarly, lack of the proper mechanism for the monitoring, audit and the recommendation of the inquest process restrains the people for cross-sector learning. It is also affecting the reform process in the criminal justice system. The father of the Alex Kelly reveals that serious failing emerged in the caring and support of Alex after his death.According to the father of Alex, imprisonment for his son destroyed his little life. He said that the authorities will learn the lessons from the death of his child and no harm will be given to another family (Smith, 2016). Other than the case of Alex, the mother of the 17 years old Jake, who died at the HMYOI Hindley in two thousand twelve also express her frustration and grief. She dreadfully explains that if her son could be moved by the authorities to a safer cell, it might save his life. She told that her family wake up every morning with the grief that prison officer helped the Jake to hang and end his life. In the same way, the chief inspector of the prison acknowledges that mental wellbeing of the prisoners is seriously jeopardised.The destructive, aggressive and the confrontational behaviour of the individual was not controlled by the authorities. Many of the officials have openly demonstrated that they are unable to cope with the psychological issues of young prisoners. The chief inspector lamented that clear policy for the criminal justice must be formulated which could help the officials and staff to retain the prison centred approach. The prevailing cultures according to the chief inspector are the institutional blindness which does not respond to the needs and the sufferings of the young prisoners. The approaches of the authorities are concerned with the punishment young adults. There is no focused on the child-centric approach to its welfare.The dentation of the children in an unsafe environment and is subjected to the degrading treatment. Bullying, strip-searching, restrain, and the segregation is some of the examples for the torturing of children in prison. In such an environment of disrespect and mental depression, the self-harm and the self-inflicted suicides are the common (Taylor, 2016). The responsibilities of the key agencies that are associated with the criminal justice system should be reformed according to the increase disruptive conditions of the young people in the prisons. The agencies like the Young Offending Teams need to work for the management of offenders. The youth justice board is also responsible for the protection of the rights of the young adults died in the prisons.With the turn of the century, there was considerable focus on the construction of the youth. Working was continued for the last many decades. The emerging European youth research, policy and the social youth working is impacting the policies and the social practices. The construction and the policy of youth challenge the meaning and the concept of being youth. The different social and cultural setting reveals that youth are essential parts of European society. The emergence of the concept of youth dates back to industrial society and with the advent of modernising society (Tonry, 2015). The beginning of the state intervention and the education reforms in Europe are influencing the construction of the youth in the western region.The change in the labour market and with the revolution of industrialisation attributed to the development and construction of the youth. It has severally affected the policy that works according to the latest changes and preferences of the policymakers. The beginning of the intervention of government and regulation in the child labour policies are the result of youth construction. The reorganisation of the criminal justice system according to the prevalent requirements of the youth are also contributing to the construction of the youth. Improvement in the lifestyle and the transformation of the different modes of the society are also the factors for the development of the youth (Tonry, 2015). The realisation of the time’s calibration has introduced the structuring of the one’s life by the units of measurement.The notion of the youth as a normative and normal stage in the life cycle became legitimate in Europe. The educational developments and the reforms in Europe and northern America are also enabling the construction of youth and influencing the policy makers. There were middle-class movements and campaigns in Europe. The perception regarding the youth as the agent of change under the regimes of totalitarian and fascist provides considerable importance to the policies and the practices (Wadman, 2017). The experience of being young individual undergoes shifts due to the occurrence of certain changes in the society. The modernity has radically transformed the lives of young people. The exploration of the self and the social landscapes are factors associated with the construction of youth.There is the number of projects that are running the state organization for the development and the welfare of the youth. The European projects are unfolding the political ideology which emphasised for the democratic values and the protection of human rights. The European youth centres in different regions are playing the critical role in the translation of European values and their induction the educational programs. Sharing the equal powers the entire sector of the youth council is managed by the international non-governmental youth organisation. Efforts are continuing for the promotion of youth education foundation which will ultimately influence the various policy decisions.Other than the organisation for the construction and development of the youth in Europe, the European Union has also played its role in the promotion of youth (Wadman, 2017). The operation sector programme along with the European youth project was started by the EU in the last decade to promote the values for the integration of youth in policy-making decisions. The EU has funded around the nine million euro over the duration of last decade. The values and thoughts of the youth organisation are overlapping with the EU ideology. The council for Europe concentrates on the promotion of civil society.The youth in Action programme provide the opportunities for the people run and support for the voluntarily services projects. The participation among the council of Europe and the European Commission provide new policy direction and the approach in generating young leaders. The establishment of the advanced training for the trainers ‘ATTE’ and the trainers for active learning ‘TALE’ is the result of cooperation between the different youth organisations. The programs are designed for the long-term courses to aim to identify the key competencies and the intercultural learning among the youth (Young, 2017). In the same way, the socio-economic factors that influence the work of youth were composed by the social work and the social education.The partnership of the Council of Europe and the European Commission in the field of the youth construction have considerable implications for the policy and the practices. The history of the social policy of youth in the UK is considered as the response to the problematic urban class of the post-industrialist youth society. The vulnerable target of the youth in the Thatcher period underpinned by the permissive approach to the managerialism of the audit culture. In the era of Tony Blair, there was the idea and demand for the joined-up services for the youth. The discourse of the youth construction is revolving around the conceptualisation of the youth workers as educators, psychotherapist and the instructor of education.The non-formal values of the self-determinism, voluntarism, and the autonomy are affecting the practices of the professionals serving in the youth field. The reaction of UK government in recent years against the riots is a case in point. The cause of ambiguity and the tension is the coexistence of the traditions of the voluntarism with the drive to achieve the professional status of the youth workers (Young, 2017). The successful development of the youth work in an increasingly connected world depends on the parameters of the policy and the national legislation. In the youth field research has been connected with the policies and the practices by the explicit and implicit way.In the EU these connections are embedded with the institutional frameworks and the wide range of networks and the organisations. The state institutions of Europe have the number of times introduce and promote the strong youth policies. The Council of Europe reaffirmed that in the 2020 agenda the role of youth research will be a principal element of the youth sector policy. The youth strategy of 2009 provides the number of promotional aspects for the development of youth. The coordination and the cooperation EU and national youth policy are the complementary mechanisms for the constructions of the youth in Europe.ConclusionConcluding the discussion on the young people and the criminal justice system it is to say that number of reforms are implemented by the state organisations. However, there are serious lapses in the criminal justice system which destroy the lives of many youth members of European communities. The case of the Alex Kelly reveals that failures of the key agencies and policy gaps lead to the increase self-inflicted suicides in the prisons of Europe.ReferencesAnsell, N., 2016. Children, youth and development. Routledge.Bateman, T., 2016. Having to (re) settle for second best? The gap between theory and practice in the resettlement of children. Prison Service Journal.Bradshaw, J. ed., 2016. The Well-being of Children in the UK. Policy Press.Burke, Roger Hopkins. Young people, crime and justice. Routledge, 2016.Inquest. (2014). Jury returns critical findings in the inquest into the death of 15-year-old Alex Kelly at HMYOI Cookham Wood.Sanders, J., Munford, R., Thimasarn-Anwar, T., Liebenberg, L. and Ungar, M., 2015. The role of positive youth development practices in building resilience and enhancing well-being for at-risk youth. Child abuse & neglect, 42, pp.40-53.Smith, H., 2016. Self-injurious behaviour in prison: a case study. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 60(2), pp.228-243.Taylor, C., 2016. Review of the youth justice system in England and Wales.Tonry, M., 2015. Is cross-national and comparative research on the criminal justice system useful? European journal of criminology, 12(4), pp.505-516.Wadman, R., Armstrong, M., Clarke, D., Harrow, C., Majumder, P., Sayal, K., Vostanis, P. and Townsend, E., 2017. Experience of self-harm and its treatment in looked-after young people: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Archives of suicide research, pp.1-15.Young, J., 2017. Merton with energy, Katz with the structure: The sociology of vindictiveness and the criminology of transgression. In Cultural Criminology (pp. 153-177). Routledge.

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