Should Youth Offenders Be Held Responsible For Their Actions?

2132 Words Nov 25th, 2014 9 Pages
How should children in trouble with the law be responded to, by prioritising their welfare or by prioritising justice?

Some may view a child as innocent and incapable of being able to maintain self-control in certain situations, whether they are unable to understand what they may have done or whether it is the child who should be held responsible for their actions. Others share a view that whether someone is a child or not they should be held responsible for their actions. This debate between welfare and justice could also be looked at with the idea of whether youth offenders should be looked at as a child first or as an offender first. Over the history of youth justice in England and wales there has been toing and froing between the idea of welfare and justice and after looking at the available evidence and information this paper will suggest what may be viewed as the most effective way of responding to youth offending and troubled children.

In the history of youth offending prior to the nineteenth century youth offenders were treated as adults, sent to adult prisons and in some cases they were even hanged. Childhood was not, in the eyes of working class parents, employers and the law, an important chapter in their lives but gradually with regards to criminal behavior and social and legal control this changed (Burke, 2008 p.48). In the 1830s there was an attempt at creating a process to accommodate young offenders, for one example Parkhurst, which was the first penal…
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