"Youth Offenders Should Not Be Dealt with More Leniently Than Adult Offenders." Critically Discuss.

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“Youth offenders should not be dealt with more leniently than adult offenders.” Critically discuss this statement.

There are many controversial issues that challenge our society in contemporary times, but one that raises much debate is youth offenders and if they should be dealt with in the same way as adult offenders. In modern times people are no longer surprised when children commit crimes but rather than basing our judgement around personalised review of circumstances, offence committed, mental, social and intellectual factors we automatically believe that they are deviant and not likely to change. In this essay I argue that unless the juvenile poses a genuine threat to the safety of other juveniles, the severity of their offence
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There is little evidence to support treating youth offenders as adults most of the research done supports the view that, unless the severity of the crime is incomprehensible, then all alternatives need to be tried and exhausted first. Rehabilitation and community support is crucial to breaking the cycle of juvenile offending the reoffending rate can be lowered by juveniles having access to the right programs and treatments. One of the only ways to reduce the rate of recidivism in youths is by keeping them out of the prison system and away from adult criminal influence. If the youth does end up in detention centres they need to be supported and educated and support needs to continue upon release. Due to the development and success of many effective alternatives to trying youth offenders as adults it would be a step back for the criminal justice system to change legislation now.



Freilberg, A et al, Sentencing young offenders, Australia, Australian Law Reform Commission, 1988.

Simmons P, ‘Let’s exhaust alternatives to jail for young people’, in J Healey (ed), Issues in society: Juvenile crime, New South Wales, The Spinney Press, 2008.

White, R and Habibis, D, Crime and Society, South Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 2005.
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