Recidivism In Juvenile Offenders Essay

1939 words - 8 pages

1.0 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Purpose of Report
The purpose of this report is to examine the current issues relating to society and provide recommendations to improve the legislation applying to such issues. In the context of this report, juvenile recidivism is an issue applying to every society within Australia and is considered to be a persistent problem in our criminal justice system (Chapman, 1995).
1.2 Legislation
There are a few aspects of legislation in relation to juvenile recidivism which need to be addressed in this report. The main act which will be referred to and critiqued is the Juvenile Justice Act 1992 [QLD] which establishes a basis for the administration of juvenile justice and ensures that all children are treated under the principles ascertained in the Act (AUSTLII, n.d.). In conjunction with this, the Criminal Code 1899 [QLD] will also be referred to.
1.3 Extent of Argument
Juvenile recidivism has become an increasing problem in Australia’s Criminal Justice System over the last decade (Caine, 1996). It should be considered important for this increase to be recognized and for appropriate changes to be made to relevant legislation. These changes do not necessarily have to be immense in the legal sense, but more rather immense in the positive impact it will have on the greater community.

2.0 THE ISSUE
2.1 Identification of the Problem
The term recidivism is defined by the Australian Institute of Criminology as ‘the act of relapsing into crime’ or ‘reoffending within a given legal system’ (Payne, 2007). For juveniles, this means that, under Queensland Legislation, any person who is repetitiously involved in criminal activity under the age of 17 years will be treated under the guidelines of the Juvenile Justice Act 1992 [QLD] (Johnston, 2009).
2.2 Causes
In recent research, recidivist children have been found to follow a certain pattern of characteristics in regards to their home life and surroundings (Caine, 1996). The majority of these children have been negatively impacted in their economic support, family life, schooling and education, mental health or have been socialised into substance abuse issues (Carcach & Leverett, 1999). This, in effect, causes the dynamic influence to commit crimes due to their surroundings and personal circumstances. Recidivism is greatest in children where; the child is not living with both parents or one or both parents are deceased; the child has experienced some form of trauma, neglect or abuse; the child has been suspended or expelled from school; the child associates with delinquent peers; or the child has had past contacts with the criminal justice system (Caine, 1996).
2.3 Relevant Legislation
The legislation which addressed this issue is the Juvenile Justice Act 1992 [QLD]. Section 141 to s144 as well as s150 and s157 refer to the treatment of children in the court process and sentencing (refer to Appendix A). In conjunction with this, the Criminal Code 1899 [QLD] will also be referred to...

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