The Federation Press

Responding to Youth Crime

Towards radical criminal justice partnerships

Overview

This book presents a critique of the traditional responses to youth crime by criminal justice agencies in Australia, UK, New Zealand, USA, Canada, and a vision of how these agencies could respond more effectively.

The critique examines the ways in which traditional criminal justice approaches trap young people into, rather than turn them away from, a life of crime.

The vision is for criminal justice agencies - police, courts, and corrections - to become more pro-active partners in society’s efforts to guide young people towards becoming happy and productive citizens; for these agencies to focus less on the exercise of retributive powers and to embrace restorative approaches; and for agencies to develop a crime prevention role through partnership with community organisations.

Author Paul Omaji argues against concentrating resources on the symptom when the underlying causes are within our intellectual grasp and amenable to effective criminal justice responses.

Omaji demonstrates the capacity of criminal justice agencies to become constructive partners with community organisations in preventing youth crime and constructs ground rules for high impact partnerships.

Reviews

Overall this book takes an interesting approach, with many practical examples, illustrating the background to the handling of youth crime. ... As Omaji argues, the Western world seldom seems to view children and young people as knowing, having and doing, but rather as needing, lacking and emerging. The goal should not be to change youth into the mainstream image, but to integrate their cultural values and structures into the mainstream means of dealing with crime. This is an admirable goal to strive for, and Omaji argues it with dedication and devotion. ... - British Journal of Criminology Vol 44(5), 2004

A timely critique of the traditional responses to youth crime in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. - ChildRight (UK), April 2004

Challenging the traditional perceptions regarding youth and the criminal justice system, this title provides an insightful assessment of western institutions and their response to issues of youth crime. It considers a number of pertinent issues including the function of law enforcement agencies in adopting more proactive methods, a greater focus on restorative capacities and preventative ventures, and the promotion of healthier and subsequently more secure communities. In addition, it examines such themes as the criminal justice system’s perception of youth, whilst analysing traditional responses to youth crime. A focus on young people and the law makes this valuable as a reference for Legal Studies: Part III Law in focus. - SCAN (Curriculum K-12 Directorate NSW), February 2004

A refreshing analysis into social structures that encourage and support criminal behaviour, forcing the reader to question the intention of public policy in western nations. We are asked to reflect on our own prejudices while being offered examples of the subtle and not so subtle influences that have created such prejudices. The book clearly argues that unless the system itself takes responsibility for restoring partnerships between the young and the old, the offender and the victim, the rich and the poor, the colonized and the colonizer, offenders will be less successful in realizing in a meaningful way the impact of their offending.
The premise of the book’s existence is based on the view that criminal justice agencies can and should concern themselves with the prevention of future crimes through a socially oriented proactive and collaborative participation in legal and community safety projects. Numerous examples are explored, highlighting how youths have resisted stereotypes only to lead to further constructions and mistruths about youth and crime. ...
The book is extensively researched and academic in style. It constructively offers hope in the complex web of criminal justice responses to youth. - Victims’ Voice, June 2003

Table of Contents

Criminal justice thinking about youth
Young ’actors’ in criminal justice ’imaging’ of youth
Traditional criminal justice response to youth crime
Trends and costs of traditional criminal justice response to youth crime
Towards partnership: changing perspectives in criminal justice
Criminal justice partnerships: selected experiences
The partnership benchmark for traditional criminal justice response
Criminal justice prevention of youth crime: future directions
References
Index

Of interest...