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The Importance Of Public Protection In Youth Justice

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In youth justice, there are many principles that are considered when young people break the law. Public protection is a principle that assesses and manages the risks of often violent and sexual offenders, to prevent future harm to the public. The government’s five-year strategy for protecting the public and reducing re-offending introduced in 2006, explains that children and young people should be kept out of prison if possible. Prison sentences should only be considered when there is a great threat to public protection. Some people would argue that public protection is the most important principle because if the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) act correctly, they can reduce the number of victims at the hands of a repeat offender. Risk assessment…show more content…
Although punishment is necessary to discourage crime, and reoffending, Johnston, (2014) says that punishment has been used disproportionately in the past. For example: Cases where ‘petty crimes’ have been given prison sentences, when out of court disposals could have been used. However, the number of young people in the re-offending cohort has gone down each year since 2007/08, with the highest reductions among those with no previous offences as well as those receiving out of court disposals. This would suggest that many individuals do not go onto reoffend, or perhaps individuals grow out of offending. For this reason, it could be argued that overemphasis on punishment could be harmful, especially since labelling has an incredibly great impact on young people and their behaviour. Becker, (1970) expressed that individuals tend to conform or act up to labels that society places on them. This would suggest that punishment should be used carefully, and that all punishments should ‘fit’ the…show more content…
Historically the Children Act 1989’ regarded children’s welfare as being paramount. Nowadays, individuals tend to see the welfare of children as a primary concern. The sentencing council, (2008) discuss the issues of giving highly punitive sentences to young people. They say that mental health is prevalent amongst young people in the criminal justice system, suggesting that a more nurturing approach could be helpful in tackling the issue of crime and deviance. A welfare perspective could be argued to be more effective as it recognises that young people should be given a second chance. Others may argue that the welfare approach is too lenient, and that punishment would prevent a person from becoming involved in crime in the future. On the contrary, it is the opinion of the Youth Justice Board (YBS), (2010) that a welfare approach can be individualised, so that it meets the needs of the offender, ensuring that the reasons for offending are
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