Assess the effectiveness of the criminal justice system when dealing with young offenders
The criminal justice system approaches young offenders through unique policies to address the challenges of dealing with juvenile offending. They take special care when dealing with juveniles in order to stop them from repeat offending and stop any potential bad behaviour which could result in future. Juveniles have the highest tendency to rehabilitate and most adopt law-abiding lifestyles as they mature. There are several factors influencing juvenile crime including psychological and social pressures unique to juveniles, which may lead to an increase in juvenile’s risks of contact with the criminal justice system.
Firstly, crime committed by persons between the ages of 15 to 19 are more likely to be processed by police more often than any other societal group, making crime rates in this age bracket significantly higher. This is due to the fact that offence rates usually peak during adolescence and will decline with maturity which happens during early adulthood. The processing of these crimes helps to embed the seed of legal knowledge in the mind of a child in hopes of shaping their future actions. In NSW the age of criminal responsibility is defined by statute as 10 years of age (Children’s (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 NSW). This means that a child under the age of 10 years cannot be prosecuted for a crime. The basis of this is the recognition of the immaturity and vulnerability of children and, hence, their inability to form the requisite criminal intent known as mens rea which protects a child from being tried at the level of the adult while they are not developed enough to know the difference between right and wrong. Additionally, the common law presumption of doli incapax refers to the presumption that a child is "incapable of committing a crime" between 10 and 14 years of age which protects a child who was unaware that the act was wrong.
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