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Application of Criminological Theories to Young People

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 1673 words Published: 18th May 2020

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A young person is somebody who is 10 to 17 years old. 10 years old is the age of criminal responsibility in the jurisdiction of England and Wales. The main offence young people do is connected to violence against other people. Other offences that young people do are theft, criminal damage, motoring offence and drugs. Youth offending are teams that work with young people and help them and advise them why is it important to stay out of trouble with the law. These teams will get in contact with young people when they get into trouble with the police or they are arrested. Youth offending teams are very closely connected with the local council and also, they are separate from the courts and police. These teams work with the police, housing, health and children’s services, schools and education authorities, charities and the local community and probation officers.

Due to the governmental policies and initiatives in youth offending fewer and fewer young people commit crimes. This is a very good impact of the policies but the number of young people committing crime is too high. One statistic shows that after young people are released from custody they re-offend within few months. This is on of the issues but there are more. Another one can be that too much money is allocated for secure children’s homes; secure training centres also known as youth offenders’ institutes. Another issue is that young offenders lack basic skills and they have very big problems in finding employment. This happens due to the early leave from education. Because of these issues’ actions were taken. One of them to reduce youth crime is Secure Colleges. “These colleges were built to treat a young individual’s time in custody as education with detention, rather than detention with education as afterthought.” (Ministry Of Justice, 2015). After young people leave these colleges, they can return to suitable accommodation like going back into education or employment. Another action that can be taken in order to reduce youth crime is to reduce young sentencesx andx makingx themx morex effectivex atx rehabilitating.

 This pipeline shows two different ways a young person can develop. The first (station) is when he/she is sent out of class. After this he/she will get a detention. Following detention, isolation will come which may lead to temporary exclusion which also can lead to Permanent Exclusion. On the other side, if the student gets empathy and support, he/she will be very likely to have a success future.

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 There are no simple reason why young people get into crime. One of the main factors that can influence a young person’s future is the role of parents. Usually, parent are the most important people in a young people’s life. Parent’s thinking and their views and behaviours can influence in a good or bad way their children. In most cases if parents have a good relationship with their children and communication is always occurring there is a low chance of their children to go into crime. “Another thing is when parents and children can agree clear rules and help children stick to them as much as possible.” (nidirect, 2018). Not doing well in school, being absent from school, difficult family relationships, lack of boundaries and parental supervision, having friends who commit crime, drug and alcohol misuse or mental health issues, such as attention deficient and hyperactivity disorder can be the main reasons why young people may get into crime. (nidirect, 2018)

Drift Theory Matza- This theory presents why some people lead to criminal activity and deviant behaviour. He says that we are more likely to commit crime or engage in deviant behaviour when we are young and less as we age. Matza suggests that there are some techniques used by people that do deviant acts. (1964, 2018)

As we can see in the image above, these techniques are used as an excuse. They also can be used as an attempt to avoid censure or punishment rather than drifting back into mainstream values. (Oxford Bibliographies, 2014)

Hirschi Bonds Theory- This theory of crime focuses on why people most of the time do not commit crimes. Hirschi came up with few examples that shows us why people sometime stay out of crime.

Cohen: Status Frustration- This theory explains us that those young people that fail at school are defined as failures by wider society. Because of this, these young people will experience status frustration. Also, because of this status, they will be given little or no respect by the other members of the society.

“Criminologists have long assumed that socio-economic conditions and social inequality play an important role both in why particular individuals become involved in criminal activity and in determining levels of crime within particular societies. The huge rises in crime that occurred from the 1950s to the early 1990s ended any easy assumptions about rising prosperity inevitably leading to falls in crime, and the crime decline in recent years has similarly put paid to the idea of any simple connection between economic crises and crime levels.” (Newburn, 2016).

School and community are very important in children development. It is less likely for children to get into trouble if their parents are interested in their school life and they communicate with their teachers. By doing these, children are encouraged to go to school as often as possible. Another way to keep out of crime activity is to enrol them into activities such as youth clubs, sports clubs or even church groups.

Legislation and other methods against youth offending:

Children and Young People Act 1969:

“The purpose of the Act is to extend the statutory framework for children in care in England and Wales and to ensure that such young people receive high quality care and services which are focused on and tailored to their needs.” (Wong, 2008).

ASBOs also known as anti-social behaviour orders were introduced following the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act. The only criteria that the magistrate must use in deciding to impose an ASBO is that the individual has behaved in an anti-social manner “that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress”.

The order must last for a minimum of two years and can remain in force until a further order is made and it can be given to anyone over the age of 10 for a large range of behaviours.  These civil court orders are disproportionately received by children, imposing restrictions for sub-criminal behaviour.

 A positivist believes that crime is not chosen but caused largely by factors beyond the offender’s control. This belief is that offenders simply cannot help themselves. Psychological or environmental factors have influenced their behaviour and the existence of these factors means that offenders are almost made to become criminals. This is one of the great contradictions of the positivist approach to crime is its focus on reformation and rehabilitation. (UKessays, 2017). As we can see from the statistics youth criminality has dropped and is continuously dropping each year due to youth offending teams and many other factors but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done so youth criminality becomes inexistent.


  • 1964, M., 2018. Matza Theory. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.tutor2u.net/sociology/reference/matza-subterranean-values-and-drift-explained
    [Accessed 25 10 2019].
  • Ministry Of Justice, 2015. government policy: young offenders. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2010-to-2015-government-policy-young-offenders/2010-to-2015-government-policy-young-offenders
    [Accessed 25 10 2019].
  • Newburn, T., 2016. Social disadvantage, crime, and punishment. [Online]
    Available at: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/68133/1/Newburn_Social%20Disadvantage%20and%20Crime.pdf
    [Accessed 25 10 2019].
  • nidirect, 2018. Preventing incolvement in crime. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/preventing-involvement-crime
    [Accessed 25 10 2019].
  • Oxford Bibliographies, 2014. Matza Theory 1964. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780195396607/obo-9780195396607-0140.xml
    [Accessed 25 10 2019].
  • UKessays, 2017. Preventing Youth Offending thourgh Social work. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.ukessays.com/essays/social-work/youth-offending.php
    [Accessed 25 10 2019].
  • Wong, B., 2008. The Children and Young Persons Act 2008. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed28948
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