Friday, 18 January 2008

Kids today - youth + justice

First thing's first, ASBOs are a joke.

I don't mind sounding like my grandpa when I say- 'the youth of today' needs to be addressed.

David Cameron has accused the government of abandoning their programme of 'Respect', and considering the events of the last few weeks, despite my great aversion to DC, I'd have to agree with him. "The Tories have always been strong on law & order, always" my father tells me.

If that is true and they proved it with policy, and I'm not questioning my dad, he's a very wise man, but I might even consider voting for them. Cameron has floated the idea of a form of National Service (national citizen's service) for all young people...

"something that every 16-year-old should do to learn about their duties and responsibilities as a citizen and inspire them as being part of our country instead of being people who hang round on street corners".

I get the basic idea, but does this go far enough? I like Cameron's suggestion that there should be an element of army training involved - BOOT CAMPS.

America has such schemes where citizens who overstep the mark of acceptable behaviour are sent to boot camps, not for a predetermined stretch of time, but until they're considered to be reformed - or as I like to think of it, taught a lesson.
Combine this with America's 'three strikes and you're out' crime initiative and I think we're on our way to having a real deterrent, making a real difference and finally having an effective policy, especially for youth crime.

ASBOs are not deterrents. There is one kid I read about who had 38 separate ASBOs! Surely receiving anything more than three should set off alarm bells with a) the parents b) the police and c) the numerous judges who each time let him walk free knowing that the twenty or thirty previous ASBOs hadn't made a difference.

If any party was to announce a policy of 'under-18s inactive curfews', I'd join them.
We shouldn't have folk hanging round the streets.

"There's nothing for us to do" is no justification for just hanging about.

Now I know that some people will read this and say "too harsh", "police state" etc, but to be honest, I don't care if it is a bit harsh. If, as they say, there's nothing for them to do, then being at home will make no difference to their actions. Also, how can we, as a nation, accept this excuse, when by a long way, the majority of teenagers in the country are not loitering, causing trouble, getting ASBOs, getting drunk on the streets. Where are the well-bahaved youth of today spending their time? I don't know, but they're doing it peacefully, quietly and acceptably.

So come on politicians, ignore the claims of police state, and heavy-handed, let's fix this.

No loitering outside after 8pm. - Three strikes and you're off to boot camp.

No more ASBOs. If someone commits a crime, send them to prison.

Build more prisons. Stop comparing ourselves to foreign statistics on prison population, worried that it will make us look bad, because if bad people are out in the community, then bad things will happen in the community. Then crime stats go up.

I'd rather we had a high prison population and a low crime rate than the other way around.

More than fifty per cent of crimes are committed by repeat offenders, we need to be tougher on crime, tough on the causes of crime - criminals. Teaching RESPECT ain't gonna cut it, we need to say, in the words of DC, "enough is enough".

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