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Kyla Evans

on 14 October 2013

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What is Youth Crime?
Youth crime, also referred to as juvenile delinquency, is participation in illegal behavior by minors.

The minimum age of criminal responsibility is set at 10 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Such crime carried out by juvenile delinquents include:
- Theft/Burglary
- Assault
- Graffiti
- Rape
... and a new trend of crime linked to internet and fraud

Classicism vs. Positivism
Positivists, unlike the classical reformers, sought to explain the world around them. They saw behavior as determined by biological, psychological, and social traits. They focused on a deterministic view of the world, on criminal behavior instead of legal issues, and the prevention of crime through the treatment (or reformation) of offenders.

The use of scientific techniques was important to the positivists. Data was collected in order to explain different types of individuals and social phenomena. Naturalists and anthropologists formed the theory of evolution which was a very critical component to the study of human criminal behavior by the positivists. Humans were responsible for their own destinies.

Criminology, according to Edwin H. Sutherland, one of the modern founding scholars of American criminology, is the body of knowledge which regards crime as a social phenomenon.

It includes the processes of: making laws, breaking laws, and the reacting toward the breaking of laws. Together, these three processes form a unified sequence of events.
Positivist School
Cesare Lombroso replaced the notion of free will and rationality with the notion of determinism.

Together with his followers, Enrico Ferri and Raffaele Garofalo, he developed the positivist school of criminology which sought explanations for criminal behavior through scientific research and experimentation.

Lombroso believed in the "criminal born" man and woman. He believed they had physical features of ape like creatures that were not fully developed as humans were.

Lombroso measured thousands of live and dead prisoners to prove his theory. He noted that criminals lacked moral sense, had an absence of remorse and used much slang. Lombroso later added social and economic factors to his list of crime causation but said they were second in nature to biological, predetermine factors.

His theory however has been kept alive, not by agreement but by much criticism.

With this, we have seen how the theorist of the Positivist school applied their theories to criminology, attemtpting to understand why some individuals commit crime more than others.

Newspapers highlight daily the menace posed by “hoodies” and gangs, and the increasingly creative range of measures implemented against them.

A recent study by Cambridge University identified intense fears in communities across the UK about “the decline in mutual respect and social cohesion, the dominance of anti-social behavior, materialism and the cult of celebrity”.

For the past few years, broken homes, a child's family position, and family size have been the subjects of considerable study within the crime and delinquency field.

The issue of Youth Crime
What is the problem today?
What causes youth to commit crime?
Ideas of the Positivist
The Classical School was not interested in studying criminals, but rather law making and legal processing. Crime, they believed, was activity engaged in out of total free will and that individuals weighed the consequences of their actions. Punishment is made in order to deter people from committing crime and it should be greater than the pleasure of criminal gains.
Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794)

Beccaria thought that crime could be traced to bad laws, not to bad people. A new modem criminal justice system would be needed to guarantee equal treatment of all people before the law.

Enrico Ferri
Raffaele Garofalo
Cesare Lombroso
The End.
Any questions?
Carrabine, E., Cox, P. et. al. (2004). Criminology: A Sociological Introduction. New York:Routledge

Lilly, R., Cullen, F., and Ball, R. (2011). Criminological Theory: Context and Consequences. London: Sage Publications.

Google.com for images

Youtube.com for video
Full transcript