International and Comparative Delinquency
Chapter 15 examines youth crime around the world and other nations' methods and systems for dealing with it.
- To appreciate why young people commit crime and learn how to effectively respond, we must look beyond our borders at how other societies handle juvenile justice.
CULTURE AND THE DISCONTENTED
- Culture consists of art, technology, customs, laws, artifacts, and the bond that makes individuals believe they're connected, special, and different from others outside the culture.
- The cultural components that determine whether behavior is rewarded or punished include religion, sex, and development.
- It is sometimes difficult to consider other cultures and to compare them with one's own because of cultural isolation, ability to affect, ethnocentrism, and globalism. However, there are major differences between cultures and justice systems that make direct comparisons difficult and unproductive.
JUVENILE DELINQUENCY AND JUVENILE JUSTICE IN OTHER COUNTRIES
- The major hurdles that researchers of comparative juvenile justice confront are the language barrier, definitional barriers, and the fact that countries report and record crime data in a variety of ways.
- China is undergoing extremely rapid social change and does not have a formal juvenile justice system. The adult system provides for the treatment of juveniles, but there is no statutory authority to guide the development of a separate system.
- Some of China's major, pressing issues include population, government, and religion.
- Other institutions in Chinese society, such as schools, families, and neighborhood organizations, handle most minor cases.
- India was heavily influenced by British colonization and based its legal institutions on the British model.
- Youth crime is a relatively small problem in India and isn't the foremost concern. Because of the large population that lives in poverty, India places a special emphasis on street children.
- Russia's new democratic institutions are struggling to develop approaches to crime and to address the causes of youth crime that stem from the family, poverty, and individuals' rising expectations.
- Russia attempts to use informal or alternative dispositions whenever possible. The law allows youth justice administrators to consider the circumstances of each case when creating a disposition.
- Capital punishment in Russia can't be used against persons under the age of 18, and a minor can't be incarcerated for more than 10 years.
- After years of apartheid, South Africa was transformed into a constitutional republic in 1996. The legal system in South Africa is still being developed, and currently there is no separate statute for young offenders.
- In South Africa, laws that govern the treatment of youths in the criminal justice system are distributed throughout a variety of other laws, including the country's constitution. These laws specify that the government must consider the age of the child and that detention should be used only as a last resort.
- Japan's juvenile law can be described as following the welfare and rehabilitation models.
- Japan devotes many resources to youth crime prevention. A prevention activity that isn't found in the United States is the company-police conference. Another prevention activity is the school-police conference, which does have an analog in the United States in the form of "Officer Friendly"-type programs.
- The police in Japan actively engage volunteers in organized prevention efforts. There are three types of police volunteers: the guidance volunteer, the police helper for juveniles, and the instructor for juveniles.
England and Wales
- The youth justice system in England and Wales is separate from those in other parts of the United Kingdom, as well as similar to that of the United States.
- The youth crime culture of England and Wales is distinctive in three ways: the use of drugs, the stealing of cars for "joyriding," and "yob culture."
- In England and Wales, offenders under 18 might receive reprimands and final warnings. A final warning means that a youth is referred to a local youth-offending team, which assesses the youth and prepares a rehabilitation program.
- English and Welsh juveniles between 10 and 17 are sent to youth courts, which were introduced in 1992.
- A youth in England and Wales might be tried in the adult criminal court for homicide, indecent assault, dangerous driving, or a "grave crime," or if the youth is charged jointly with another person age 18 or over.
- Hong Kong is a special autonomous region under the control of China. It does have more youth crime than it did a few decades ago, but is still one of the safest cities in the world. Still, the government has instituted diversion programs to identify and prevent youth crime.
INTERNATIONAL VICTIMIZATION OF CHILDREN
- Two international issues concerning childhood emphasize the mutable definitions of youth crime: child soldiers and child prostitutes. Both activities utilize children in ways that would give them the status of delinquents and/or victims in the United States, but in other countries are considered economic or military necessities.
- Children are vulnerable and can be both nurtured and controlled. How they are raised and what happens to them depends on a society's culture, rules, and laws.
- The use of children as soldiers in some countries reflects the renewed vulnerability of civilian populations to war and social instability.
- The child prostitution laws of some developing countries are overlooked by the authorities because of the money brought in by sex tourism. Children do not have a choice in their exploitation and are often sold into prostitution by their parents.