The number of young people found guilty by the juvenile courts or formally cautioned by police has fallen in England and Wales during the past 15 years. For example, between 1983 and 1993 the proportion of 10- to 13-year-old boys who were found guilty or cautioned for more serious ‘indictable’ offences dropped by 42 per cent, with a corresponding 15 per cent decline among 14- to 17-year-olds.
However, the apparent decrease is almost certainly an illusion. Police-recorded crime statistics and national surveys of the victims of crime both agree that the types of offence most often committed by young people - such as burglary and taking vehicles - have risen dramatically over the same period. Procedural changes appear to account for the discrepancy, especially a growing reluctance to take juveniles to court and an increasing tendency on the part of police to issue unrecorded warnings rather than formal cautions.
The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee suggested in 1993 that one explanation for a higher crime rate and a lower number of juvenile offenders might be an increase in the number of persistent young offenders responsible for a disproportionate volume of crime. But there is no evidence to support this suggestion.
Editor's comments - [ The decline in the number of young offenders recorded in criminal justice statistics over the last 15 years is almost certainly illusory and many young offenders become habitual criminals. Tackling youth crime is now an imperative, according to a review by David Farrington of the Institute of Criminology.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is an independent, non-political body which funds programmes of research and innovative development in the fields of housing, social care and social policy. It supports projects of potential value to policy-makers, decisiontakers and practitioners. It publishes the findings rapidly and widely so that they can inform current debate and practice. ] Reference this?Cryer, J. (Year). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from <this page's full URL>
In the text: Cryer (year)
Reference : Farrington, D. (2006). Understanding and preventing youth crime (findings). York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation
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