mk177
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Hi guys,

I have a university assessed criminology essay which is:

“Youth crime is as much a problem of political and media construction as it is a real threat”.
To what extent do you agree with the above assertion? Propose recommendations for future youth justice policy that reflect your views on this statement.

does anyone have any ideas on how this could be answered? would one have to talk alot about the social construction of crime, for example labelling theory? and what about the recommendations for future youth justice policy

thanks
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adelante
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(Original post by mk177)
Hi guys,

I have a university assessed criminology essay which is:

“Youth crime is as much a problem of political and media construction as it is a real threat”.
To what extent do you agree with the above assertion? Propose recommendations for future youth justice policy that reflect your views on this statement.

does anyone have any ideas on how this could be answered? would one have to talk alot about the social construction of crime, for example labelling theory? and what about the recommendations for future youth justice policy

thanks
You are right. The sociological theories you should look at are social construction, labelling. You should also look at the concept of moral panic by Stanley Cohen. Borrow a copy of the recent re-issue of the book which talks about moral panic relevance today.

You could talk about the last 15 years and moral panic about youth crime and also the moral panic about youth stabbings. Certainly mention the Jamie Bulger case as the tabloid scum (I hate the tabloids, sod impartiality) went berserk over this case. And be sure to read about the lives of the Venables and Thompson the 10-year-old perpetrators. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_James_Bulger

As far as youth justice goes, the UK locks up more young offenders than ever before despite youth offending declining. I've attached two briefing papers -- one from Barnados and one from the Nacro, who work with offenders. these give a discussion of policy and I suggst you do a google for further stuff.

You might find the following notes I made helpful which I posted about crime awhile back.

Not wanting to appear soft on crime Tony Blair as shadow home secretary in 1993 declared that Labour would be "tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime". Blair sought to balance the populist, hard stance favoured by the modernisers in his party with a more progressive Labour and liberal tradition of addressing the underlying causes of crime such as poverty and social deprivation which was more favoured by many of Labour's back-benchers.

After the toddler James Bulger was murdered by two 10-year-old boys in February 1993 the Conservatives took a very hard line on young offenders and legislated for secure training centres of under 15-year-olds in the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. This drew criticism from Tony Blair who unequivocally opposed these secure centres describing them as "short-sighted beyond belief" and as being expensive and ineffective. However, by the time of the 1997 election none of these centres had been built. Yet after only a few months in government Labour's home secretary Jack Straw announced that these secure centres for under 15s would be built and the first opened in April 1998 run by a subsidiary of the private security firm Group 4.

New Labour in government committed itself to locking up more criminals and increasing policing but within Conservative spending plans which resulted in severe overcrowding in prisons and a stretched police force. In many ways there seem to be a great deal of continuity between Michael Howard's policies and the policies of Labour's then home secretary Jack Straw. And the same can be said for Straw's successor David Blunkett who although originated from the left in the Labour Party has been criticised for promoting very authoritarian policies. In ten years of government the prison population rose from 60,000 in 1997 to 80,000 prisoners in 2007.

On the one hand New Labour brought in many "tough on crime" policies. With its Crime and Disorder Act 1998 New Labour confirmed it was now the government of law and order and not only would it be tough, it would be tougher than the Conservatives. Home secretary Jack Straw pursued a "zero-tolerance" policy influenced my New York's mayor Giuliani which was mostly aimed a 15- to 25-year old boys and men. Anti-Social Behaviour Orders were introduced -- a civil order with a criminal sanction if they were breached -- and parenting orders held parents responsible for their errant offspring. Huge numbers of CCTV cameras were installed in city centres, and speed cameras on roads.

Nevertheless, New Labour also perused policies which addressed the causes of crime with policies aimed at reducing social exclusion and a new deal for communities where training was invested in run-down communities. Since Labour came to power crime has fallen according to the British Crime Survery which assesses peoples expreience of crime. Nevertheless, Labour's Anti-Social Behaviour Orders which were supposed to prevent crime have been been criticised for failing to stop crime. ASBOs are frequently breached and even the government is considering changing this policy to prevent crime.

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adelante
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stuff attached

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mk177
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Hi thanks for some great help and ideas. I have made an essay plan and done some research but i am slightly struggling. I want to talk about moral panics, and basically how youth throughout history have been labelled by the media and politicians as evil or criminals, and as a result of this there has been increased legislation in order to deal with this 'new problem'. An example being after the Bulger murder, the great amount of legislation inroduced. But would it be worth talking about youth subcultures, and how the interactionists(Stanley Cohen) believe that these subcultures are completely produced by the media.
Also i am struggling a little to know what to write about the political construction part of the question. would this just be the legislation that the government introduce, which makes it seem as though youth crime is more of a problem than it is.

also with the future youth justice policy, should i discuss the youth policy which there is at the moment, and give its positives and neatives. But i dont really get how to link it to the first part of the question.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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adelante
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(Original post by mk177)
Hi thanks for some great help and ideas. I have made an essay plan and done some research but i am slightly struggling. I want to talk about moral panics, and basically how youth throughout history have been labelled by the media and politicians as evil or criminals, and as a result of this there has been increased legislation in order to deal with this 'new problem'. An example being after the Bulger murder, the great amount of legislation inroduced. But would it be worth talking about youth subcultures, and how the interactionists(Stanley Cohen) believe that these subcultures are completely produced by the media.
Also i am struggling a little to know what to write about the political construction part of the question. would this just be the legislation that the government introduce, which makes it seem as though youth crime is more of a problem than it is.

also with the future youth justice policy, should i discuss the youth policy which there is at the moment, and give its positives and neatives. But i dont really get how to link it to the first part of the question.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I think you need to be careful to answer the question. The Q is not about youth sub-cultures.

“Youth crime is as much a problem of political and media construction as it is a real threat”.
To what extent do you agree with the above assertion? Propose recommendations for future youth justice policy that reflect your views on this statement.
You need to talk about youth crime and public perceptions of it. So first you need to un-pick the first part of the q above and explain waht it means. You could take a more historical analysis as you have already described then move to the last 15 years.

You need to deal with sociological and criminological theories.

I'd suggest you keep the historical stuff to a minimum and concentrate on the creation of (or not, depending on your view) of the current perception of youth crime. There's an awful lot you could say on the Bulger case and also on the later Liz Hurley case (she was robbed by teenage girls outside her flat in London in 1994) which sparked a panic about girl gangs. See this post and the links from it
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...54&postcount=5

The Bulger case really has got a lot in it to discuss. It really was a turning point in a much more punitive youth justice system. The fact that these boys were tried in an adult court, the campaign by the Sun and the subsequent laws brought in.

What we have here is a politicisation of crime. The current youth policy you could argue was created out of the media circus around Bulger.

The crime itself (it was a very, very unusual crime) media campaign, politicians want to be seen to be doing something about youth out of control (despite this being not being a trend but one instance) then a shift to a change in policy, the decision to try the two boys in an adult court (they should have been in a special youth court).

And the hardline policy of locking huge numbers of youths when all crime is falling (according to statisctics) and youth crime is falling.

Policy, well de-politicise crime. Politicians shouldn't interfere.

Then the current debate (which seems to have waned a little recently) about knife crime. Automatic jail sentence for carrying a knife? Lock more youths up?

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mk177
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cheers this is really helpful. the question asks to what extent i agree with the statement. now i have a lot of info on how i agree with it, but what would the other side of the argument be? is it that there is a real threat of youth crime, which is supported by the politicians who claim this?
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adelante
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The threat of crime exists. This is legitimate concern. But you could also argue that media and politicians exaggerate crime so much that a fear of crime is more of an issue. In other words you could argue that "media construction" is more of a threat. So there are three basic arguments here.

1. Agree with the assertion: both the media and political construction and the reality are an equal problem.

2. Disagree with the assertion: youth crime is a real threat, the media is just the messenger.

3. Disagree with the assertion: youth crime is exaggerated by both the media and politicians and youths are demonsied. The medium is the message (to coin the phrase by Marshall McLuhan)

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Candyflosses
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Hello, some of the ideas in you essay about the media blowing youth crime out of proportion also fits in with the views of the Respect? campaign, they need 1000 people to sign their pledge which tries to get young people to take action themselves to get their true voice into the media. To sign it follow this link: http://www.pledgebank.com/RespectSpeakUp

Thank You
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Jackson12
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Hi, I'm finding this question hard to answer can someone please give me some ideas. How useful are the concepts of 'Moral panic', demonisation and politicisation to the youth justice policy analyst?
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kerry157
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Can someone please help me with this question thanks.
How useful are the concepts of ‘moralpanic’, ‘demonisation’ and ‘politicisation’ to the youth justice policyanalyst?
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kerry157
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How useful are the concepts of ‘moralpanic’, ‘demonisation’ and ‘politicisation’ to the youth justice policyanalyst?
Anyone have any ideas.
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