Preach, not Punish: Why we Need to Rethink our Approach to Youth Justice

Categories ISSUE 7

Preach, not Punish:
Why we Need to Rethink our Approach to Youth Justice

by Jonathan Russel Ee Wen Suen

This article argues for the youth justice system of England and Wales to embrace a shift in method in dealing with offending youth. Particularly in relation to youths, overly punitive practices do not appear to be effective. Given the less developed state of a young mind, youths are unable to fully comprehend the rationale of punishment. This could have devastating consequences on youths, possibly causing many to spiral further into a life of crime. A welfarist agenda, on the other hand, will allow the youth to understand the error of his ways, as well as cater to his rehabilitation. Punishment in itself fails to tackle the root of the problem. Society should move toward embracing useful long-term solutions, rather than settling for the short-lived comfort of knowing that punishment has been meted out.

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