Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Youth of Today

The Clients that I represent today are likely to turn in to Clients that I represent in the future as adults. I have represented a number of individuals over the past few weeks who seem to be on a very slippery slope and are likely to keep my firm very busy over the next few years. One particular Client appeared in the Youth Court for not complying with his supervision order, he was fortunate after he admitted this breach to be given a second chance. The youth then failed to comply with the requirements of his order again and at a later Youth Court hearing was sent in to youth detention (small people's prison) because the Court felt that he was going to fail again and again with any other sentence that they imposed. When I asked what could be said on my Client's behalf before the hearing the Client simply shrugged their shoulders and said, "Dunno".

Clients turn up to Youth Court with the knowledge that they may be sent away to a Young Offenders Institution and say that they are happy to go away provided that their mate is going there too!

I was told recently that a youth attended at a meeting with a Youth Worker where he lost his temper, in addition to the youth assaulting the Youth Worker one of his parents smashed property in the Youth Worker's office!

At the moment the future is bright for my line of work, there is a generation of youths growing up who do not see custody as a deterrent. They do not comply with the sentences handed down by the Youth Court, and quite frankly they see Youth Court as a meeting place instead as a place to be worried about. As long as the Youths have a complete disregard for the law their offending is likely to get more and more violent until they progress to the stage of beating, stabbing and killing victims. If Mr. Clarke thinks he has a problem trying to keep track of foreign nationals who have been released from prison he has a nightmare scenario trying to keep track of a large part of a generation!


Bystander said...

I have a horrible feeling that you are right. This is only peripherally a criminal justice problem - it's more to do with social conventions and attitudes.

How depressing.

Anonymous said...

Do you feel you have any sort of responsibilty towards these people?

It must be a thankless task, but you are porbably the one person who can command respect from them, after all you can "get them off".

Gavin said...


I have tried having 'pep' talks with these youths, I tell them to listen to their parents, I tell them that they are foolish to commit the crimes that they get involved in - but it is no good. They only listen to me when they are in Court and as soon as they get out they go back in to their own world. The threat of being locked up does not work on some kids so it does not matter what is said to those kids.

Anonymous said...

I regularly attend the Courts as an interpreter, and whilst waiting to be called I like to study the people, whether they are culprits, victims, witnesses or legal representatives, in the waiting area and cannot help but overhear their conversations. I often see the same youngsters there waiting to be judged on their latest misdoings, and from their conversations I conclude that they really do not care at all as to what judgement is taken. Sometimes I enter the public gallery and watch the "show", I really cannot describe it as anything else. They shrug their shoulders when given a custodial sentence, knowing they'll get free board and lodgings for a while and once freed will do what they do best: survive as a kind of feral rats against whom nothing works. As you said, the parents do not care and do not bother to accompany their offsping to court, probably not even knowing that that's where s/he is.
I do not know the answer to this problem, wish I did. Some people have great ideas about educating them, teaching them skills and along with it values, but as a teacher/educator I know that a) promised government money from the latest "initiative" rarely materializes, b) any initiative is for a fixed period only and then quietly follows all the other ones into oblivion, c) skills training set up by colleges rarely features what these youngsters actually want to learn. It usually focuses too much on language and maths, which is the last thing they want to learn, messing about with and learning about cars, computers, motorbikes etc. being their preferred methods of learning. And why not? Children learn best when given the relative freedom of learning what they want to leran, not what's prescribed by the education system. So perhaps we need some form of alternative education system, fully funded and not just for a limited period open to all youngsters if they so desire, rather than forcing them through the "one-size-fits-all" system we have now.
Blaming the parents of these youngsters is an easy option, but many of these became parents when still children themselves as were their parents!

Gavin said...


I am not sure that anyone has discovered 'the' answer to dealing with the youth of today. I certainly have struggled over the years to work out the answer.

You mentioned that you were a Court interpreter, could you answer a question about interpreters for me on this site http://www.criminalsolicitor.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=1328 ?

motoring solicitors said...

courts should give long jail sentences to youth offenders.