Explanations for criminal behaviour

John may also be liable to pay a fine (S135) PCSA 2000. Due to John's age the fine shall not exceed i?? 1000. Alternatively the court may order Johns father to pay the fine (S137) PCSA. A supervision Order (S71) CADA 1998 (with requirements can also be imposed). The purpose here will be to address the offending behaviour. Because John is 15 years old he can be put under the supervision of a social worker or probation officer for a period of time between 3months and 3years. This would be appropriate for John as it is looking into the reasons to why he offends.

Once these are intensified he can work on how he will avoid re-offending. Requirements for John can include, rehabilitation and cognitive behaviour skills training. Supervision Orders may also impose participation in The Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP). If the court finds Johns offending of a very serious nature then he may be sentenced to a Detention and training Order (S73) CDA. This order can be imposed on young offenders between the ages of 12 and 17.

This sentence is only given where the court feels the offence is very serious, or if the offender has an offending history. This order greatly applies to John. The first half of the DTO will be served in detention and the second half in the community. This can last for a period of 4-12 months (Powers of Criminal (Sentencing) Act 2000 (S90). Policies of working with young people include the child's welfare. The Children and Young Persons Act 1933 established that all courts should have great regard to the Childs welfare.

The Childs welfare should be paramount. The UN Convention of Rights of the Child states that in legal proceedings best interests of the child should prevail. National standards equal opportunities policy state that the youth justice system must be free of discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, age and disability and action must be taken to prevent discrimination. The Humans Right Act 1998 also states various Rights which people are entitled to, examples include Article 6 -Right to a fair trial and Article 7- No punishment without law.

Over the years sociologists and criminologists have researched various explanations for criminal behaviour. According to Putwain and Sammons (2002) these theories can be grouped together as biologically oriented and psychologically oriented. Biologically oriented – These are based around the idea that criminality is the effect of biological or genetic characteristics. Examples include Lombroso (1876) who initially suggested that criminals are 'born and not 'made'. Sheldon (1949) attempted to link criminal behaviour to bodily build or somatotype.

Psychologically oriented explanations for criminal behaviour include Sutherland's (1939) differential association theory, where it is suggested that criminal behaviour is learned through exposure to criminal norms, for example peer group and family. Social learning theory (SLT) is the behaviour theory that is most relevant to criminology.

Bandura (1977) emphasised the importance of modelling and observing the attitudes and behaviours of others. It explains human behaviour in terms of continuous reciprocal interactions between behaviour, cognitive and environmental influences e. g. peer pressure and parent child interactions. SLT has also been applied to understanding aggression, which is also evident in John. This has influenced disposals by therapeutic activities to change behaviour, learning new skills and training programmes such as anger management, good role modelling and what is unacceptable behaviour. Rutter et al, (1998) also emphasized the importance of psychosocial features in explaining criminal behaviour. These features will be discussed below. Poverty and social class was the first sociological variable ever looked at into possible causes of crime (Gullerray & Quetlet 1800).

People who do not have good fortune, comfortable homes and who lack opportunities in education and unemployment are more likely to commit crimes than those who do. There is also a strong coloration between disadvantaged neighbourhoods and crime (Krivo & Patterson 1990). Recorded crime figures constantly show higher crime rates in inner cities and poor council estates (Bottoms and Wiles 1997 research) A link between social class and known offending can be found in The Youth Lifestyle Survey 1998/99, where men in social class 1V and V are more likely to be serious or persistent offenders than others.

(Refer to graph below) (Findings from The Youth lifestyle survey 1998/99) This has influenced disposals in the CJS such as Action Plan Orders, where education, social skills and training programmes are undertaken in order to change behaviour and encourage better life opportunities. This has also influenced rehabilitation, which is aimed to ameliorate the alleged effects of emotional or social deprivation and enable young offenders to make positive choices about their lives.

Rehabilitation is concerned to remedy cognitive malfunction in the area of moral choice and eradicate dysfunctional social skills (Ross et al. , 1984). Broken homes and loss and separation have also been associated with criminal behaviour. John Bowlby's (1969) attachment theory cites that a secure attachment is essential for development. Once the bond is disrupted (Johns mother passed away when he was 8) this results in an insecure attachment and an inability to exhibit empathy linked to the capacity for later criminal behaviour (Richardson et al, 1994).

Evidence for broken homes can be found in The Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, where children in single parent families committed more juvenile offences than those in two parent families. This has influenced disposals such as Parenting Orders. Parenting Orders include educating in skills, effective monitoring of children's behaviour, well-focused disciple, good social problem solving skills and prosocial fostering. Parenting has also influenced Compensation Orders, where the parents take responsibility for their child and pay out damages on their behalf.

It has long been obvious that delinquent individuals tend to have delinquent friends and that many anti social activities are undertaken together with other people. Sutherland and Cressey (1955) argue that criminal behaviour is learnt through personal interactions within peer groups. If friends influence one another they become similar. This finding is also evident in the 2002 MORI youth survey where 44% of 1770 pupils offended due to peer pressure. This may be applicable to John because he is committing burglaries with other people. John may also be part of a gang.

Cairns & Cains (1994) suggest that individuals who join gangs are alienated youths and for them gangs provide the bond and love they lack in school (John has been excluded from school) and family (John does not have a bond or love from his mother). Disposals that influences this explanation include curfews where John will be required to stay at home after a certain time away from his peer group, he may also be electronically tagged, therefore will be unable to participate in anti social behaviour. Boredom is also a contributing factor of anti-social behaviour as evident in the MORI report 2002.

(61% Of 1770 pupils) admitted to behaving anti- socially due to boredom. This also links in with school exclusion. Hodgson and Webb's (2005) research on 56 young people who had been excluded from school, 40 of them had committed offences. This has influenced Supervision Orders where constructive activities are undertaken for example, attending a youth club to combat boredom, training and programmes to minimise the risk of offending behaviour, improving social skills and recognising unacceptable behaviours which operate in groups. Explanations for criminal behaviour also include individual features (Rutter et al 1998)

Various studies have shown that youth with mental health problems have higher offending prevalence rates than those without (Elliott & Huizinga 1984). Anti-social acts seem to have their origin in abnormal mental processes such as distorted perceptions, faulty reasoning and disordered modulation of affect. (Marzuk 1996) This has influenced the disposal RLLA and DTO where children and young people are in secure accommodation on the grounds of welfare and risk to others and themselves. John openly admits to drinking and taking drugs on regular basis. It may be that John is committing burglaries to 'feed' his drink and drugs habit.