Legal Hsc Effectiveness/Compliance of Law

The majority of individuals within a society obey the law most of the time. Individuals enjoy the freedoms and protection a well-organised and, at times, well regulated society gives. It is partly for this reason that the majority complies with the law. The criminal justice system can also promote and sure greater compliance with the law on behalf of society where individuals do not comply. (Crime Prevention – Situational and Social) Two main areas of crime prevention include situational and social crime prevention.

Situational crime prevention is when the physical environment is influenced where crime occurs to deter people from committing a crime by things such as installing CCTV or installing alarm systems. Another is rational choice theory, decreasing the rewards of a crime while increasing risks and costs such as colour tags attached to clothing. Although these will not always stop a crime from being committed, people may be deterred when they know they are at risk of being obstructed or caught.

Sydney Morning Herald article ‘Pink trains would make woman safer’ suggests only allowing women and children boarding pink carriages on trains as a ‘safe zone’ as it has access to guards and an alarm. This is an example of situational crime prevention and how it ensures people will comply with the law, allowing them to think twice before sexually assaulting women on trains. The second area of crime prevention is social crime prevention and it attempts to address the underlying social factors that may lead to criminal behaviour such as a poor environment or social and economic disadvantage.

Funding educational programs in school to raise the education of students deemed to be ‘at risk’ and parenting workshops to provide skills and empower themselves and their children to make better life choices are examples of social preventative measures. (Purposes of sentencing and punishment) The courts also play a part in ensuring society complies with the law. The Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) sets out the purposes of sentencing and available punishments for the crime they have committed.

The primary purpose for sentencing is deterrence, retribution, rehabilitation and incapacitation. Deterrence relates to passing a higher sentence to invoke fear of punishment to help prevent future offenders. The Sydney Morning Herald article ‘Long jail term for cocaine conspiracy’ reported that two men have been passed long sentences after trying to import cocaine to Australia, the Judge passed this sentence because “the evils of cocaine… demanded strong deterrence for those who try to import it”, showing how deterrence is used to make the general community understand the consequences of crime.

Rehabilitation, shown in R v White (2012) NSWSC, the judge sentenced white to 32 years in prison and stated “another purpose of sentencing is rehabilitation… a prevention for recidivism” to ensure future compliance with the law. Thus, it is evident how sentencing and punishment in the criminal justice system promotes greater obedience with the law. (Rehabilitative initiative with young offenders) Another way the criminal justice system attempts to divert criminal activities is by rehabilitation programs for young offenders.

Youth Justice Conferences (YJCs) is a measure to divert young offenders from the court system through a conference that addresses the offender’s behaviour in a more holistic manner. The purpose of YJCs is to allow the offender to take some responsibility for their actions, to promote better family understanding of the issues and to provide the offender with appropriate support services to assist them to overcome their difficulties. It has been well received by commentators in encouraging rehabilitation of the offender.

Conferences could replace jail’ by Sydney Morning Herald, highlights that youth justice conferences have a positive impact on young offender’s lives, showing remorse and making amends. Therefore, YJCs encourage compliance with the legal system for young offenders by trying to prevent them from further recidivism. In conclusion, it is clear from the essay, the criminal justice system attempts to promote and ensure greater compliance with the law by situational and social crime prevention, sentencing and punishment and rehabilitative initiative with young offenders.