To remove crime-induced fear and hopelessness and to discourage those who have a stake in the existing situation from sabotaging improvements I recommend the “New York” policing model (described by Griffith, 1999): Zero tolerance for all crime, even minor vandalism. This will often deter offenders from “progressing” to more serious crimes. Making senior local officers accountable for the performance of their units. Information systems which enable officers at all levels to identify and respond to the highest-priority requirements.
To make it clear to local communities that this is for their benefit and not just an exercise in “aggressive policing”, local governments should: Explain to local people the objectives of the project and the standards which are to govern police conduct. Provide channels through which locals can easily raise and swiftly resolve issues, including any complaints about the behavior of the police. These channels must be conspicuously independent of the police. Sentencing In mild cases, e. g. minor vandalism and assaults, I recommend: Community service sentences, where possible in forms which compensate the victims.
This also teach the offenders to get along with law-abiding members of their local communities and hopefully will encourage local people to see some good in the offenders. Some offenders should also be required to attend appropriate rehabilitation or training centers, to help them to manage their finances better or to stop using addictive drugs or to manage grievances without resorting to crime. We should probably reduce their community service workload a little to avoid seeing to punish these offenders more severely than other categories.
Electronic tags which track offender’s movements, to deter against re-offending or evasion of community service. Tags will also make it easier to protect former teenage gangsters against threats and other pressures to re-join their old gangs, and in some cases it may also be helpful to provide with young offenders with panic buttons in case they are attacked by their old gangs or by rival gangs which regard them as easy targets. Prison sentences (described below) for those who violate the terms of their initial sentences without overwhelmingly good reasons.
Prison sentences are necessary for serious crimes because the continued presence of serious offenders in their local communities will cause fear and therefore undermine attempts at longer-term improvements. In many cases, particularly for young offenders, work and education camps in sparsely-populated areas may be more suitable than traditional prisons: Such camps would separate the offenders both from the social environments in which they turned to crime and from the company of hardened criminals. Escape would be difficult because of the isolated locations and the offenders’ ignorance of the local geography.
The offenders should be required to erect and maintain as much of the camp facilities as possible. This would both teach them they can only get comforts by working and provide a sense of achievement with each improvement in the camp environment. There should be plenty of opportunities to earn privileges by work and by educational progress. Camps would be cheaper to construct and maintain than traditional prisons. I will explain at the end my views on the death penalty. Teenage gangsters desire higher status than they can acquire by legitimate means, and value the regard of their peers more highly than the opinions of adults.
The youths are often born into sub-cultures which are at least partially alienated from the rest of our society by Barriers such as poverty and discrimination. Sub-culture values such as extreme machismo. Typical crimes include vandalism, assault and murder, and small-scale armed robbery. In addition to their direct costs, these crimes often create an air of fear and hopelessness in the areas affected, which perpetuates the problem by persuading the next generation of teenagers that the only path to safety, status and prosperity is via gang membership.