The criminal justice system

In this assignment I will discuss the disposals available within the criminal justice system that can respond to the relevant offences in the given case study. I will also identify the legislation and policies on which they are based. Explanations for criminal behaviour will also be discussed as well as the effectiveness of these disposals in addressing the offending behaviour. The purpose of The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 is to tackle crime and disorder as well as create safer communities.

Underlying themes include, public bodies to consider the crime and disorder implications of all their decisions, local authorities to work in partnership with the community to cut crime rates and the aim of the youth justice system to reduce offending and take quick action. Intervention should also tackle the particular factors of an individuals (personal, family social or educational) and punishment proportionate to the seriousness and persistence of the offence. The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (YJCEA) introduced a new mandatory sentencing disposal - the referral order for 10-17 yr olds pleading guilty for the first time.

Part 2 of the Act makes provision for witnesses who find giving evidence in proceedings difficult. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and its codes of practice provide the police with powers they need to combat crime. In doing this it sets out to strike the right balance between police powers and the rights of the public, I will now look at the disposals available in the CJS, which are appropriate in responding to John's behaviour. I will also locate these disposals into the relevant legislation.

Due to John having a previous record for theft it is most likely that he has received a reprimand or even a final warning in the past in accordance with the CDA 1998, (S65). The police under (PACE) 1984 have the power to arrest, question and detain John at the police station. Following the arrest if John is charged the police have a number of options/pre- trial processes. This includes bail. If John is remanded on bail awaiting trial appropriate adult support should be provided as under (S38) of The Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Other bail options include unconditional bail where John will be advised to appear at court at a specified date and time, or conditional bail where he is required to attend court and not interfere with any witnesses, not re-offend and sign on at the police station. The police may also consider remanding John to local authority accommodation under (S38) of (PACE). John may be placed with foster carers or inside a children's home. RLAA with a security requirement is also an option. This involves security requirements where John is in a secure environment. This is outside the prison system but there is a risk of self-harm.

If John is kept in RLAA with a security requirement then reviews must be carried out in accordance with children (secure accommodation regulations 1991). The ISSP is another form of intervention available to John. ISSP's were launched in July 2001 with an aim to target persistent young offenders, like John. ISSP's are the most rigorous non-custodial interventions made available. They consist of a mixture of intensive monitoring of young offenders movements e. g. , electronic tagging, voice verification, restorative justice and also education and training to address the offending behaviour.

If John is taken to court and prosecuted there are various new disposals available for children and young people. If this is Johns first time in court and he pleads guilty he may be subject to a Referral Order under The Youth and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 unless the charge is serious enough to warrant custody. John will be referred to a youth offender panel drawn form the local community and will agree to a contract that can last between 3 and 12 months to address the offending behaviour. Alternatively there are various new disposals available under The Crime and Disorder Act 1998. These include,

Action Plan Orders (S69). The aim here is to undertake the source of the offences being committed, for example in John's case school attendance and substance misuse. It can also consist of repairing the harm done to the community or victim in John's case. An Action Plan Order can also contain requirements (S69. 5). Requirements for John can include participating in activities and to sign-on at the police station. The court may also impose a Parenting Order under (S8) CADA 1998. I feel a Parenting Order may also be beneficial for John's father who cares for John desperately but is struggling to cope.

I feel he will benefit greatly from attending counselling and guidance sessions in order to improve his parenting skills. Barsh (2001) points out that good parenting is fundamental to reducing youth crime. A Reparation Order under (S67) can also be used to respond to John's offending. The aim here is for John to face up to his crime and take responsibility for the consequences of his actions. For John this can include apologising to the victim and repairing any criminal damage. Reparation will be supervised and I feel it should last for 24 hours.

It may also be appropriate to give John a curfew (S37) PCSA 2000. A Curfew Order requires the young person to stay and remain in a particular place at a particular time; this is usually the address they reside in. If John is committing burglaries at night then it would be appropriate for him to have a curfew from 7pm to 7am. Requirements such as electronic monitoring can also be placed on curfew orders (S38). Because John is 15 years old the curfew cannot last for more than 3 months. A Curfew Order can also be made in conjunction with another order.