The legal measures used by the Criminal Justice System


The legal measures used by the Criminal Justice System (CJS) have proven partially effective in addressing the issue of young offenders. This is due to the current oppressive and punitive approach to legal measures such as the investigation process and the sentencing of young offenders as well as the limited efficiency of courts instead of adhering to the main objectives of the Young Offenders Act 1997 (YOA) which focuses on the diversion, rehabilitation and the therapeutic justice of young offenders. The use of confrontational and harsh policing towards young offenders has revealed the flaws of the investigating process and as such has highlighted the ineffectiveness of the Criminal Justice System. Amendments have been made to the Law Enforcement (Police Responsibilities) Act to increase police powers which has allowed harsher laws and policing to be implemented such as the Youth Justice Reform Act 2017 (NSW) as well as policing programs such as the Suspect Targeting Management Plan (STMP).The STMP has come under scrutiny for the nature of the plan which has involved individuals as young as nine being repeatedly stopped, detained and visited at home (SBS) which has proven “very damaging to the relation between young people and the police” (Dr. Vicki Sentas, 2017). It is also important to note that the STMP is in direct contrast with Article 16 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that children have the right to privacy. Furthermore, past records show that 50% (AIWH) of those originating from similar supervision programs eventually ended up returning to the justice system (R v Daniel Gersbach, 2018) thus showing that the current approach of the investigation process has been ineffective in combatting the issue of young offenders.CJS sentencing of juveniles has been ineffective as sentencing currently focuses on harsh imprisonment (Don Weatherburn, 2012) instead of rehabilitation which can be shown by the high amount of young people in detention on average per day (978) (AIWH 2014). This notion remains inconsistent with Article 37(b) (CROC) stating that “imprisonment of a child should only be used as a last resort”. Furthermore, focus on harsh imprisonment has led to increasing recidivism rates from 2013 to 2015 (BOCSAR, 2015). This is because the criminal justice system doesn’t “deal with the underlying problems of juvenile offending such as drug and alcohol abuse” (Don Weatherburn, 2012) (R v Ohanian, 2017) which is evident as 50% of juveniles detained by police tested positive for drug abuse (AIC). The removal of successful programs such as the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court (YDAC) that offered young offenders counselling and rehabilitation for issues regarding drugs and alcohol instead of jail further shows the reluctance of the CJS to divert juveniles from the justice system thus showing the ineffectiveness of the CJS.