Criminology (Prison and Imprisonment)

Criminology (Prison and Imprisonment)

Imprisonment or keeping of the minors in custody is a common practice in the UK for decades. The question which keeps ringing in many people’s minds is whether the initiative is worth any right (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). Taking a closer look at this matter one comes to a bitter realization that reforms in the detention centers are not the only solution to this touching story of juvenile imprisonment (Klein and Williams, 2012).  Klein and Williams (2012) illustrate that in England and Wales between 4000 and 5000 children and young adults who are merely in the age bracket of 14 to 17 years are most likely to be in detention facilities (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). However, is a point of great concern that the authorities do not care who these children are? How they find themselves detained and circumstances leading to their apprehension (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). According to research conducted in the mid-2008, it was crystal clear that most of the kids commit crimes which do not merit imprisonment (Klein and Williams, 2012). Some of these acts are not serious to render the kids violent (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). Unless most of the kids are handled with care, they will end up harming the others who are vulnerable to various forms of child abuse. One-third of children in detention facilities are said to have been injured by fights which are bound to occur (Chief Inspector of Prisons, 2013, p. 23). Most kids that we visited in some of the correction units were said to be having uncertain health status. Surprisingly, almost half of the kids are not aware what they committed because they were under the heavy influence of alcohol and other substances of abuse. When enquiring about their families, one can confidently conclude that the kids had no family support due to death of parents or just simply unstable families (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). Therefore we should treat the disease rather than the effects of the underlying problem (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012).

Moreover, how can you punish a child whose family background support is questionable? One-quarter of the kids in the detention facilities have no parental support (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). It is insane for the same society that is supposed to show compassion and love to these orphaned kids, detaining the children (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). Some of the kids find it hard coming to terms with the loss of their parents. They felt neglected and rejected in the society which leads to them being so violent. For example, boy who is said to have lost his parents is imprisoned to 4 months in jail (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). Later through his lawyer, the jury is made to understand that this little young lad had been left by the parents and had to resort to stealing to support his siblings and himself. The jury considered this appeal and the boy is released (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012).   Additionally, it is worth noting that most marriages do not work which leads to separation of the parents (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). 50% of women in marriages are not breadwinners and depend on their husbands and when the separation occurs the kids suffer especially when left under the control of their mother (Jones, 2010). Most parents forget that they have a parental authority of deciding on what sons and daughters can do and cannot (Klein and Williams, 2012).  These makes the kids have an incorrect code of conduct which can surmount to bigger crimes eliciting detainment. 70% of parents in the UK are said to allow their kids to be out of school without questioning them which cultivates a sense of irresponsibility (Klein and Williams, 2012). Most parents in the UK do not foster religious teachings to their kids who could be a significant advantage in the bringing up of morally straight kids (Klein and Williams, 2012). For example, parents are supposed to warn their children that vices such as stealing are not acceptable in the society and are punishable by law which they rarely do.  If family and parental support could be utilized fully, the number of kids in detention facilities could be subtle (Klein and Williams, 2012).

Furthermore, according to a new report tabled in parliament in the year 2011, most kids involved in criminal activities had spent at least some part of their lives in care centers (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). 10% of the kids are reported to be taken care of by the local government via signed agreement between their parents and the government (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). 20% of the kids who had been committing recurrent crimes were evident in the children protection register. Studies suggest that this ‘looked after kids ‘constitute the highest majority of children in this detention centers (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). The kids in day care centers experience emotional and physical detachment from the parents leading to the development of weird behaviors which cannot be contained by the children care providers since they do not monitor the behavioral evolution of the kid (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). 67 % of the children in the detainment facilities are said to have suffered their current aggression and negative mood in their day care centers. (Klein and Williams, 2012) This reaches maximum when they are adolescents explaining the reason as to 75% of the teens in the detention facilities are mainly in the age bracket of between 14 5o 17 years of age. Parents should take it a personal duty to take care of their little young ones (Klein and Williams, 2012). This will ensure that their emotional and behavioral development is well natured (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012).

Levels of education which are low in kids make them be at loggerheads with the supreme law of the land. To begin with, the children are supposed to undergo rehabilitation which is in the form of education and training which will equip them with skills for employment to make them responsible citizens like any other person in the UK (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). However, 60% of the teenagers in the custody facilities have challenges in developing basic skills such as literacy and numeracy (Klein and Williams, 2012). 20% of these kids could hardly read after going through the correction facilities (Klein and Williams, 2012). It is surprising that a bigger percentage have special education needs which the prisons cannot offer in the first place (Klein and Williams, 2012). Therefore, custody does not solve the literacy and numeracy levels of the kids who find themselves trapped by the long arm of the law (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). Additionally, the Intelligence Quotient levels of the kids are found to be below the average levels with the majority having as low as below 70 by the time they are released (Mears, Pickett and Mancini, 2014). This is attributed to the high level of kids dissociate themselves from education (Gray, 2011). Some children are out of school for more than one-third of their school session. Consequently, the kids do get to acquaint themselves with knowledge such as law and morality which is taught in religious subject’s (Mears, Pickett and Mancini, 2014).This means that these individuals can hardly think by themselves and make sound judgments about what is wrong and right (Youth Justice Board,2015). It is fair to conclude that correction centers worsen the problem of low levels of education which is common among these kids. The child should be educated on the laws of the land rather than taking them to custody which never solves anything related to the levels of education (Klein and Williams, 2012).

Alcohol and drug abuse is another key factor in the increasing number of juvenile detainees in the UK. That was an unimaginable catastrophe in the youth population (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). According to a study conducted which involved measuring the blood levels of the commonly abused drugs. Results showed that children between the age of 12 and 15 had blood alcohol levels which were above normal (Mears, Pickett and Mancini, 2014). Surprisingly, the alcohol was more than the entire population (Klein and Williams, 2012).76 percent of these kids was chain smokers or was on the brink of developing serious addiction with drugs such as tobacco and bhang. Bhang was the most common drug among the boys and the ladies commonly abused cocaine and crack. 35 % of the kids in the prisons did not quit the misuse of these drugs (Karen ,et al.2011). Consequently, most of the kids are arrested having no idea of how they merited to be behind bars. Either they are too drunk, or their memory is just comprised (Mears, Pickett and Mancini, 2014). The influence of the drugs leads to destructive tendencies such as not harmonizing with other friends and coming up with problem-solving skills (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012). According to a study conducted by a group of 46 students, it was reported that the juveniles were using the drug before they were arrested (Mears, Pickett, and Mancini, 2014). However, most of the crimes were committed under the influence of medicines and the money obtained from the crime was used to buy the drugs (Klein and Williams, 2012). This is attributed to the compulsive tendency to purchase drugs despite the negative implications it has in causing ill-health (Walker, Muno and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012).

On top of this, police reforms of juvenile custodial setting seem to have isolated some basic but critical needs of the kids (Kim and Kang, 2014). Food in police stations is rarely of quality which makes some children who had been detained in the police station unlike prisons described as not fit for dogs consumption let alone human beings (Kim and Kang, 2014).  The kids also complained off mistreatment they received from police officers (Kim and Kang, 2014). The kids despite their tender age were denied access to essential amenities such as the toilet (HM Chief Inspector of Prisons,2013,p.32). This does not help the children but usually makes them be hardened criminals who will get them have no place in the society (Kim and Kang, 2014).

The mental and physical health of the kids was poor and deteriorating than the general population. As pointed out earlier, this group of people is vulnerable to alcohol and substance of abuse which jeopardizes their healthy living both mentally and physically (Barry Goldson and Janet,2002,p.15). According to research which was conducted by some scholars, it was realized that at least 2 of the inmates had a condition which was affecting their daily activities (Klein and Williams, 2012). One-third of the kids are seen to endanger their lives by involving themselves in risky activities such as prostitution, unsafe sex. 20 % the children had sexually transmitted diseases with more than 5% infected with HIV and AIDS (Walker, Muno, and Sullivan-Colglazier, 2012).  Girls in custody were the most affected by physical ill-health. 70% of the girls were used cocaine and heroin than the entire UK population (Klein and Williams, 2012). They more often than not to be sexually assaulted by the prison staff leading to unimaginable health complications. Additionally, mental health was a common problem among this group of people (Barry Goldson and Janet,2002,p.85).  A group of 50 people were investigated for mental complication and were found to be in need of mental health services which are not readily available (Mears, Pickett, and Mancini, 2014). This leads to deaths of more than 43% of the kids those developmental complications (Mears, Pickett and Mancini, 2014). Most boys admitted to these facilities are diagnosed with depression. The most prevalent psychiatric disorder is conduct disorder which accounts for 91% of the related psychiatric mortality (Klein and Williams, 2012). Major depression was also prevalent followed by a generalized anxiety disorder. 31% of the kids are reported to have sorted psychiatric medical intervention, and 31% of the children had tried to kill themselves at some point (Klein and Williams, 2012).

Poverty especially among the street children has turned them into thieves. These kids have nobody to provide for them so that they can enjoy necessities such as food and clothing. One boy in the streets of London is caught stealing from a woman some money. People corner him and hand over him to the police. He is then put on trial, but he manages to get a Good Samaritan lawyer who offers to represent him. In court, the attorney explained that the boy was just a kid who needed support to continue his education rather than just locking him up. He argues that he wonder how children of this caliber in surviving in the cold (Barry Goldson and Janet,2002, p.87). Although he won the case, the prosecutor protested that the kid was tall enough not to be called a son. But his mental status was not well developed. Therefore young adults who are impoverished should be judged in any way. However, this does not guarantee that they are given free amnesty by the mere fact they are poor. They should be taught to own their mistakes and be responsible for them.

However, most of the correction centers in the UK are being reformed and are fit for the kids who cannot be contained by the society (Barry Goldson and Janet, 2002,p.87). Feltham B, for instance, provides the children with high-quality basic amenities such as food and humanity has been restored. Teenagers can enjoy good food which is also enough. Fetharm B is an excellent example of how correction facilities should be reformed to cater for the needs of the kids.

In conclusion, the custodian settings of behavior correction should be the last resort in amending the behavior of young adults in the UK. It is disheartening that most kids are sentenced for some mistakes which themselves deem not dangerous. Most courts keep the mistakes which they had been reported early on with and eventually get locked up. Moreover, it is worth noting that the aim of the youth justice service is to correct the misdeed that these children find themselves doing. However, this should be done by meeting their needs and complex conditions affecting their lives which force them to commit more crimes. Unless prisons for children employ this method, then zero corrections will be done. There the jury should pass judgments by meeting the needs of these kids. Never should the courts overlook the problems making these children to commit the mistakes that they find themselves in. When responding to the wrong doing of the kids, their family history, economic history and social history should be determined to offer them a fair judgment since we admit that leaving scot free can endanger the peace of other people including their friends and family.


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