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long time. It is evident from the arguments that the age of criminal responsibility should not be lowered due to several reasons. The most prominent of these reasons include the fact that Australia already has an excellent approach to handling juvenile crimes, the psychological effects on children which can prove to be devastating and the negative influences inflicted upon children during their time in prison. Australian law has a perfectly functional approach to juvenile crimes. This is achieved by setting two age levels of criminal responsibility: a lower level under which the child is presumed to be too young to ever be capable of guilt, and can therefore never be dealt with in criminal proceedings; and a higher level where the presumption that the child is incapable of crime, often referred to as doli incapax.1 Children in the higher age group, between the ages 10 -14 can be convicted for criminal offences only if the prosecution can prove doli incapax. This can be achieved by proving that the child understood that what he or she had done was wrong according to the ordinary standards of reasonable adults.2 A classic example of this can be seen through the murder of James Patrick Bulger, aged 2, from Kirby England; who was abducted, tortured and murdered by two ten year old boys.3 However, the murderers were found guilty and sentenced to custody until they reached adulthood, initially until the age of 18. CCTV recordings discovered that the murderers had abducted the victim intending to push him into oncoming traffic while truanting.4 It can be argued that this occurred due to the irresponsibility of both the school and parents to know the whereabouts of the children. This leads an ordinary person to believe that it is the fault of the parents to strictly raise their children by demonstrating appropriate manners and austere discipline. This case is an excellent example to explain the fact that such a crime does not happen very often as can be seen through a report
Legal definition of a Juvenile. < http://bit.ly/S0LqCp>. Doli Incapax. < http://bit.ly/Te2Ha6>. 3 The James Bulger Case on Crime and Investigaton Network. <http://bit.ly/Y5DGmz>. 4 James Bulger Killing: the case history of John Venables and Robert Thompson. <http://bit.ly/XxlxyH>.
C. <http://bit. 11 BBC News – Age of criminal responsibility ‘too low’. depending on jurisdiction. experts say. < http://bit.cf/cVdS>.ly/PWaqyQ>.6 Young children have little mental and intellectual capabilities when compared to adults. people develop at vastly different rates.N.ly/TLxYlb>.8 Teenagers between ages 11-17. as their brain is still under development until at least the age of 20.) states that there should be a minimum age below which children shall be presumed incapable of infringing upon the law. The greatly reduced contact with the world outside and the limited opportunities for development can cause severe damage to children.10 This minimum age in Australia is currently ten years of age. however experts in neuroscience say that children are not fully mature enough to have decision-making skills. Therefore. it is absolutely essential for the current age of criminal responsibility in Australia remains at ten years of age. 9 Young Offenders.ly/Y2aEo1>. < http://bit. 7 Children grow and develop skills at different rates.7 If they were brought up in such an environment. 8 Psychological Effects of Prison. can be held fully responsible for their criminal acts but are subject to a different range of criminal sanctions than adults committing the same crime as per the rules set forth by doli incapax. meaning that a lot of the young adults being put into the juvenile jails or detention centers would still essentially be children.in/WNFFxI>. . it is evident from exploring the case mentioned above that the current Australian juvenile laws states by doli incapax.11 According to a report published by the Quaker United Nations Office. <http://bit. <http://bit.R. both these murderers have the right to receive the necessary punishment. Furthermore. < http://bbc.C.ly/TOM5fz>. Age-old question: when should children be responsible for their crimes? <http://bit. so it is only fair that the law should charge them for such severe crimes when they are ‘mature’ enough. 12 Children Imprisoned by Circumstance.9 United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (U.ly/SfERzh>.released by the Australian Institute of Crimiology (AIC). the psychological effects would be devastating. children living in prison almost always live in more restrictive conditions than they did outside.12 Uplink Australia 5 6 What makes juvenile offenders different from adult offenders.ly/TlEzqj>. Research points out that at the age of puberty.”5 from ages 17-19. which states that the “rates of offending usually peak in late adolescence. 10 Convention on the Rights of the Child. < http://uni.
California: Sage Publications.Many times you have to "prey" on someone.ly/U6Fxnb>. 18 Juveniles in the state are among most delinquent. The only long-term solution to juvenile crime is to rehabilitate the child. .15 However putting them in a prison. depression.. or you will be "preyed" on yourself. < http://bit.17 Facing the reality of their lengthy sentence makes them seek protection by trying to fit somewhere in the new world. Is stricter punishment the answer to juvenile crime? < http://bit.14 There are several arguments which state that placing children in a prison is an excellent way to make them understand their mistakes. 20 Tosh. 17 Callous Young Killers. he or she can potentially adopt negative behaviors that are a custom in the hostile prison environment.”20 Young prisoners are also at a disadvantage as they are not as mature. “everyone is afraid. it can be most indubitably seen that such an environment is definitely not a suitable place for a child to grow up. Therefore.describes some of the situations in prisons as being brutal. < http://bit.ly/U6G9ck>. J. The pains of imprisonment. dissatisfaction with life. Jack Abott.13 When considering the above arguments. mentally or 13 14 Effects of Imprisonment. < http://bit.19 The fear of being assaulted or victimized produces a need for security.. It is not an emotional or psychological fear.ly/UL01al>.ly/TvllKI>. 15 Should parents be held legally responsible for children’s actions? < http://bit. 19 Sociological Theories of Criminal Behviour II : The Social Approach. a long term prisoner states that. it is vital that the current age of criminal responsibility in Australia remains at the age of ten and for the children to be sentenced when they reach maturity. It is a practical matter. someone will threaten you. feelings of panic and in rare cases madness.ly/SjzWxc>. claustrophobia. 16 Informed Judgment.ly/S0dl6a>. (1982).ly/WSnirz>. and even worse with adult offenders is likely to increase the chance of recalcitrance. < http://bit. < http://bit.18 As a juvenile’s identity is still under development at such a young age. If you don’t threaten someone at the very least. violent and stressful with some of the psychological problems among prisoners including delusions. as they will be in the same environment as other offenders who will be a negative influence on them. which leads many young prisoners to rely on gangs for survival.16 Young prisoners are more susceptible to negative influences than adults.
The psychological effects such as delusion.gov/Rqb3gQ>.22 This argument ties neatly in support of the fact that children should not be put in jail in the first place and in order to achieve this. it is essential that the government looks for an alternative approach to the issue from a new perspective. it can be clearly argued that the age of criminal responsibility should not be lowered as Australia has a perfectly functional method to deal with juvenile crimes by setting two age levels of criminal responsibility. Consequently.Brief Interventions and Brief Therapies for Substance Abuse. there is absolutely no doubt that if there is a desire to rehabilitate teenagers who are being tried and sentenced as adults. New York Times suggest that the only method to do this is by changing the behavior of young prisoners to provide them with the opportunity to gain insight into why they think and behave the way they do. Finally.ly/U6HQqa>.21 These current issues in such a dangerous environment make the process of rehabilitation almost impossible. 21 22 Elderly Prisoners. the negative influences that young children may have from the prison environment which may direct them to continue committing the same crimes. . Therefore. < http://1. The aforementioned points clearly links together to point out that the age of criminal responsibility should not be lowered. then prison is not the solution. In conclusion. claustrophobia and depression that can occur on children can affect their mental and physical development. Brief Humanistic and Existential Therapies . < http://bit. it is crucial that the government does not lower the age of criminal responsibility.physically when compared to older prisoners.usa.
p. 3) "The Psychological Impact of Incarceration: Implications for Post-Prison Adjustment.p. <http://nyti. 5) Heilpern. Criminal Justice: Prison Violence. Oliver. (1984). 3) Tosh. 2012. Ideas in institutions: The infiltrators.com/2010/01/30/children-in-lockdown-part-1-solitaryconfinement-of-kids-in-adult-prisons/>. A. 29 Oct.sagepub.hhs. N.edu.. n.).. 29 Oct.org/geneva/pdf/humanrights/womenin-prison/200804childrenImprisonedByCircumstance-English. & Bartol. 9) Treatment. (1996). 2012. N." Quaker United Nations Office. Pacific Grove.au/lawlibrary/Documents/Docs/Doc82. Web.ncbi. & Fowles. J. 4) Jones.R. 4) Eurochips. 2) "Effects of Imprisonment. <http://aspe. The pains of imprisonment. Secondary Sources 1) "Age-old Question: When Should Children Be Responsible for TheirA crimes?" The Conversation. 29 Oct.d. 2) Bridges. New South Wales: Southern Cross Publishing.p.com/wpcontent/uploads/2011/03/Children-Living-in-Prison-Insights-from-Sierra-Leone2008.. 2012. <http://www.quno.pdf>. 7) "Children in Jail.d. N. 6) Robertson. 2012.htm>.p. n.d.uplink. N.au/age-oldquestion-when-should-children-be-responsible-for-their-crimes-6794>.advocaidsl. C. 10) NYTimes.p.M. (1998).html>.. and Sabrina Mahtani.. 29 Oct." Brief Humanistic and Existential Therapies. 29 Oct.S. Web. "Using Humanistic and ExistentialTherapies. <http://theconversation. 2012. California: Pine Forge Press. <http://solitarywatch.com/content/25/3/318. 5 June 2012.J." AdvocAid. <http://cad. Web. N.p.d. 2012." N." The Psychological Impact of Incarceration: Implications for Post-Prison Adjustment. (1994). <http://www.d." Effects of Imprisonment. <http://www. "Prison Is Too Violent for Young Offenders. n. Alison.nih. Web.. "Children Imprisoned by Circumstance. . 2012. CA: Brooks/Cole. National Library of Medicine.d. London: Routledge & Kegan Press..nlm. 29 Oct. n.pdf>.. 29 Oct. n.p. 0099. <http://www. California: Sage Publications.com.ms/S6O3m4>. 8) "Children in Lockdown: Solitary Confinement of Teens in Adult Prisons. n. N. Web.S.abstract>." Eurochips. 29 Oct. 29 Oct. Fear or favour: Sexual assault of young prisoners. n. n.Bibliography Primary Sources 1) Bartol. G.d. 29 Oct. Web. D." Children in Jail. Web. 2012. U. (1982). "Children Living in Prison: Insights from Sierra Leone. <http://www.. Web.. Center For Substance Abuse.gov/hsp/prison2home02/haney.gov/books/NBK64939/>. N. A.. K. 2012.org/expert-corner/special-needs-of-prisonerschildren/children-inside-prison/>.eurochips. Web.p." Children in Lockdown: Solitary Confinement of Teens in Adult Prisons.d. 5) Thompson. "Children inside Prison. N. Psychology and Law: Research and Application (2nd ed. Web.p. 2012. 17 Jan.
12) "Age of Criminal Responsibility 'too Low'. <http://debatewise." BBC News. BBC. Haroon. n." The Crime. 29 Oct. n..net. 2010. N..psychologytoday. 13) "Mong Palatino. Nov. Web.co. <http://zimmer. N. <http://www. 20) "Shadow Boxing.p. N.pdf>.au/documents/0/0/A/%7B00A92691-0908-47BF-931101AD743F01E1%7Dti181. 2009.guardian. "James Bulger Killing: The Case History of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson. Web.p. 29 Oct. Guardian News and Media. <http://mongpalatino. Experts Say. Web.uk/news/uk-16153045>. 2012. 29 Oct. 2012. N." The Guardian. N.uk/uk/2010/mar/03/james-bulger-case-venablesthompson>. <http://michaelsantos..crimeandinvestigation. <http://www. 03 Mar. ." Â» Blog Archive Â» Don't Lower Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility.net.Where Great Minds Differ.unicef. n. 19) "Debatewise." . N. Web. Web. <http://www.co. 16) Siddique. 29 Oct." UNICEF.org/debates/2605-child-offenders-punishments-for/>.p. 17) Rengert. Web.d. n. 2012.com/blog/shadow-boxing/201209/callous-youngkillers>. <http://www. N. n. 2012.d. 14) "Age of Criminal Responsibility Internationally. 21) "Convention on the Rights of the Child. 2012.. "Children Grow and Develop Skills at Different Rates.p. 29 Oct. N. 18 Mar. 09 Nov.gov. 2012. 29 Oct..com/2012/06/dont-lowerminimum-age-of-criminal-responsibility/>. 2012. 2012. 2012.11) AIC.org/crc/>. 29 Oct.htm>.p. 2012. <http://www..us/pdfs/SJArticle903180305_Children_Grow_and%20_develop_skills.p. 2000. 2011. Web. 15) "The James Bulger Case. Web." Callous Young Killers." Age of Criminal Responsibility Internationally. <http://myers.d. Web. 29 Oct.. 29 Oct. 18) "Psychological Effects of Prison | MichaelSantos. Marilyn. "The Age of Criminal Responsibility. n." Psychological Effects of Prison | MichaelSantos.net/prisonjournal/psychological-effects-of-prison/>..or.. N.p.age of Criminal Responsibility.d. 29 Oct. 2012." Trends and Issues.bbc.d. 13 Dec.html>.co.salkeiz." Statesman Journal.k12.csufresno.aic..pdf>.d. <http://www.p.d.p. Web.edu/~haralds/FOREIGNJUVJUS. n.uk/crime-files/james-bulger/crime. Web.