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COURSE 16

Law and Order


Reading: Fine Young Criminals1

1 Read the following headlines from a selection of newspapers. Match each one to the most appropriate extract. Little Caesars Blamed for Terrorizing Northumbria Houdini Kid does it again Its time to Crack Down on Crime Babies A A government report on the increase in crime amongst juveniles has made recommendations to

schools and parents to supervise children more carefully, especially during holidays and after school. The report suggests that many children are left to their own devices at these times and some find themselves involved in illegal or dangerous activities. It recently came to light that a group of' children from a primary school had tied up a seven-year-old boy in his bedroom and proceeded to ransack the house. The report also recommends that it is time the police got tough with the parents of youngsters who break the law. B For the third time this year, a ten-year-old child in the care of the local authorities has

absconded from a secure unit by wriggling under an electrified fence. The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was placed in a secure unit in Northumbria after running away from a local childrens home on six occasions over the last two years. A spokesperson for the authority told a news conference that there was no satisfactory way of detaining children against their will other than sending them to adult prisons. C A gang of children aged between six and eleven have been accused of making the lives of old-

age pensioners a misery. Residents in housing estates on the outskirts of Newcastle and Sunderland have complained that gangs of young children have been tormenting the old folk by throwing rubbish
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Tricia Aspinall, Anette Capel, Advanced Masterclasss CAE Students Book, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 159-168

in their gardens, banging on their doors and windows at night and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Northumbrian District Council has announced plans to send police into the area to talk to parents and teachers in a bid to stop further escalation of the problem. 2. Is crime committed by children a problem in Romania? What methods are used to deter young criminal or punish them for their offences? Little Joeys Lost Childhood One day last summer, when Joey had been arrested yet again yet for another burglary, his solicitor went down to the police station to see him. He sat down opposite him in the interview room, sighed and asked him straight: Joey, why do you do it? And Joey looked straight back and told him, I dunno. I gatta buy fags, drink. Theres drugs and things. I gotta girl. Its money you know Joey shrugged, like any man with a weight on his mind. Joey was then eleven years old. Soon afterwards, he became famous when, in October last year, he was locked away in a secure unit outside Leeds where he was three years younger than any other inmate, so young that his incarceration required the personal authority of the Home Secretary. As he was led away from court, he hurled insults at the press and then disappeared in a cloud of publicity. He became a caricature the Artful Dodger, Britains most notorious young crook, Crime Baby, the Houdini Kid. He made all the papers. Soon his case was being used as ammunition in a sustained assault which has seen the Home Secretary, the Police Federation, the Daily Express and various Chief Constables campaigning to lock up more children. They pointed not only to Joey but to a rash of other adolescent delinquents: the eleven-year-old brother and sister whose attempt arrest caused a riot at a wedding party; the six Little Caesars from Northumbria who were blamed of 550 offences; the thirteen year old armed robber from Cheshire. Their solution was simple: these children had to be punished; the courts needed more power to put them behind bars. Joey grew up with his father, Gerry, a Southern Irish labourer who had not worked regularly for years; and his mother, Maureen, also Irish and barely literate, who was only eighteen when she married Gerry, fifteen years her senior. The neighbours remember Joey playing with his go-cart in the street, running around with his two smaller brothers, banging on the door to scrounge cigarettes for Gerry.

They say he was a nice kid. They remember him skiving off school, too, and thieving, but they don't remember it well. Almost every body's kids skive off school, and a lot of them go thieving. Gerry says he's not too sure when Joey first broke the law. He thinks he stole some crisps for dinner when he was four. In Gerry's family, there has often been trouble with the law: petty crimes, handling, the occasional fight, a succession of brothers and uncles behind bars. By the time he was 10, thieving was the only game Joey knew. He had 35 arrests behind him and the social workers decided he had to be locked up. They had tried taking him into care but he had simply walked out of the homes where they put him so, in December 1990, he was sent to the secure unit at East Moor outside Leeds. He liked it there. Everyone at East Moor agrees that Joey liked it. It is not like a prison: there are no peaked caps or truncheons. It is more like a school with extra keys. Tucked away there, far from the mean crescents of the housing estate, he was a child again. He played with Lego. He practised joinedup writing. He woke up feeling ill in the night and cried on the principal's shoulder. Joey is due to be released from the secure unit in February. Everyone who has dealt with him is sure that he will go straight back to his old ways. They say they have given up on him. They have two options: lock him up or let him go. Everyone in social services knows the danger of locking up a child: it breaks up the family, it stigmatises the child, it floats him in a pool with older criminals. Yet letting him go is no better, not when it means returning to the battered streets of the city. Joey is not the only child like this. Every English city has them. Joey just happens to be the famous one. He's bright and he's brave and the psychiatrists agree he is not disturbed. He is, by nature, anxious to please. In the secure unit now, he conforms with everything around him. If you throw a child into the sea, it will drown. If you throw it into an English ghetto, it will grow up like Joey. The names of Joey and his family have been changed for legal reasons. (750 words) 1 Read through the article and say if you think the title is appropriate. 2 Now answer these multiple-choice questions. 1. Joey became famous because A he had committed so many burglaries. B he was always being arrested. C he was the youngest inmate in the secure unit. D he swore at the press photographers. 2. How did the Home Secretary and the police respond to the rise in juvenile crime? 3

A They wanted to see more young criminals put in prison. B They believed that there should be a return to corporal punishment. C They thought that the courts had too much power. D They thought that the police force should be strengthened. 3 What can the neighbours recall about Joey? A He smoked cigarettes. B He was a bully. C He started stealing when he was four. D He played truant from school. 4. Why was it decided that Joey should go to a secure unit? A He refused to give up thieving. B He kept running away from the homes. C He behaved better in a secure unit. D He was too old for the children's home 5. What does the writer think is the main cause of Joey's behaviour? A He is a victim of his own circumstances. B He is unable to sort himself out. C He has been forced to behave in an anti-social way. D He has been badly treated by the police. 3 Find words or phrases in the text which are similar in meaning to the words in italics. 1 Amy looked as if she had a lot to worry about. 2 The prison staff found it difficult to keep the prisoners in their cells. 3 The young man's imprisonment in a small, windowless cell was cruel and unnecessary. 4 Kevin has been breaking the law all his life; he's a criminal and nothing is going to change him. 5 Most people would prefer to see convicted criminals in jail rather than doing community service. 6 When the prison governor stopped he prisoners from watching TV, they went on the rampage, causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage. 4

7 Many people commit minor offences when they are young. 8 I don't think he's likely to improve we have no hope for him. Vocabulary 1. What does the phrase in italics mean? ... if I'd left the moped outside the pub, it would probably have got nicked!~ Now look at these other expressions with get. Can you fit a suitable expression into sentences,1-8 below? Don't forget to choose an appropriate tense. get one's own back get the sack get away with get over get off get at make one's getaway get down

1 It's outrageous! Those two crooks _______________very lightly! Their sentences were reduced to six months. 2 Colin will never _______________the shock of losing all his money on the stock market. 3 Have you seen the way John lets his little daughter _______________murder? It's amazing when you think how inflexible he is at work! 4 When Tom left Sally, she_____________by telling everyone how selfish he was. 5 The never-ending string of family problems has really ___________Simon_________recently. 6 Stop _______________me! I've just about had enough of your accusations. 7 Have you heard about Mike? He _______________ . It's incredible after all these years with the company. 8 The thieves _______________from the scene of the crime in a stolen car.

Speaking 1. Look at this picture. What kind of situation does it represent? Read through this list of punishment which are used in various countries for different type of crime. Discuss what sort of crimes you think they are most appropriate for. Are there any that should never be used? You should all try to contribute equally.

solitary confinement community service imprisonment hard labour fines corporal punishment death penalty life imprisonment suspended sentence probation

Report back to the class on your decisions. 2 What do you think is the effect of punishment on people who have committed crimes? What do you think is the most appropriate way for society to encourage good behaviour?

Vocabulary Confusable words: sensible, sensitive

The word sensible is often confused with sensitive. Decide which of the two is appropriate in sentences 1-5. 1 She's very ________to critical remarks since she made that unfortunate error. 2 Theatre directors cannot allow themselves to be too ________to bad press. 3 How ________you are! I wasn't nearly as organized at your age. 4 People should be much more ________to the needs of the disabled. 5 It's ________to limit your exposure to the sun, particularly if you have________skin. English in Use Read the following article about a burglar alarm, ignoring the spaces, then describe briefly what the alarm does and how it works. NEVER has life been more difficult for a would be intruder! Burglars now have to, quite literally, watch their step. Dutch engineers (0) are hard on the heels of poachers and prowlers with a footstep detector that can identify anything (1)_______________the heaviest of hob-nailed boots to the daintiest of tiptoes. Developed by the Physics and Electronics Laboratory in Hague, the novel device, (2) ______________as Footfall, outdoes current alarms. Only when a burglar is busy breaking in do present-day alarms indicate that someone or (3) ______________has moved. Footfall, on the (4) ______________hand, can react specifically to human footsteps well (5)_____ they have reached the house. No longer will you need (6) ______________emerge in dressing gown and slippers only to find the neighbourhood cat rummaging in the dustbin! The surveillance system attempts to exploit the fact that just (7) ______________

fingerprints, footprints are unique. Not only does this difference manifest itself in shape but (8) ______________in the noises we make when tramping, trudging, pacing or plodding which (9) ______________characterized by certain acoustic patterns. Applying seismo-graphic techniques, the tell-tale patterns show on a graph (10) ______________ a jagged dance of frequency waves fluctuating in intensity. 'Only by carefully programming Footfall recognize patterns (11) ______________ data can we now reliably make a distinction (12) ______________ footsteps and other movements: says electrical engineer Huub van Hoof. 'But (13) ______________this, we can't differentiate between the footsteps of intruders and those of family members or neighbours. Although, (14) ______________people always walked in the (15) ______________way, at the same speed, in the same shoes, we would even be able to do that!'