Wednesday 8 July 2009

Confusing cause and effect?

Have a read of this article in the Silly - it's about locking up crims. Young crims.

Putting young offenders in custody is not only expensive but ineffective. More than half of those released reoffend. The younger they're incarcerated, the more likely their recidivism.

This implies that being locked up causes crims to commit more crime. I have an alternative idea - maybe magistrates are locking up those that they feel will commit more crime.

Consider two kids arrested on a Saturday night. One is in school, from a stable family, and has been picked up for being drunk and urinating on a car. He has no previous form, and his parents are horrified at the fact he has been arrested. Both parents work.

One is a teenager, but has rarely attended school for years. He is from an unstable home environment, with his mum shacking up with a new loser every 6 months. He's been picked up for break and enter for the 5th time. He has plenty of form, and has been committing crimes most weekends since he was 14. He already has a nasty drug and alcohol habit, even though he is too young to enter a pub. His mother does not give a fuck that he has been arrested, and screams at the cops for arresting her "innocent" little thug. She has never worked, and has been on welfare since dropping out of school at 15.

The loser in the second instance has never been locked up before, even though he is responsible for more crime than you can poke a stick at. The judge finally loses his patience, and locks the little bastard up. He gets out a month later - and goes back to committing crime. Is that a surprise? Did a spell of incarceration cause him to commit more crime, or is it the fact that he is a criminal through and through cause him to commit more crime? All a bit of gaol time has done is to prevent him from robbing people for a short period.

As for really young kids being incarcerated and being more likely to commit crime when they get out, maybe they are being locked up at a really young age because they are thorough-going little shits! Maybe the judge has realised that even though they are 13, they are already a hardened crim with no remorse, no morals, and no desire to go straight and live a "normal" life.

Nearly one in two juveniles in custody report some form of serious past abuse, including violence and neglect. Do we really think detaining a young person with that sort of background is an appropriate response to their problem?

Maybe these kids know all the right buttons to push, realising that if they can spin a good sob story, the beak might go soft on them. Even if the judge takes a hard line, some soft-headed goose in the media, or a charity, might start bleating about how badly they've been treated, how it is not their fault, etc etc etc.

It costs the NSW Government about $150,000 to lock up a young person for 12 months.

Why does it cost so much? Instead of saying, "It costs too much to lock them up", why don't we look at how we can lock them up really cheaply.

I have every sypathy for someone that has come from a poor background, and who genuinely wants to change their situation and to improve themselves and leave their crappy life of crime behind them. They deserve our encouragement and support. However, that is a change that they have to want to make themselves - it has to come from within. For those that show no genuine desire to change, I say we just lock them up as cheaply as possible and keep them locked up until they see the light, or get too old to climb in old lady's windows.

I don't conflate "youth" with "innocence", and I don't see why locking up habitual criminals who just happen to be young is thought of as a bad idea. I hear people say, "But they are missing the best part of their lives, it's cruel and unfair".

No, it is cruel and unfair on the rest of us to allow young predators out to prey on the law abiding and the weak. And is someone who is smoking dope all day and stealing cars at 15 really experiencing the "best part of their life"?

I say good luck to Mission Australia, and I hope they can turn some lives around. But they should not be so soft as to turn the other cheek every time. Those little turds that essentially spit in the eye of those that are trying to help them should be thrown straight into pokey, and left there for a long, long time.

1 comment:

Emily said...

If you don't pay $150,000 to lock them up, the little darlings won't have their playstations, televisions, radios, chocolates and porn to get them through would they? No wonder why they re-offend. I'm even tempted.