There are a few common reasons for young people to be involved in crime. These include poor parental supervision, drug and alcohol abuse, neglect and abuse, homelessness, negative peer associations and difficulties in school and employment. The criminal justice system effectively deals with young offenders through unique techniques to address the challenges of dealing with juvenile offending. Even though young offenders commit a large percentage of crime, they also have the highest likelihood to be rehabilitated and change their lifestyles as they mature. There are several factors influencing crime by young offenders including psychological and social pressures unique to young offenders, which may lead to an increase in likeliness of conflict with the criminal justice system. There are many measures taken to protect young people in regards to the criminal justice system such as Doli Incapax, The Children’s Court and Legal Aid, reluctance to imprisonment, different sentencing to that of adults and alternatives to court as well as legislations being passed to ensure the enforceability of this alternative methods.
Young people are treated differently to adults in the criminal justice system for three major reasons. These are that they prevent children and young people from being exploited, protect them from making uninformed decisions and protect others from being disadvantaged by dealing with a person that is a minor. One of the ways that young people are treated differently is under Doli Incapax. This means ‘incapable of wrong’. This is a presumption that children under a certain age cannot be held legally responsible for their actions and therefore; cannot be guilty of an offence. This protects children who don’t understand the wrongdoing in their actions and as a result, can’t be held liable for their actions. This creates an absence of the necessity of Mens Rea being..