Justice is about trying to balance the rights and freedoms of the individual with the values and ethics of the community. The New South Wales Juvenile Justice System attempts to do this when dealing with young offenders, especially when it comes to punishment. However, improvements could be made to the Juvenile Justice System including a better balance with the courts and detention centres, and the Youth Justice Conferencing and justice reinvestment. The legal system needs to spend less time and money focusing on punishing the young offenders, and more on stopping young people from committing the crime in the first place and from reoffending.
A young offender is person between the ages of ten and eighteen who has committed a crime. It is recognised in the criminal justice system that young people are less responsible for their actions then adults are because of their inexperience.
The Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW) changes the way the justice system deals with young offenders and helps to steer the young offenders away from court to other forms of punishment. The Act makes young offenders more responsible for their actions, improves the rights of the victim and and improve the communities certainty in the justice system.
Under the Act there are four options for police when dealing with young offenders; warnings, cautions, Youth Justice Conference and court. A warning is given on the spot and is recorded without the young offenders name. This is for minor summary offences with no violence, such as swearing. A caution is for more serious offences, such as stealing, and is recorded at a police station. The young offender can only be cautioned if they admit to the offence. A Youth Justice Conference is where the victim and the offender agrees to a suitable punishment together. A conference can be held for serious offences, such as damage to property or where a victim has suffered harm, and can only be held if the young offender admits the offence and agrees...