Youth, Crime, and Justice: A Global Inquiry

Youth, Crime, and Justice: A Global Inquiry

Youth, Crime, and Justice: A Global Inquiry

Youth, Crime, and Justice: A Global Inquiry

Synopsis

Close to half of the world's population is below the age of criminal jurisdiction in most countries. Many of these young people are living in poverty and under totalitarian regimes. Given their deprived and often abject circumstances, it is not surprising that many of them become involved in crime.

Excerpt

This volume provides a summary and assessment of criminological research on youth crime and juvenile justice that has been carried out in countries around the world. My purpose in doing so is threefold. First, by drawing upon a wide range of criminological research and data from diverse societies, I hope to provide a global, as opposed to a country-specific, portrait of the misbehavior and victimization of young people and how different societies respond to problems concerning their young. Second, global inquiry can advance criminological knowledge by not only increasing our database but also providing a forum for testing theory, refining our understanding of patterns and trends, and expanding the horizons of our inquiry. Third, and more significant, by viewing youth crime and justice from a global perspective, criminology may be in a better position to cast light on what is becoming a problem of increasing international scope and on how societies might best respond to this challenge.

In this regard, United Nations and other data (United Nations 2004a, 2004b; UNICEF 2006c) indicate that juvenile delinquency, as well as the abuse and exploitation of children and juveniles, and societies' efforts to deal with these matters, have become issues of international concern. As discussed in the chapters to follow, there is good reason to believe that the problem of youth crime is on the rise throughout much of the world, especially in countries undergoing economic and political transition. Three forces that will increasingly impact the world in the present century—population dynamics, widespread economic deprivation and political oppression, and Westernized globalization—suggest that in the decades to come youth crime and juvenile justice will increasingly become topics of global concern. Although these matters will continue to be confronted as national issues, they are rapidly being recognized as international problems affecting most, if not all, of the world's societies.

In part, the present and emerging global problem of youth crime and justice is a reflection of the demographic transformation that occurred in 2000 when more than one half of the world's population was reported to be below age fifteen (United Nations 2000). Given that crime has always been a largely . . .

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