Society is letting down our youth.
Posted on 30. Jul, 2010 by paul b

I started this article on hearing that there are more 17yr old black youths are in Jail than in College in the USA. The phrase ‘that can’t be right’ sprang to mind in two ways. 1. Is that correct?… The answer unfortunately is, yes. And 2. Is that morally acceptable?… The answer for me is, most certainly not!
We seem to be locked into a growing cycle of self perpetuation that unless action is taken will get bigger and bigger and create a whole new world of hurt… and I’m not being overly dramatic here.
In the UK in the 80’s and 90’s the courts in the UK (and I guess the USA) started treating juveniles as adults and giving them longer sentences… After all house breaking and robbery are just as traumatic if it’s done by a 15year old as a 30year old, very little thought was given to the mental maturity of the offender.
In an adult prison, Juvenile offenders are more likely to be sexually abused and commit suicide. British Prison Reform Trust found that while people aged 15 to 21 made up 13 percent of the prison population; they comprised 22 percent of all suicide deaths.
Habitual adult offenders don’t grow on trees who suddenly decide on a life of crime as a career move at 25yrs of age. They are nurtured, encouraged and schooled just any other semi professional.
The New Jersey Medical School examining the problem came to some now obvious conclusions:
• The present system is not working.
• Severe penalties do not deterred juveniles from committing crimes.
• The penal system does not rehabilitated the youth sentenced under them
• It actually makes juveniles more violent.
A Florida study shows that youth sent into the adult system had 34% more felony arrests after being released than those held in juvenile facilities.

Stating the obvious again
If you want to have less Adult Prisoners in the future you have to start cutting the number of Juvenile offenders now.. For prisoners you can read crime… If you want less crime you have to stop children (for that is what they are) becoming offenders.
Taking a side step for a moment… We all (roughly) have the same intelligence, what we don’t have is the same education or educational advantage. Education is what sets productive members of society apart from people who don’t want to work and your opportunist thug.
OK. The above paragraph contains some sweeping generalisations, but the basic principle is correct.
Education solves problems in more areas than just crime. Education puts people in jobs… it creates jobs… It makes people more socially interactive and it lessens the divide between the haves and the have-nots. Also, Education once put into people’s heads makes revenue for the country.
The average unit cost of keeping someone in prison in 2009 was £24,271 a year compared with £2,369 for a probation order and £1,770 for a community service order.
The cost of keeping a prisoner locked up in a U. S. prison, on average, is more than it costs for most college students in tuition for a year. It is reported to run from $15,000 to $38,000 a year depending on state.
Education, in the UK, is not cheap, a Graduate will leave University after 3 yrs with a debt to the Government of about £30,000 before they start work. When I was a student, many years ago I got a grant and tuition fees that I didn’t have to repay, and I had friends, like myself, from working class backgrounds who would not have gone onto further education, but for the fact it was FREE. Friends, who if they had of been born 20 years later, might have drifted into a completely different layer of society.
I can’t help but think some of the modern problems afflicting society is due the restricting Education to those that can afford it and those that are mature enough at an early age to see the value in it.
A juvenile in prison for 3 years will cost us £74,000 and untold years of strife to society. He will probably re-offend and long term cost even more time and money. A fraction of that money spent now, will save money in the future.
Personally, I would rather have free education to a high standard for all young adults and provide new dedicated establishments with free facilities, cafe, climbing walls, gyms, computers, athletics, boxing, clubs, community centre, etc and access to education and people who would be mentors to try to prevent some committing offences in the first place.
What we need is a total revamp of the education system and investment in society’s future now, rather than perpetuate this spiral of neglect.
We need to invest in the future, not cut back investment in schools. It is not economic prudence to save money now, it is folly!.

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