Teen Curfew Debate Sample Essay

With the Western Australian State Government’s debut of the Young People in Northbridge Policy. the issue of juvenile curfews is both current and prevalent within our community. In recognizing this issue as one of considerable involvement. this paper introduces and critiques the Young People in Northbridge Policy and juvenile curfews more by and large. taking to a statement of Outcare’s place on the affair.

Background: Reacting to juvenile delinquency and piquing

Both nationally and internationally. juvenile piquing has systematically and pervasively been presented as a important country of concern among authoritiess. their policymakers. and the general community likewise. In Australia. statistics reveal that juvenile wrongdoer rates have by and large been twice every bit high as grownup 1s. While the latest statistics from the Australian Institute of Criminology ( AIC ) demonstrate a important lessening in Australian juvenile wrongdoer rates in the period from 1996–97 to 2003–04. from 3. 965 to 3. 023 per 100. 000 per twelvemonth. there has been a notable addition since 2005 to 3. 532 per 100. 000 in 2006–07. Further. while the same statistics reveal a lessening in most offenses. there has been a 48 per centum documented addition in juvenile wrongdoer rates for assault in the decennary from 1996–97 to 2006–07 ( AIC. 2009. p. 58 ) . These statistics serve to reenforce the importance of developing advanced responses in turn toing juvenile offense. particularly given that the juvenile phase represents a important point for intercession.

In reacting to juvenile offense and delinquency. the execution of juvenile curfew policies. which restrict the motion of juveniles in public infinites ( normally nocturnally ) . have become an progressively popular scheme. being revered as a agency of offense bar. injury minimization and offense sensing ( Adams. 2003 ; Reynolds. Seydlitz & A ; Jenkins. 2000 ; Simpson & A ; Simpson. 1993 ) . The infliction of such juvenile curfew policies has a long history in the United States. with a documented 80 per centum of its largest metropoliss and 75 per centum of its medium-sized metropoliss. holding juvenile curfew Torahs ( Reynolds. et Al. . 2000 ) . It seems Australia is following suit with most legal powers holding enacted or at least considered such policies.

Despite their popularity. nevertheless. curfew enterprises have remained a controversial subject. On one terminal of the spectrum. curfew policies represent a cost-efficient scheme that promises to cut down juvenile offense and exploitation. Yet on the other. they can be seen to conflict on civil rights and autonomies. among other unfavorable judgments to be discussed within this paper. These statements are peculiarly relevant to the Western Australian experience. with the execution of the Young People in Northbridge Policy. which continues to pull attending even six old ages after its proclamation. With such policies basking huge popularity among authoritiess both here and abroad. it begs the inquiry: Do they work?

The Young People in Northbridge Policy

In June 2003. the Western Australian State Government. led by Premier Geoff Gallop. implemented the Young People in Northbridge Policy. which stipulates a curfew to all unsupervised kids in the Northbridge amusement precinct. The policy prohibits kids under the age of 12 from the country after sundown. and kids aged 13-15 after 10pm. unless under the immediate attention of a sober. responsible guardian. The policy besides directs a ‘hard-line approach’ by constabularies to all under-18-year-olds engaged in anti-social behavior or under the influence of intoxicant or other drugs.

With the legal place of the policy outlined in Section 41 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 ( WA ) . constabulary and other authorized forces are directed to prosecute unsupervised immature people within the precinct and direct them to their places ( Carpenter. 2006 ) . Those young persons that are deemed to be ‘vulnerable’ are taken to the WA Police Juvenile Aid Group installation where hazard appraisals are completed. finding their grade of hazard both within the community and in their places. Agreements are so made to transport the immature individual to a safe topographic point ( Right Track. 2009 ) .

Gallop’s curfew policy was announced amid a clime of turning concern over a sensed impairment in community safety in what is Perth’s Prime Minister grownup amusement precinct. These community concerns were documented in the Northbridge: Determining the future study. released by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet ( DPC ) in 2002. While the domineering concern cited by the study was the increasing rate of assault within the territory. the study besides acknowledged “anti-social behavior. peculiarly by immature people” as a important country necessitating attending. with a “particular focal point on the issues associating to Aboriginal youth” ( DPC. 2002. p. 3 ) . The study concluded with a recommendation for a ‘cooperative approach’ to turn to offense and community safety ( DPC. 2002 ) .

In reacting to these issues. the Gallop Government and the Office of Crime Prevention ( OCP ) presented the Young People in Northbridge Policy as a “part of a major long-run scheme to heighten the Northbridge precinct country and to the respond to the immediate job of ‘at risk’ kids and immature people in Northbridge at night” ( OCP. 2009. p. 1 ) . Three old ages subsequently. the Carpenter State Government reported on the success of the Young People in Northbridge Policy as documented in an operational reappraisal by the Office of Crime Prevention. The reappraisal cited a 35 % decrease in unsupervised juveniles rolling the country. along with a decrease in the degree of anti-social behavior by juveniles. It besides revealed an improved community assurance and support for continuance of the policy every bit good as improved bureau and organizational operations ( Carpenter. 2006 ) .

Responses to the Young People in Northbridge Policy

Despite the evident success of the Northbridge curfew policy. as outlined in its three-year operational reappraisal. public attitudes have revealed divided positions. The policy was received with great support from Northbridge concern owners. and given its presentation to the populace as a ‘well planned public assistance intervention’ ( Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia ( YAC ) . 2003 ) . it proved to be highly popular with the local yellow journalism newspaper and most wireless and talkback commentary ( Rayner. 2003 ; YAC. 2003 ) . However. the policy was capable to major unfavorable judgment from assorted stakeholders who revealed the government’s failure to consult with authorities sections and non authorities bureaus and service suppliers working with immature people in the interior metropolis ( Rayner. 2003 ; YAC. 2003 ) . There was besides concern that the authorities had made no commissariats to inform immature people of their new duties under the policy ( YAC. 2003 ) .

Aside from these developmental unfavorable judgments. the Young People in Northbridge Policy has besides been capable to public argument sing its legality every bit good as its effectivity as a offense bar tool. Such public argument mirrors the response of the Northbridge Policy’s controversial predecessor. Operation Sweep. the ephemeral police-led run launched in Western Australia in January 1994.

In the same mode of the Young People in Northbridge Policy. Operation Sweep utilised powers under Section 138B of the Child Welfare Act 1947 to take young person found on the streets of Northbridge ( and Fremantle ) at dark. thereby implementing a de facto curfew on immature people. While the run was embraced by the City of Perth and the Northbridge Business Association. who expressed concern about “the endangering presence of immature people” ( Sercombe. 1999. p. 4 ) . it was met with important resistance within the Fremantle community. With mounting protests sing civil rights statements. Operation Sweep was later rejected by Fremantle City Council and despite being declared a ‘success’ by so Police Minister Bob Weise it was non long before the Northbridge operation was dissolved. Many argue that the current Young People in Northbridge Policy should have the same destiny.

Arguments for curfew policies

The popularity of the juvenile curfew lies with the impression that curfews make the streets safer. a compelling public involvement amid perceptual experiences of the increasing ‘juvenile offense problem’ ( Adams. 2003 ) . The principle behind this logical thinking is derived from the curfews’ two principal stated intents. That is. by curtailing the presence of juveniles in public during specified hours on a go oning footing. juvenile curfews can foremost. consequence a decrease in juvenile offense by forestalling and discouraging the committee of offense during these hours. and secondly. protect immature people themselves from going the victims of offense during these hours ( Brown. 2000 ; Simpson & A ; Simpson. 1993 ) . In this manner. curfew policies reflect a straightforward application of chance theory and commonsense thought which denotes that juveniles are less likely to perpetrate offenses and to be victimized if they are non on the streets ( Adams. 2003 ; Reynolds. et Al. . 2000 ) .

Further. by directing constabularies and other governments to prosecute juveniles. curfew policies non merely increase the tools of offense sensing but besides let for the early designation of kids who are at high hazard for condemnable offending and victimization. thereby showing a important chance for early intercession ( Adams. 2003 ) . Additionally. curfew policies can move to reenforce of import societal values by puting duty back on to parents. therefore underscoring the function of the household. In making so. curfews place peculiar accent on. and encouragement of. parental duty. influence and control. every bit good as the strengthening of household webs and supports ( Adams. 2003 ; Brown. 2000 ; Simpson & A ; Simpson. 1993 ) . From this position. curfew policies can travel beyond the representation of a simple instrument of offense control by supplying an chance to turn to important societal issues and public assistance demands. In this manner. curfew policies can be seen to be attractive both politically and philosophically ( Adams. 2003 ) .

Arguments against curfew policies

Despite the apparently obvious political and philosophical persuasions of juvenile curfew policies. small is known about their effectivity. While reappraisals of the Young People in Northbridge Policy have revealed positive consequences. as reported by the Western Australian State Government. the limited empirical research that is presently available ( conducted largely within the United States ) have by and large indicated that curfews don’t work ( Adams. 2003 ; Reynolds. et Al. . 2000 ; YAC. 2003 ) .

In a systematic reappraisal of 10 quasi-experimental surveies of juvenile curfews. Adams ( 2003 ) found that overall the weight of the scientific grounds fails to back up the statement that curfews cut down offense and condemnable victimization. Adams ( 2003 ) acknowledged that while it was possible to pull on a individual survey or several surveies to demo that curfews work. a more comprehensive reappraisal of the research indicates that “curfews by and large do non bring forth statistically important alterations in offense and that when such alterations are observed. they are about every bit likely to be additions in offense as opposed to lessenings in crime” ( Adams. 2003. p. 144 ) .

Beyond this deficiency of empirical grounds back uping the effectivity of curfews as a scheme of offense control. curfew policies have besides been criticised as a superficial ‘quick fix’ response to juvenile piquing that unsuitably infringes on of import civil rights and autonomies and farther. can be capable to prejudiced enforcement ( Adams. 2003 ; Simpson & A ; Simpson. 1993 ) .

A superficial response?

The Young People in Northbridge Policy has been labelled by oppositions as a policy “devoid of any substance” ( Mac Arthur. 2007. p. 3 ) . stand foring a superficial governmental response to anti-social behavior in Northbridge by and large. and among juveniles more specifically. In back uping such claims of shallowness. there are four major statements:

First. while the Northbridge curfew marks immature people under the age of 18. statistics from the Crime Research Centre at the University of Western Australia. published in the Northbridge: Determining the future study. indicates that 71 per centum of serious and common assaults in Northbridge are perpetrated by grownups in the age group of 18 to 34 old ages ( DPC. 2002. p. 28 ) . These statistics are mirrored by research conducted by Mission Australia that identifies 70 per centum of offense in the curfew country as being perpetrated by grownups non juveniles. Furthermore. harmonizing to Mission Australia. there had been no documented rush of offense by immature people in Northbridge. In fact. in the 12 months prior to the beginning of the Northbridge curfew. young person incidents ensuing in apprehension were on the diminution ( Mission Australia ( 2002 ) . cited in Koch. 2003 ) .

Second. curfew oppositions have highlighted that constabulary already had entree to. and utilized Section 138B of the Child Welfare Act 1947. on a needs footing ( Mac Arthur. 2007 ; Rayner. 2003 ; YAC. 2003 ) . While Section 138B of the Child Welfare Act 1947 has since been repealed and replaced with Section 41 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 ( WA ) . both Acts likewise supply constabulary with powers to confine unsupervised kids where there is a belief that their well-being is in danger. With the preexistent handiness of these powers. it has been suggested that the execution of the Northbridge curfew was nil more than an aggressive and targeted application of the Act. driven by the Government’s political docket as title-holder of jurisprudence and order ( Koch. 2003 ; Mac Arthur. 2007 ; Rayner. 2003 ; YAC. 2003 ) . As a senior functionary with the WA Police Service media section commented:

[ The curfew ] was a extremely politicised determination where the authorities of the twenty-four hours wanted to be seen to be making something about anti-social behavior in Northbridge. whereas the constabulary in drumhead took the position that. look. we’ve ever apprehended people under the Child Welfare Act anyhow. so name it a curfew. name it whatever you like. but we’re merely traveling to maintain making what we’ve ever done. … Truly it was concern as usual for the constabulary. ( Mac Arthur. 2007. p. 3 ) [ 1 ]

A 3rd statement for the shallowness of the Northbridge curfew lies with the issue of supplanting. Basically. as a situational offense bar method [ 2 ] . it is argued that curfews may simply travel or displace offense to a clip and/or topographic point where the curfew is non in consequence. thereby badly restricting the net decrease in offense achieved ( Adams. 2003 ; Hesseling. 1994 ; Town. 2001 ) . While probes into the displacement effects of curfews are limited. the available research suggests that there is virtue to these claims. Such research reveals that juveniles may change their forms of piquing behavior to suit a curfew. with grounds of both geographic and temporal supplanting ( Adams. 2003 ; Hesseling. 1994 ) .

Finally. and most significantly. it has been argued that the Northbridge curfew policy criminalises welfare issues while fatefully disregarding the implicit in causal factors of juvenile offense ( Mac Arthur. 2007 ; YAC. 2003 ) . The Gallop Government denied such statements by saying that “the curfew is non a ‘stand alone’ policy but portion of a broader. more comprehensive scheme to do Northbridge safer for all users” ( Gallop. 2003. June 26 ) . Consequently. in 2004 the Gallop Government announced assorted parent support plans among other enterprises and funding allotments aimed at assisting and protecting kids involved in hazardous and anti-social behavior [ 3 ] . However. it is evident that the curfew policy itself has more of an immediate involvement in coercion and control. with its primary intent being to merely extinguish the presence of immature people on the streets in Northbridge.

In relation to these public assistance statements. curfews have besides been critiqued on the footing that they are implicitly founded in naif premises. peculiarly that parents or caretakers are responsible suppliers. and that the place is a safe and unafraid topographic point for immature people ( Adams. 2003 ; Simpson & A ; Simpson. 1993 ) . However. such premises may non ever be realistic. It has been argued that the place can be a unsafe topographic point for some immature people. for illustration. in footings of household force. or where parents themselves engage in a rhythm of piquing. Importantly. it is most frequently kids subject to these fortunes who are at high hazard for delinquency ( Adams. 2003 ) . Furthermore. it has been asked: “What function does the enforcement of a curfew drama sing homeless young person? ” ( Simpson & A ; Simpson. 1993. p. 198 ) .

These issues highlight the fact that the presence of immature people on Northbridge streets at dark can non be viewed without raising issues of young person homelessness and disadvantage. As Simpson and Simpson ( 1993. p. 198 ) declared in their analysis of curfews as a method of juvenile crime-control in Australia: “those most in demand of societal support will be those most likely to be subjected to a curfew and those most likely to neglect its conditions” . Given this. it is apparent that a greater concentration on the structural factors which lie behind juvenile offense is necessary.

In drumhead. the shallowness of the Northbridge curfew is apparent in: 1 ) its evident neglect for existent offense statistics. 2 ) its visual aspect as a politically ‘dressed-up’ policy missing substance due to the pre-existence of its parametric quantities. 3 ) its restrictions in forestalling the mere geographic and temporal supplanting of the offense which it has intended to cut down or forestall. and 4 ) its failure to turn to underlying societal public assistance issues that may take immature people to be on the streets in the first topographic point. In visible radiation of these statements. it seems that overall. curfew policies serve no intent other than to perpetuate the negative stereotyping of all immature people irrespective of their behavior ( Mac Arthur. 2007 ; YAC. 2003 ) . In this manner. it is argued that curfews ‘demonize’ immature people. “paint [ ing ] [ them ] in the public sphere as a menace or at best potentially endangering and unwelcome in their ain city” ( YAC. 2003. p. 3 ) .

Civil rights and autonomies

As a agency of controling juvenile offense. curfews overtly exert control over juvenile behaviors in its entireness by forbiding their presence in public infinites ( Walsh. 2002 ) . For this ground. the cogency of curfews has been questioned on the footing that they conflict with the cardinal rights and autonomies upon which democratic societies such as Australia are based ( Brown. 2000 ; Simpson & A ; Simpson. 1993 ; Walsh. 2002 ) . Further. by enforcing on immature people’s freedom of motion. along with their freedom of privateness. association. assembly and travel. juvenile curfews can be seen to disregard assorted international human rights instruments to which Australia is a party ( Simpson & A ; Simpson. 1993 ) .

However. the issue of juvenile rights is a complex affair. While it is recognised that the rights and autonomies afforded to juveniles make non ( and should non ) equal those extended to grownups [ 4 ] . juveniles however indisputably hold rights worthy of protection ( Brown. 2000 ) . Harmonizing to Brown ( 2000. p. 671 ) . the issue. so. is “not whether juveniles have rights to be protected. but how these rights compare to those of grownups and how much power the province can exert over juveniles” . In response. it is suggested that the province exercises greater power over juveniles since their wellbeing is a topic within the state’s power to modulate ( Brown. 2000 ) . Regardless. the infliction of a juvenile curfew is clearly in breach of Australia’s duties under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. ratified by the Australian authorities in 1990. which seeks to protect kids from arbitrary apprehension or detainment by obliging the rule of detainment as a ‘last resort’ ( Rayner. 2003 ) .

Equally good as conflicting on the rights of juveniles. it is besides argued that juvenile curfews infringe on the rights of parents to raise their kids without undue province intervention ( Brown. 2000 ; Simpson & A ; Simpson. 1993 ) . In making so. curfews go beyond a agency of commanding juvenile behavior by besides going a mechanism whereby households can be regulated through the mode in which they reinforce a peculiar position of appropriate household behavior. peculiarly sing the function of the household with regard to the attention of kids ( Simpson & A ; Simpson. 1993 ; Walsh. 2002 ) . By transfusing a peculiar definition of ‘correct’ household behavior it is suggested that curfews deny the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their kids and in this manner they may go against household liberty ( Simpson & A ; Simpson. 1993 ) .

Overall. it seems that despite their trust on statute law designed for the attention and protection of kids. curfews such as the Young People in Northbridge Policy. appear to hold more of an immediate involvement in coercion and control. to the extent that they can be seen to conflict on the rights and autonomies of the capable population that they are meant to protect ( Cunneen. 2007 ; Sercombe. 1999 ; Simpson & A ; Simpson. 1993 ) .

Discriminatory enforcement

In add-on to troubles sing civil rights and autonomies. curfews have besides been criticised for their susceptibleness to racial favoritism. It is argued that while curfews are expressed to aim all juveniles every bit. in pattern this is non ever the instance ( Rayner. 2003 ) . In the Western Australian experience it is clear that Aboriginal young person have borne the brunt of the Young People in Northbridge Policy. Statisticss cited by Koch ( 2003 ) study that from the curfew’s origin on 23 June 2003 to 14 September 2003. 285 Aboriginal young person were detained. compared to merely 39 non-Indigenous young person. Similarly. statistics from Mission Australia reveal that 75-85 per centum of those apprehended under the Northbridge curfew policy are Aboriginal ( Mac Arthur. 2007 ) . Further. the bulk of these are Aboriginal females aged between 13 and 15 ( Carpenter. 2006 ; Mac Arthur. 2007 ) .

It has been suggested that such statistics may be a mere representation of the proportions of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal immature people on Northbridge streets ( Rayner. 2003 ) . Yet even if this is the instance. it is argued that curfews are still ‘indirectly’ discriminatory in the mode that they have a disproportionately inauspicious impact on one peculiar racial group. However. there have besides been indicants of direct favoritism through prejudiced enforcement. It has been argued by assorted Aboriginal and young person groups that. due to “systematic racism within our society” ( Koch. 2003. p. 7 ) . Aboriginal young person are frequently subjected to increased monitoring and surveillance by constabulary. along with the general populace ( Koch. 2003 ; Mac Arthur. 2007 ; Rayner. 2003 ) . Subsequently. Aboriginal young person frequently do non travel unnoticed on Northbridge streets. and as a research chap at the University of Western Australia Crime Research Centre was quoted: “You’re edge to happen more if you look more” ( Mac Arthur. 2007. p. 3 ) .

However. the Western Australian State Government has denied the racially prejudiced nature of the Young People in Northbridge Policy saying that it was non prejudiced to ‘crack down’ on wrongdoers. “In this instance. they were kids who might be in demand of attention and protection. even if they happened to be overpoweringly Aboriginal children” ( Rayner. 2003. p. 9 ) .

Outcare’s place

Outcare agrees that the Northbridge amusement precinct is non an appropriate environment for unsupervised kids during the late dark and early forenoon hours. particularly given its nature as a ‘crime hotspot’ . However. Outcare takes the place that the presence of unsupervised kids in Northbridge nowadayss an issue of societal public assistance. instead than one of offense control. From this position. it is important that enterprises are directed towards the attention and protection of these kids. While the Young People in Northbridge Policy has been presented by the State Government as an inaugural towards these agencies. it is obvious that merely censoring kids from a public infinite. even one which presents an inappropriate and perchance unsafe environment. is non plenty. Not merely is there grounds that such a limited response may be uneffective as a method of offense control. it besides fails to admit the structural factors which cut down the quality of life for many immature people and contribute to the incidence of juvenile offending.

As such. Outcare places accent on the societal public assistance facets that should attach to juvenile curfews. It is these developmental concomitants. instead than the coercive facets of curfews. that contribute to the success of such constabularies ( Cunneen. 2007 ) . It is of import to observe here that Outcare is strongly against the unneeded criminalization of kids and farther. extremely regards the rule of inclusion. values that seem to be disregarded by juvenile curfew policies. Further. given the pre-existence of the Child Welfare Act 1947 and the current commissariats under the Children and Community Services Act 2004. Outcare takes the position that there is no rational demand for the Northbridge curfew.

However. beyond the curfew argument. the treatments presented here have outlined the importance of reacting to the public assistance needs of juveniles. In making so it seems that curfews may show an chance to place kids and households who can profit from societal services. The designation of these persons. in a mode that needfully emphasises public assistance demands. with the enlargement of the scope and handiness of local societal public assistance services. and increased affair enterprises between enforcement and public assistance bureaus. may be a first measure to supplying some substance to the Young People in Northbridge Policy and bettering responses to juvenile offense.


This treatment paper has demonstrated that juvenile curfew policies may be attractive as an instrument of both offense control and societal policy. with promises to cut down juvenile offense and exploitation. while perchance encouraging parental duty and household coherence. Nevertheless. the usage of curfews remains to be fraught with troubles. They offend basic civil rights. are unfastened to prejudiced enforcement. and their effectivity is questionable. Further. independently. curfews fail to turn to the broader societal issues of juvenile offense.

As stated by the Western Australian Government’s Office of Crime Prevention. “Our kids and immature people are the hereafter of our State. They require fostering. support and protection to guarantee that they achieve personal success and do a valuable part to society” ( OCP. 2009 ) . While this is true. it is evident that the infliction of a curfew will non accomplish this intent. In fact. given the grounds. a curfew. on its ain. may merely move to perpetuate the negative stereotyping of kids along with the apparently over-exaggerated fright of immature people. Consequently. it is basically of import that curfew policies go beyond coercive and commanding methods. A multi-faceted attack is necessary ; non merely cut downing the chance for offense. but besides offering developmental support that can adequately turn to the multiple societal disadvantages that immature people may see. A simple curfew without more is likely to neglect.


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