From Derek Bernard.
VIOLENT, aggressive, antisocial youngsters (ie ‘children’) carry out a very significant proportion of both serious criminal offences and vandalism.
The objectives of stopping them from committing these acts, and persuading them to adopt a more constructive mode of behaviour, are both extremely important. The problems are far from new — they have been present in Jersey (and pretty well everywhere else) for as long as crime data has been collected and analysed.
But society’s views on how best to deal with them have altered greatly over time and, I hope, will continue to develop. As one professional has said to me: ‘There is no magic bullet.’ No individual, or organisation, including the Ho-ward League, has perfect answers to these problems.
So why the aggressive att-acks on those associated with the so-called ‘Grand Prix’ system of trying to create a mixture of carrots and sticks to encourage better behaviour? It sounds as though it was a serious, thoughtful attempt to be creative in an important but difficult and emotional area. How should those trying to improve the treatment of antisocial youngsters evaluate alternative procedures?
These near-hysterical attacks smack of extreme political correctness and the idea that the fashionable view of the correct way of treating young offenders, whatever that is, is the only proper view and that any other method is to be damned. I suggest that honest, open-minded evaluation of all the systems and procedures is more likely to result in an optimum strategy.