- Implement use of the criminological theories of the governance like responsive regulation, restoration justice and also make a reply to the policy goal that you think is relevant.
- What are the issues related to the crime or anti social behaviour. Provide a critical analysis on the crime, policy and governance.
Crime in common terms indicates an act which is not lawful under law and is punishable by the state to deter people from committing any such acts. Though, there is no clear universally accepted definition of crime but the statutory definitions solves the purpose of explaining the term. Governance refers to a process wherein the policies and decisions are taken by the authorities to prevent crime and ensure welfare of the people. An anti-social behaviour could be defined as annoying, irritating, disturbing or interfering behaviour creating a concern for the community ranging from misuse of public places to being negligent about the community safety.
The report focuses on the issues of anti-social behaviour and involves the deviant behaviours of minors which are either harmful, offensive or serious criminal activity, as it could be witnessed that there is an increase in the anti-social behaviour among young. The report underlines the government policies for keeping a check on such deviant behaviour.
Identifying the issue
In general terms the anti-social behaviour is a behaviour of an individual which could be dangerous or harmful for a society or community, for instance, fighting in a public place or rash and negligent driving could cause disturbance and be harmful for the community as a whole. There are various definitions of anti-social behaviour given by various governments , department and organs of the government, firstly, the definition given by the Western Australian Police Department explains the term as “any behaviour which disturbs, annoys or interferes with a persons' ability in going through their lawful business.” The another definition is given by the British legislation as “behaviour causing or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more people who are not in the same household as the perpetrator.”
The anti-social behaviour could be defined differently by different communities in accordance to the implications it poses in that particular society as the set of behavioural patterns ranging from minor issues, such as creating noise to serious issues, such as littering, destroying public property etc. The anti-social behaviour discussed in the report is substance abuse and the crimes or offences caused by drug abuse and its impacts in turn on the community; and what are the strategies; and policies adopted by the government to curb the menace of substance abuse followed by a response to policy goal.
The term substance abuse or drug abuse means the illegitimate consumption of legal or illegal substances such as, misuse of prescribed drugs, use of illicit drugs, use of other illicit substances etc. This leads to many diseases and could even cause death or disability and in turn poses a risk to the user's family, neighbourhood and community at large. As the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, 2016 reported that the consumption of illicit drugs in Australia is on rise in spite of the consistent efforts taken by the government.
Various types of illicit drugs
Cannabis commonly known as marijuana is a psychotropic substance derived from the cannabis plant which is generally used for medicinal purposes. According to the Survey it is the most commonly used drug amongst the youth. MDMA or ecstasy is also a psychotropic drug which is illegal in most of the countries because of no medical use. This is a commonly used drug which causes alterations in sensations. Hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD causes hallucination on consumption. Heroin or Morphine are narcotic drugs which are used by many countries for medicinal purposes, though, these are majorly used as the recreational drugs. Synthetic drugs are resulted from man made processes and not naturally produced.
Most of the above mentioned drugs which are consumed by youth results in causing difficulties pertaining to personal heath and social functioning also involves their increasing engagement in anti-social behaviour, as there is a close nexus between drug consumption and crime. The two could be said to have a direct effect on one another as consuming drugs might lead to or cause crime or vice versa.
Australia has been facing the problem of increasing substance abuse or drug abuse since 1960s. The government has taken some commendable steps to curb the issue, such as the National Illicit Drugs Strategy, (1997) which was named as the “Tough on Drugs” strategy. The current policy of the government is the National Drug Strategy 2017 – 2026 which focuses on building a framework for a joint action by government and other service providers & the community by adopting means for demand, supply and harm reduction. According to the Department of Health, Australia the Strategy 2017 is to build aims at betterment of society by reducing the demand and supply of drugs and reducing the harms caused by consumption of illicit drugs. The current policy is in the lines with the 1998 Strategy which aims at building a safe and healthy community.
Coerced drug treatment to drug offenders
The report focuses on the government policy of legally coerced drug treatment provided to the individuals convicted or charged with offences as a result of drug consumption. This legally coerced way of taking treatment for drug abuse is an alternate for imprisonment awarded in conviction for a crime committed by a person. It can be said that it is undergone by such convicted person because of the fear of imprisonment, in case he fails to undergo the complete treatment. This mechanism is used for treating the offender who were using illicit drugs such as heroin, marijuana etc. The treatment focuses on reinstate the victim, the offender and the community at large. The offender is need to be rehabilitated to recover from the roots of substance abuse and in order to be reinstated in the society.
The coerced treatment is generally given to the offenders convicted for crimes caused due to use of illicit drugs, especially heroin, as the addicts of this drug are prone to relapse if not treated properly. There are varied forms of legally coerced treatment provided to the drug offenders at different stages of the criminal justice system, which could be provided at either after detecting the crime but before the person is charged with the offence, or after charged has been formed or after conviction or during any other stage of the process of delivering judgement.
According to Wayne Hall and Jayne Lucke the legally coerced way for treatment of drug using offenders is not unethical as this is for the betterment of the offender and an alternate to rejoin him with the mainstream community. Also, it is comparatively cost effective then sending an offender to prison.
The treatment ensures that the offenders are restored to the community and are able to lead a normal life. This brings out the elements of restorative justice which focuses on restoration of the offender, than of retributive justice which focuses on inflicting punishment for the offence committed.
Theory of Criminal Justice – Restorative Justice
The theories of criminology helps one in understanding the working of the criminal justice system and the major players involved in it. The theories makes one understand what law is rather than what law ought to be. There are various theories of criminology such as – classical theory, re-integrative theory, restorative theory etc. The report highlights the theory of Restorative Justice in understanding the policy of government. The restorative justice theory is basically a system of criminal justice system which emphasises on rehabilitation and restoration of offenders on the basis of their reconciliation with the victims and community rather then focusing on providing punishment to the offender.
The legally coerced way of treatment for drug abuse could be seen in the light of restorative justice theory of criminology. Though, it seems like application of retributive theory of justice but it should not be perceived as a punishment rather it should be taken as an alternate way of rehabilitating the offender. This is the way by which the offender could be reformed and enter into the mainstream. The another question on legally coerced way could be on the ground that whether it is ethical or not, as coercing someone to undergo a treatment might seem unethical and certainly not legal. But, as discussed above it is for the benefit of the offender and community as a whole and therefore, cannot be termed as unethical even though it seems that way. There are also Drug Courts established in Australia, primarily for dealing with the offences caused as result of consumption of drugs, as a result of government policies to provide speedy justice.
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It is the theory which is applied in the form of justice to the community where the offender has done something wrong which is against the society by mediating between the victim and the offender. The main purpose of this theory is to negotiate between the parties. It is given in the form of restitution to the victim so that the offender does not do things and cause harm to him. This theory make the offender to realise the harm that he has made to the society or the victim and give them the opportunity to redeem themselves so that they does not cause further harm to the victim and society. This theory is widely accepted as this theory has proved that it makes offenders less likely to re offend. Thus this theory can widely be applied in the different situations such as criminal cases, in the prisons, in schools, in social work, etc. In the conventional justice system when the crime occurs or the law is violated the society demands for the punitive action by the court against the offender. This system emphasizes the crime and the victim is only seen as witness to the crime committed against him. This theory challenges this assumption and provide some good social cause that can also be the part of punishment to the offender. It is an ideology that acknowledges the victims suffering and gives them a voice to support thee decision making process. The supporters of this theory claims that restorative justice can bring fairness, easy access, restitution and no criminal stigmatization by proposing to repair the harm within the context of maintaining the relationship. The other type of justice focus on the past happenings, while the restorative justice focus on the past, present as well as future of the offender. This type of justice is concerned with relationships and individuals accountability. As there are so many strong points in the restorative justice so it has many limitations and criticism. Some limitations that are in this theory is:
- Some of the judicial systems only recognise monetary compensation to the victim. As the compensation is the key to victim. This justice only provides them with the social restoration.
- Sometimes the court cannot impose regret feeling in the offenders which will make the victim feel insecure towards the law.
- This theory does not give the confidence to the victim that crime would not be done again.
- This type of justice erodes the legal rights of the victim.
- This type of justice is an incomplete model as it fails to fix the fundamentals that make people to become offenders than other justice.
The policy goal that has been analysed in the report is 'legally coercing the offenders of abuse to treatment'. It has been discussed above that this policy is a positive way of punishment to the offenders of crimes committed because of drug abuse. This policy was initiated in the light of American policy of legally coercing the offenders. This policy has ethical value attached to it as it uses punishment or imprisonment as a motivation to get treated for drug abuse. The government has also adopted another policy in the light of this policy which resulted in establishments of drug courts in the country. These courts provide speedy justice and resolution of the matters pertaining to the offences because of drug abuse.
The various issues posed by the policy are addressed above, as whether it was ethical or not or whether it is an alternate way of punishment or not. The other policy which could be suggested is use of psychological methods to deal with the offenders of drug abuse. The psychological methods are useful as often the government, police department and other organs of the government are unable to understand the anti-social behaviour of the offenders, for which psychology has certain outcomes to understand the same. The psychologist uses different techniques and one – on – one interacting approach which could result in understanding the deviant behaviour of the offender and also helps in healing the offender. The psychologists are often seen working in groups wherein people work together for combating the challenges of anti-social beliefs of the group. According to Prof. Andrew Day Maps, the government the psychological treatment for addressing the challenges of anti-social behaviour is a progressive take because the government only focuses on the punishment oriented ways of dealing with the offenders.
The psychological methods of treating the offenders in the similar way as they are treated by legally coerced to treatment, could be an alternate way of dealing with the offenders of drug abuse. The theory of criminal justice system – restorative justice is applicable to this alternate way as well, as it primarily focuses on restoration and rehabilitation of an offender. Therefore, the offender rather than getting punished could be restored to the community. Also, the restorative theory implies that there should be reconciliation between the offender and the victim, so the offender could be ordered for community service as an alternate to punishment. Therefore, these alternate views of dealing with the offenders ensure that the offenders are given an opportunity to reform himself and get back to the society and lead a normal respectable life.
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It can be concluded that the to provide a welfare society free from the offences the government need to formulate effective policies. There is an increase in the anti-social behaviour in the society as a result of illegitimate consumption of drugs and the government has taken outstanding steps to curb the same in the forms of legislations and strategies. The report specifically deals on the government policy of legally coercing the offenders of drugs to undergo treatment. The authenticity of the theory whether its ethical or not is also reviewed on the basis of literature referred. The criminal justice system could be understood by understanding the theories of criminology. The report analyses the restorative justice theory to understand the deviant behaviour of offenders committing crimes under the influence of drugs or substances by applying it to the government policy discussed along with an alternate policy of the researcher.