- Explore the age of criminal responsibility for children in the UK, comparing this with the rest of Europe (can weave in case examples )
- Examine theories relating to child incarceration such as the welfare model and the restorative justice model (and other models)
- Explore whether UK incarceration of children ‘works’ ( and if not why not - i.e. you can assess reoffending rates, statistics, child suicide in prison in answering this etc)
- Assess what interventions are used for child offenders in other parts of Europe, considering a ‘best practice’ model (you can then weave in theory point 2 to say if these "work" i.e. what do europe do which could work in UK, as opposed to prison?)
According to the statistics that came out in June 2015, the number of children who were taken into care is at its highest ever in UK. Approximately, 1100 care applications were submitted in the month of June which is 25% higher than the last year (Arditti 2012). Another statistics that came out in 2002 notified that almost 49% children who have been in care, ends up going into prison system. Most disturbing fact is, among the total prison population, 23% are the children (Califa 2012). In this study, one of the focuses would be the detailed analysis of the UK child incarceration from several perspectives.
1.2 Research Background
Child incarceration has emerged as one of the biggest problems in the world. Because of social inequality, children are experiencing unequal treatments in their schools, playgrounds and other places. Social inequality is forcing them to acquire illegal ways to claim their daily needs. Social inequality is hugely present in UK; therefore, child incarceration rates are also high there. That is why it is important to conduct a research to find out the present condition of child incarceration in UK and how it is different or similar with other countries.
1.7 Rationale for the Research
Crook (2014) has said that spending time in jail or prison might have a profound effect on the future of the young people. At the same time, Denby (2012) has suggested that building a super prison for the children is one of the most terrible ideas, and the Ministry of Justice's bizarre plan takes into account a regime of the physical, as well as restraint, would be a recipe for child abuse. Moreover, it has been found that the only supporters of the idea to construct a super prison for the children are the companies that would profit from building this (Geller 2013). Therefore, a clear dilemma is observed in this regard, therefore the research topic has been selected to carry on further study.
1.4 Research Aim
The main aim of the research work is to analyze whether incarcerating that is locking up the children is a slang or not. In the UK, this is one of the most important topics and this study will try to explore whether UK incarceration of children works or whether it does not.
1.5 Research Objectives
- Exploring the age of criminal responsibility for the children in U.K and comparing with the rest of Europe
- Searching and evaluating theories related to child incarceration
- Exploring whether UK incarceration of children really works or not
- Assessing what interventions are used for the child offenders in several parts of Europe, considering the best practice model
1.6 Structure of the Research
This research on “Child Incarceration in UK” will mainly focus on the incarceration systems in UK to find out whether it is creating a negative impact or a positive impact on the society. This research proposal will have the following structure including an introduction which will provide a brief knowledge on the present condition of child incarceration in UK. The introduction part will also provide research aims and objectives which will be explored later to find out the desired outcome of the research. Relevant theories and models on child incarceration will be described in the next part which will be a literature review part. From the literature review part, it will be easy to build hypotheses which will help to compare the outcomes of the research with present scenario. Research methodology part will provide a vast knowledge on how the research will be done and what research approaches and strategies should be used. Using those research strategies, the researcher will use proper research methods to collect data in the data analysis and findings part. In the last chapter, based on the collected data, a recommendation and conclusion of the entire research will be provided.
In 2010, seventy four thousand children between the ages of 10 to 17 were found guilty of, or cautioned for indictable offences in the UK. However, the result is lower than the results of 2007, when the number was 126,000 (Liebling and Maruna 2013). Among those 74,000 children, half of them were aged 15 or under. Therefore, it is clear that child incarceration rates are falling in UK, however, the current stats are not so satisfying as 74,000 is still a big number. According to Solomon-Fears (2012), most cases of offences committed in 2010 by children in UK, involved: theft, drug offences, etc. In this part of the study, we will discuss the concept and models related to child incarceration. Those concepts and models will allow having a brief knowledge of the social condition of UK and rate of child crime.
2.1 Concept of Social Stratification
Social stratification is a hierarchy of positions that are related to economic production, which influences the social rewards to those in the position of higher authority. There are some reasons that cause the social stratification like, slavery that involves social inequality, as well as caste in which a person is permanently assigned to a status based on his/her parent's status, etc. (Muntaneret al. 2013). In this chapter, two concepts of social stratification will be discussed to find out the detailed reasons of increasing child offences.
2.1.1 Marxism concept
Most of the cases of child incarceration took place because of inequality in the society. The social structure of UK is divided in several parts which allow a particular group of people to grab everything where rest of the people stays under the shadow. Therefore, The Marxism theory can be discussed here to shed light on the social inequality. Karl Marx has done an extraordinary job to find out the significance of class for society and class for social change (Huws 2013). According to Marx, class differentiation is the main reason for social, economic and political inequality. He also stated that in the society, there are always two classes, among which one is a dominant class, and other is subordinate class. Between these two classes, the person or persons who belong to the dominant class or ruling class controls the paths of production like land, machinery, industries, etc. The other class, which is a subordinate class, always suffers as the people under it offer their labor to gain their needs to stay alive (Smart 2013). From the ages, the ruling class is always exploiting and oppressing the subordinate classes.
This concept also tells that the classes that own the process of production always try to get as much profit as they can by ordering the labor class. The target is to provide lowest wages so that they can achieve more profits. This differs between the real value of the salary and product is known as “Surplus value” (Warren 2015). This “Surplus value” is the main source for profit for the capitalists. In capitalist society the bourgeoisie and the proletariats share a relation of conflict. It is a relationship of ruler and ruled,leader and follower. According to Esteban (2012), this relationship is the main reason which will destroy the capitalist system. Another side effect of this relationship leads people to earn their lively hood by acquiring illegal and taking wrong paths. UK being no exceptional, offences in children and young are found as most of them belong from a family who are a part of that subordinate society.
To change this situation, it is essential that working class develop class-consciousness, which is actually a subjective awareness adopted by the members of a class regarding their common interests and need for collective political action to recall social changes. However, there is a difference between class-consciousness and false consciousness. According to Esteban (2012), false consciousness is a belief that states that upper class is superior and has the right to rule. People who are under the influence of this consciousness never dare to stand against the upper classes and rather choose to acquire illegal paths to fulfill their daily needs.
2.1.2 Max Weber’s theory
The great German sociologist Max Weber established his theory on stratification around the views of Marx. However, the theory or Max Weber stated there is no single characteristic like class, which can define a person’s position within the stratification system. According to Beetham (2013), the picture of social stratification is much more complex and diverse as it comes from the unequal distribution of power. Therefore, Weber pointed out three criteria to explain the inequality in the society, which are class power based on economic differences, status differences based on social differences and party power based on political differences.
According to Giddens (2013), the class includes a group of individuals who share a similar position in a similar economic condition. He stated that there were four classes, which are,
- Upper class
- Petit bourgeoisie
- Middle class
- Manual working class
According to Mommsenand Osterhammel (2013), class forms one possible basis for group formation and collective actions where there is another base for this kind of activity which is status and party. According to the social honor and prestige, people in UK receives special treatments which is absolutely unfair. Even in schools, children who belong from a prestigious family are offered with better opportunities than others are.
According to Turner (2014), a party is a political based stratification. Weber has stated that parties are the groups that serve for their members only make decisions in the favor of their members. Besides, parties are concerned with the attainment of social power. Likewise, Max Weber did not regard political power as a function of economic factors. Due to this situation, social inequality takes place.
It can be said that the research, will follow a descriptive type of investigation as this type of research generally meets the requirements of the study. The goal of descriptive type of research is to focus on the research questions and objectives and to find out proper solutions based on those questions (Bergh and Ketchen 2012).
3.1 Research Philosophy (Interpretivism)
The philosophy of positivism puts focus on examining the problems related to the research as per the real facts that are available after they are being identified and observed. This philosophy is one of the effective tool for making the logical analysis of the available data to make sure that the research problem are dealt suitably in the light of real facts and true evidences. However, for this study interpretivism will be used because the study on the child incarceration in UK depends on the perceptions that people have on a particular situation or object (Bergh and Ketchen 2012).
3.2 Research Approach (Inductive)
Between Deductive and Inductive research approach, the study chooses Inductive research approach as the researcher has the chance to frame new concepts as well as models from the data gathered from the several sources. According to Bernard (2012), inductive approach helps the researcher to collect data from several sources, and this enhances the knowledge of the research topics.
3.3 Research Design (Descriptive)
Onwuegbuzie and Leech (2012) has said that a proper and significant research design helps to identify critically the research problems carefully and to study the research problems with the help of the proper methodological plan. In this research work, the researcher has selected descriptive research design, as this type is capable enough to help the researcher to examine the several research issues from different perspectives.
3.4 Data Collection Method (Secondary)
This data collection method relies on secondary data based research. In order to gather secondary data, the researcher has taken help from the several updated journals, books, newspaper, websites as well as various other sources (Bergh and Ketchen 2012). Therefore, it can be said that these sources of gathering information have helped the researcher.
3.5 Data Analysis (Secondary)
After the data collection part, the researcher will compare the data with the existing theories and models to find out the differences. According to the differences, further recommendations will be provided.
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