NUMBER 53 • 26 JUNE 2002 • CRIME: INDIVIDUAL OR SOCIETY?
INDEX OF QUOTESReferences
The majority of new services available to youth and their parents today are directed towards intervention after problematic behavior has surfaced. Youth are then said to require treatment under the auspices of the health, criminal justice, and other social welfare institutions.
If society, instead, assumed that adolescent youth were a population at risk because of characteristics of the society as well as attributes of the individuals, quite different policies and programs could be developed (Pearl, 1978). For example, in the case of the health of the population, we no longer wait until a disease epidemic has emerged (for example, measles, polio, cholera, etc.). Instead we have, through public health programs, developed vaccines, sanitary water supplies, and health education to prevent and control these diseases.
A similar approach could be applied with respect to the socio-emotional health and well-being of youth and young adults. Such an approach would require the use of quite different theories of human behavior, for instead of arguing that there are individual attributes which produce illness or delinquency, it would be assumed that critical features of the social structure interact with certain characteristics of individuals to produce situations in which deviants can emerge. It then follows that modification of the social structural features would be at least as important as intervention with individuals. Moreover, structural features may well be as easy to change as are individual attributes (Sarri, 1980; Krisberg, 1978).
— ROSEMARY SARRI
Sarri, R.C. (1982) Juvenile Justice Reform: Agenda for the 1980s (The Fifth Annual Gisela Konopka Lecture) St Paul: Centre for Youth Development and Research, University of Minnesota
Krisberg, B. and Austin, J. (1978) The children of Ishmael. Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield.
Pearl, A. (1978) Toward a general theory of valuing youth. In A. Pearl, D. Grant, E. Wenk (Eds.), The value of youth. Davis, CA: Dialogue Books.
Sarri, R. (1980) Adolescent status offenders and the juvenile justice system. Children and Youth Services Review, 2, 239—269.