Social injustice: do young offenders come to mind?

Welcome to my blog “The Life of A Young Offender”. Throughout the following posts I will be discussing the injustices experienced by young offenders, including the contributors to offending, the experience of stigmatisation and the overall impacts for young offenders in terms of employment, and physical and psychological health.

When you think of social injustice do young offenders come to mind?

Probably not, many of you may be thinking they don’t experience injustice, and if they do they’ve got what they deserve, it’s karma. I understand that each and every one of you have your own opinions and assumptions of offenders, which may be based on personal experiences, cultural values or the media. However, I urge you to consider the potential adverse childhood experiences which may have contributed to the young person committing a crime, such as:

  • Sexual, verbal or physical abuse
  • Physical or emotional neglect
  • Witnessing a parent or family member experience sexual, verbal or physical abuse
  • A parent or family member with mental health issues
  • Substance abuse from a parent or family member
  • Incarcerated parent or family member
  • Loss of a parent through divorce or abandonment

Figure 1:

The original Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study explored these circumstances of children and linked them to numerous adverse adult outcomes, in particular they made a direct link between ACE’S and doing time in prison (Aces Too High 2019). The prevalence of ACE’s among the juvenile justice system are extremely high with 92% of females and 89% of males reporting to have two or more ACE’s Baglivio (et at. 2014) Shockingly it has been found that 46% of females and 28% of males reported to have five or more ACE’s. Whilst reading this data I encourage you to reflect on your opinions of young offenders. They did not ask to be born into these circumstances, it’s purely bad luck and a social injustice.

The Figure (2) below shows the separate ACE results from males and females.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope I may have influenced your view of young offenders. In my next blog I will be exploring social justice and how stigmatisation is a form of social injustice for young offenders.

If you wish to find out your own ACE score, visit the website below and take the quiz. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/02/387007941/take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean

References:

Aces Too High, 2019. ‘The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study — the largest, most important public health study you never heard of — began in an obesity clinic’, accessed online on the 10th of April 2019, via [https://acestoohigh.com/2012/10/03/the-adverse-childhood-experiences-study-the-largest-most-important-public-health-study-you-never-heard-of-began-in-an-obesity-clinic/]

Baglivio, M., Epps, N., Swartz, K., Sayedul Huq, M., Sheer, A., and Hardt, N. 2014. ‘The Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) in the lives of Juvenile Offenders’, in the Journal of Juvenile Justice, Vol 3 (2)

Figure 1:

Baglivio, M., Epps, N., Swartz, K., Sayedul Huq, M., Sheer, A., and Hardt, N. 2014. ‘The Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) in the lives of Juvenile Offenders’, in the Journal of Juvenile Justice, Vol 3 (2)

Figure 2:

National Public Radio, 2019. ‘Take The ACE Quiz — And Learn What It Does And Doesn’t Mean’, accessed online on the 12th of April 2019, via [https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/02/387007941/take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean]

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