Sample Criminal Justice Paper on Police Reforms: Rehabilitative approach as a way of resolving criminal attitudes

Background and Context

Crime committed by young offenders is referred to as delinquency rather than criminal. In Hong Kong youngsters who commit crimes are divide into two categories; juvenile offenders (convicts of between 10 and 15 years of age) and young offenders (convicts of between 16 and 18 years of age) (Lee, 2011). Among the leading offences by young people in Hong Kong are theft often in form of shoplifting and violence.

In hindsight, the confusion that young people face in transition from childhood to adulthood may play a huge role in fueling delinquencies. According to (World Youth, 2003), the changing dynamics in lifestyles especially in familial elements like relationships, dependency periods and the collapse of the family unit are among the factors causing discord among the young. According to (Cheng, 2017), peer pressure and school performance and achievements are also significant to delinquencies. In addition, administrative factors such as police reaction to crime and schools response to offences by youngsters can influence attitudes towards authorities and legal systems (Wong, 2000).

All these factors affect young people’s attitudes and often lead them to criminal tendencies. This is further compounded by the legal and moral constraints that police have to contend with while handling issues surrounding juvenile crime. Specifically, the Juvenile Offenders Ordinance has stipulations about how juvenile offenders should be handled and this sometimes puts a strain in crime control. For this reason, it is important for the police to adopt reforms that can enable them to effectively control juvenile crime while still observing these legal and moral lines.

Police reforms that will allow for rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents rather than punishment seem to be the way to go. Rehabilitation that can provide psychotic counselling, vocational training and empower the young both socially and economically can help keep away criminal attitudes and reduce occurrence of crime.

2.1 Statement of the problem

In Hong Kong, the police face a great challenge in the control of juvenile delinquencies due to a number of factors that influence juvenile criminal behavior. The attitudes of many young people towards authorities and legal systems make enforcement of the law quite difficult. Young people have a tendency for criminal attitudes and behavior often caused by socio-psychological factors. Similarly, relations between youth and the police remain precarious due to many underlying factors such as lack of trust borne out of brutal response to crime by police, whether real or perceived.

For police enforcements to efforts to cub juvenile crime to be successful, there is need to put in place, well thought out police reforms that will address delinquency among young people while putting into consideration the many factors that influence such behavior.

2.2 Research Question

  1. How do family dynamics; parents’ divorce, parent/teen relationship and dependency period influence criminal behavior of the youth?
  2. How do economic dynamics; poverty and lack of opportunities in the labor market influence criminal behavior of the youth?
  3. How do administrative dynamics; custodial measures, arrests, punishments, criminal records influence criminal behavior of the youth?
  4. Which legal and moral constraints do police face in enforcing the law against juvenile offenders?
  5. Which alternative reforms can the police adopt to effectively control juvenile crime?

2.2.1 Goal

Implement police reforms to empower police for effective control of youth-related crime.

2.3 Objectives

  1. To identify the areas of police performance in relation to juvenile crime control that require reforms
  2. To identify the legal and moral constraints against police affecting effective control of juvenile crime
  3. To establish and recommend rehabilitation techniques that can effectively cub repeat offence by juvenile delinquents.
  4. To identify effective techniques that can be applied in building strong trust and credibility for the legal system by the youth.

3 Summary of relevant theory

In this study, two concepts; juvenile crime and police reforms towards effective control of juvenile crime are central. Consequently, this study will be pegged on the theory of reasoned action. The theory of reasoned action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975), postulates that that a person’s behavior is determined by their intention to perform the behavior and that this intention is, in turn, a function of their attitude toward the behavior and subjective norms. This theory will play a significant role in this study to inform the understanding of how juvenile delinquents think and how this can be effectively addressed in order to correct their behavior.

4 Methodology

This study investigates juvenile crime and the factors that drive it. Further, the study looks into the areas in police activities concerning juvenile crime control that require reforms to enable the police to effectively cub such crimes in Hong Kong. To provide insights into these research questions, this study will employ qualitative methods. This is because of the nature of the questions that the study seeks to interrogate.

4.1 Research Methods

The study will investigate issues surrounding juvenile criminal attitudes and behavior by using ethnographic methods and will employ the use of focus groups. The groups to be studied will be composed of young Hong Kong residents of between 10 to 18 years who have been have criminal tendencies and who may have been convicted of minor offences and rehabilitated. Or have undergone psychological counselling in school.

The second concept of the study aims to initiate reforms (changes) in the police, observe the effect of those changes and make recommendation for furthering the effectiveness of those reforms. This will necessitate action research approach. This will be done through case study, interviews and observation to establish the effects of the reforms under investigation.

4.2 Data Analysis

The data analysis will follow two steps. First will be the organization of the data in line with the research questions. The data will be placed in their relevant themes in order to aid in interpretation.

The second stage will involve interpretation of the data in order to make the necessary recommendations.

5 Timeframe

Time (Month) Activity
October  2020 (2nd  half) Submit a proposal for approval.
November 2020 (2nd half)- January 2021 Carryout Literature Review.
February 2021(1st half) Prepare legal and ethical consideration documents.
February (2nd half) Contact participants, communicate terms and administer documents for consent.
March 2021- April 2021 Carry out the case study.
May 2021 Carry out data analysis and write down the results section.
June 2021 Write the discussion and make recommendations.


6 References

Cheng, W. H.-Y. (2017). Criminal sentiments and. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 57-67. Retrieved from

Lee, F. W.-l. (2011). Nurturing Pillars of Society: Understanding and Working with the Young Generation in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Scholarship Online.

Wong, D. S. (2000). Juvenile Crime and Responses to Delinquency in Hong Kong. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 279-292. doi: 10.1177/0306624X00443003

World Youth. (2003). Juvenile Delinquency. United Nations.