Childhood intervention could prevent crime

May 1st, 2008 - 2:47 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, May 1 (IANS) If children who are likely to commit crime are identified early enough, preventive measures can improve their future prospects, according to a new book. Literacy, vocational training, living conditions and mentoring of children susceptible to committing to crime are key areas that need attention.

“We found that more than 60 percent of those we surveyed while researching the book had parents or other relatives who had spent time in prison,” said Diana Kenny, co-author of “Young Offenders on Community Orders”.

“They also had lower education levels and higher than average exposure to risky lifestyle behaviours, including drug and alcohol abuse and unprotected sex,” she said.

The book details the family background, physical and mental health, educational difficulties and alcohol and drug use of 800 young offenders. Interestingly, despite their disadvantaged backgrounds and bleak prospects, more than half had a positive outlook on life.

Kenny’s research presents a challenge to policy makers to focus on support for families with a history of crime.

“Prevention and support, rather than punishment, may help our young people break the cycle of offending,” she said.

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