After reviewing the two essays on youth crime "Children as the Enemy" by Peter Elikann and "The Crackdown on kids by Annette Fuentes, the latter, which is based on the ideal that these days 'to be young is to be suspect', would be the more appropriate and effective essay to be published in the magazine Criminal Justice Monthly.
The way in which Fuentes' attempts to prove that what is needed to solve the problem of youth crime is not locking up more kids, but a shift in society's perception of young people is more likely to reach out to the typical reader of 'Criminal Justice Monthly' as the evidence she uses is more substantial and to a certain extent more convincing due to techniques she uses to back up her points.
The magazine is typically intended for a national audience of defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges, academics, and other criminal justice professionals with a focus on the practice and policy issues of the criminal justice system. entences is done more effectively than in the other essay. Concerning the relevance to the current state of 'youth problems' in the UK, stats show that the situation is getting worse and worse, in April 2002 gun crimes soared by 35 percent over a 12 month period and due to an increasing fear of youth crimes by local communities the home secretary were willing to grant powers to lock up persistent offenders as young as 12 .
Both essays ask how youth problems are socially constructed, basically implying that when people think of youths, several images come to mind and more often than not these are very negative. Youth is an age of disruption and deviance. When teenagers behave badly, they are typically fulfilling negative stereotypes about them. They are seen as violent trouble-makers who have complete disregard for authority and rules.
It is true to say that a large percentage of crime can be accredited to youths due to reasons such as troubled home life poor attainment at school, truancy and school exclusion drug or alcohol misuse and mental illness, deprivation such as poor housing or homelessness and possibly peer group pressure , however, there are criminals within practically every age group and yet it is youths which are still especially targeted for being the 'bad' citizens in society.
Both authors blame this on three basic points, the perception of young people by adults in the modern day, adult sentences to teenagers as appose to being sent to juvenile correction centers , and thirdly firearms which are currently far too easily available for teenagers. Through out Elikann's essay it is clear to see that he prefers using anecdotal evidence compared to Fuentes' who uses many claims of fact, hard evidence such as statistics and numbers which is more likely to appeal to the evidence hungry reader of a criminal justice magazine.
Although anecdotes and references to people stories can be effective and by starting his essay with a personal anecdote can do much to confirm the credentials of the author, these anecdotes generally stereotype because they generalize certain characteristics which seem to be a popular view of youths and are very specific cases which doesn't do much to convince the audience of the problem at hand as appose giving facts and figures to support claims of cause.
An example of the different techniques used by both authors is when Elikann talks about the problem with youth gun crime he simply states vaguely that 'juvenile murders by all other weapons did not increase one iota. If America's youth were more predisposed to kill than ever before during that period, we would have seen a rise in every kind of murder, not just gun murders'. There is a quote in Fuentes' essay which establishes the prominence of guns in youth cultures at the moment - 'A 1997 Justice Department report looks at homicides by youths aged 13 and 14 with and without guns.
In 1980 there were 74 murders committed with guns and 68 without by that age group. In 1995 gun-related murders totaled 178; there were 67 nongun murders. ' These statistics speak for themselves. They show that an increase in youth crime clearly occurred due to the use of firearms and no other reason, and are arguably more convincing than Elikann's remarks of the same topic and more importantly will be more convincing to the judges, lawyers e. . c who are reading the essay as they're jobs revolve around hard evidence.
And again when Fuentes' talks about perception of kids she seems to be somewhat more thorough in her research of the topic having more solid statistics and figures, where Elikann does inquire into the same basic principle that seems to be that these days 'Children are the scapegoats of this generation.
And that 'To be a child today is to be suspect' and uses interesting claims of definition to back up his views saying that 'we've replaced Communists with children' and showing that harsh terms like 'superpredator' are being used to describe the youth of today to distance them from adults. This is all well and good but Fuentes' more logical approach to the matter would appeal more to your audiences than an emotional one because the readers of this essay would most likely have jobs which mean decisions are made due to logical evidence and cannot be swayed by emotional pleas.
Fuentes' gives a personified example of the state of public perception of youth when quoting a '1997 report from Public agenda, a non profit policy group' who apparently found out that '58 percent of those surveyed think children and teens will make the world a worse place or no different when they grow up. Even kids aged 5 to 12 weren't spared, with 53 percent of respondents characterizing them in negative terms. Only 23 percent had positive things to say about children.
What America really thinks about its kids, in short, is: not much', she also gives a staggering statistic which shows in plain view the cause of this wrongful perception- From 1986 to 1993 the number of abused and neglected children doubled to 2. 8 million and three years later, the total of all juvenile arrests was 2. 8 million. This sort of evidence actually might hit readers at an emotional level as well and I think these are the sort of things the readers of 'Criminal Justice Monthly' would be interested in hearing about as it gives a real insight into the youth crime problem.
The way in which Fuentes talks through the current, past and changing state of the laws concerning underage crimes with adult The last paragraph in 'The Crackdown on kids' uses claims of value to try to teach society the error of there ways stating that 'the criminalization of young people makes no sense, of course', 'we are showing the seeds, the dragons, of our own comeuppance' also by using 'we' it is reaching out to the reader trying to make them empathetic towards the subject.
In summary Fuentes' essay seems to show a stronger and clearer message than Elikann's essay and I would recommend it for publication. It is shorter and to the point, 'Children as the Enemy' is in fact well over the 1200 words required for publishment in CJM, 'Crackdown on Kids' also uses more hard evidence in the form of thoroughly researched facts and figures, which as explained would be more useful for the general target audience of 'Criminal Justice Monthly'.