Juvenile delinquents

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This overview provides a synopsis of the current knowledge base. Having considered all the information, we make sense of it by taking a stab at the following: 1) What are the priority issues that deserve attention, 2) What are opportunity areas that community or voluntary organisations can already take action on, and 3) What knowledge gaps deserve further investigation?

Priority Issues

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Actionable Opportunity Areas

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Knowledge Gaps

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Youth Offender

  • Youth Offenders: Boys Hostel (12-21 male probationers)
  • Community Rehab Centre (16-21 first time drug abusers)

Youths in Street Gangs

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Youth Substance Abuse

Beyond Parental Control

  • Beyond parental control or BPC refers to a child or young person who is below the age of 16 years who may be in persistent conflict with his/her parent/s and school or other authorities and who may be displaying at risk behaviours. Usually, there is a breakdown in the relationship and communication between the child/young person and his/her parent/s. It may result in the inability of the parent/s to exercise care and control over the child/young person. In these circumstances, the parent/s can apply to the Youth Court for a BPC order.[1]
  • [Knowledge gap: Do youths from affluent families engage in other types of crimes? eg cyber crimes]

Statistics & Figures

  • 3,265 young people aged from seven to 19 were arrested in 2015, up from 3,120 in 2014 and 3,031 in 2013 (ST 14 Nov 2016)
  • [youth court sentenced...then serve in their homes, there are other voluntary homes, those homes take in a wider range] [capacity to serve 120, but right now about 70] [see annual report by probation service]. [a lot more diversionary programs in place...guidance programs and enhanced step-up][there are some that have gone through diversionary program]

Areas of Needs / Desired Outcomes

 Need for juveniles to be rehabilitated and reintegrated

Need for guidance and mentoring - from youth perspective, it is having proper guidance and adult mentor.

Definition of rehabilitation: it means that they are going to be corrected and learn form their mistakes.

Existing Resources

Restorative coaching, mentoring

Community-Based Rehabilitation -Court-Ordered Options for Offenders -Pre-Court Diversionary Programme (Guidance Programme) for first time offenders

Institutional Rehabilitation -MSF administered Youth Residential Service (Singapore Boys' Home and Singapore Girls' Home) -Aftercare Service after they leave juvenile homes

Gaps and Their Causes

Not equipped to deal with youths with mental health related issues; eg in YARE program, diagnosed with mental health issue...whether youths are responsive to seeing a psychologist. Detection of signs, but not clear what to do. For serious ones, can refer if in court order. after release, not keep up with appointments?

Possible Solutions

equipping youth workers with mental health knowledge.

Need to avoid underage drinking

Rehab approach for the offenders will be similar...eg strengthen family support. Work with MSF for targeted counseling. Eg male drug abusers go though matrix program...look at triggers of using drugs. Work closely with MHA and MSF. Because there is case management, no need for segmentation. Go through similar program in the institution. use restorative practices. standardized programmes and customised (Trybe's inputs) Underage drinking can cause someone to get addicted and have poor school performances and fractured relationships with family and friends. Also, if they were caught, they could be sent to reformative training and a bad record would be stuck to them, making it hard for them to find jobs and get employed. Apart from that, could affect their development and growth. It can cause changes in their body, including rapid hormonal alterations and formation of new networks in the brain. This would then lead to engage in activities or trying new experiences that emphasizes on socializing with people. Adding on, it could cause them to develop deviant behaviours and violent behaviours and invoke expressions that make them easily feel depressed or angry. This would then cause them to do deviant acts to let go of their rage. Also, underage drinking would cause them to get addicted and sometimes take away their life, example, when they face depression, sadness or anger, they would take to drinking to help them "release" or "cover up" that feeling or emotions andthis would cause them to hallucinate and take drastic actions. Existing Resources http://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore-news/young-and-binge-drinking-spore http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/social-workers-sound-alert-on-new-generation-of-young-drinkers http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/keeping-an-eye-on-underage-drinking

Gaps and Their Causes The reasons for them to engage in drinking maybe because of lack of family interaction and bond. Family members are not that nurturing and they might not be a pillar of support for these adolescents and they tend to feel left out and they seek to drinking to release that part of them. Also, it might be because of conforming to social nroms and trying hard to fit in to the society's definition of being "cool". This insecurity could be one of the reasons why teenagers/adolescents look into underage drinking. Possible Solutions Social workers should work together to help these adolescents. Counsellors in schools should help them and advice them on emotional development

Need to avoid Drug Abuse

Existing Resources

MSF's Streetwise Programme and Enhanced Streetwise Programme

Gaps and Their Causes -It might be caused by peer pressure -It has become easy for anyone to order items on the Internet and have them delivered by post or courier. Drug syndicates and peddlers have taken advantage of the borderless nature of the Internet to conduct illegal drug activities. -Preventive drug education continues to be a key focus of CNB’s strategy. We organised large-scale events such as “DanceWorks!’ and the Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign to spread the anti-drug message to students and the general public.

Possible Solutions


- Enhanced STEP-UP Programme To avoid crime, making sure youths are well engaged and occupied in school works. Youths at risk are also prone to skipping or dropping out of school. The government has school programmes such as the Enhanced STEP-UP Programme which is aimed to prevent youths at risk to drop out of school and is also a support program for those who have dropped out.There are two services provided by the government, service A and service B. Service A helps students improve their attendance and remain in school while service B are targeted at students who are at high risk of dropping out due to their severe absenteeism. Drop-outs are engaged meaningfully to persuade them to return to school [Although we are not sure how effective the method is in getting drop outs to return to school] By keeping the youths busy with school, they are less likely to commit crimes due to lack of time and also influence by peers and teachers. [1]

[Aimed to prevent youths at risk to drop out of school and is also a support program for those who have dropped out. There are two services provided by the government, service A and service B] A is more preventive (about 70%), B is remedial (almost at rate of dropping out) [Service A helps students improve their attendance and remain in school while service B are targeted at students who are at high risk of dropping out due to their severe absenteeism. Drop-outs are engaged meaningfully to persuade them to return to school] ([2]) For both services, it is only eligible for youths under the age of 21 years old. The pros of Service A is it helps the youth in improving their school attendance. As for service B, it helps the youth to readmit back to their school. Thus, both services are actually trying to help youth and ensure that they are in school, learning and coping well. The limitations is that not all youths under the age of 21 is eligible for it. They have to be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident.

- Counselling Counselling provided by schools in a period of time. To check mental health, situations at home or problems they may face. This will avoid future crimes committed or rebellion.

-School Assembly Talks on Crime Prevention. Organised by the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and Singapore Police Force (SPF)(NYGR). For the school assembly talks, the limits and challenges of these events is that it is too generalized. In a sense that mass talks are not as efficient in sending out messages as important as crime prevention. It is not efficient because the students would not be listening there would be too much distractions or they do not find the topic interesting enough. Adding to that, assembly talks can only do so much. It does not guarantee that the students would understand and reflect on what was covered. Therefore it does not prevent delinquency or even youth crime. It is actually a not very effective form of deterrence. School assembly talks are to educate youths on crime prevention measures and the serious consequences of breaching the laws, this is a form of deterrence as youths are educated on the consequences of the crimes.

- YouthCOP In partnership with the Singapore Police Force, lets youths get involved with the community to keep the community safe. Youths are taught about youth crimes and various laws in Singapore. This will educate the youths. However the limits and challenge of YouthCOP is that not everyone is in the program hence not a lot of youth will be educated about crime and it will cost a lot of money.

One way to prevent crime and delinquency would be to conduct crime prevention talks. Crime prevention talks are held during school assemblies to educate youths on crime prevention measures and the serious consequences of breaching the laws. This will allow them to have some knowledge on what will happen if they commit a crime and the consequences they will have to face. Police officers have also been giving out small alarms where u can pull the string if something happens you. For example, i was at Bishan with my friends and this group of officers came up to us giving this small alarm to us. They said that if something happens to us, we can pull the string and a loud alarm will sound. This will alert the people around me and will also prevent crime from happening.

YouthCOP is another way to prevent crime and delinquency. It aims to ensure there develop youth crime-prevention leaders in the community, to serve, protect and care, for the community. This is to ensure that youths will be more cautious with crimes happening around them.

also preventive. Start at sec 1, finish at sec 4. about 3 years. anti crime ambassadors. work with neighborhood police, who come and train some of the group work sessions. eg take youths on a patrol around the neighborhood. Do door to door visits. prevent crime in neighborhood or prevent crime in school? develop skills and competencies in engaging neighbors. Educate them about crime. Use a risk screening tool, but no very successful, for higher risk youths. for their community youths, the risk is lowered, becuase tool is not sensitive enough. [knowledge gap: a more senstitive tool to measure risk level for moderate risk youths]

- The Honorary Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC) School Scheme Implemented by the government aims to help schools and Institute of Technical Education (ITEs) better manage student delinquency by extending police authority to school personnel such as disciplinary teachers and operations managers. With that title, they can advise the school on matters regarding delinquency, counsel the offenders or at risk delinquents, enforce the laws in the schools and also engage with the public and the community regarding youth crimes. {For example, when I was in secondary school, I remember my peers who have already engaged in youth crimes being approached by the operation manager and after receiving counselling from the operation managers, they stopped with their crimes because they had forged a friendship with the operation manager and did not want to disappoint him by committing another crime.}

Help schools and Institute of Technical Education (ITEs) better manage student delinquency by extending police authority to the personnel such as Discipline Masters, Teachers as teacher-cops. [As Honorary Voluntary Special Constabulary (VSC) (School) Officers or teacher-cops, they enforce laws in the school, counsel delinquents, advise on matters relating to delinquency and police procedures and also engage the public and community organizations to address youth crimes] (NYGR). This program it instilled to help deter and prevent crimes. In addition, talks are also held in schools as well to educate students on the measures and consequences of crimes. This way youths are able to be more alert and aware of their behavior.

- Prison Visit Education Programme for Schools (PVEPS) The programme may deter but will not stop the youths from committing crimes permanently as possible reason why they would do crime may be due to peer pressure or personal reasons. Yes, educating them is not wrong but the youths may take it as granted knowing the consequences they have to bear for doing crimes. It may scare them awhile but after they might forget and commit the crime. It may not be as effective as putting them in the prison to experience the pain that a offender have to take because they are just visiting as a visitor to look at the environment and not experiencing it personally to know the seriousness of committing a crime. In addition, the programme may not be as persuasive as the youths being helped by their family instead. Some youths commit crimes because they have been neglected by their family and so, counselling both the youth and his family may be more effective to understand why he would commit crime and that would be easier for family to know what they can do to stop their child from becoming a offender in the future. Ultimately, the only way to change the youths are them willing to help themselves, if they do not, no one else can help either, same goes for the programme.

The challenge of the Prison Visit Education programme for Schools (PVEPS) is that it only works on students who are studying at certain schools. This programme also takes place over a short period of time. They may be educated on the harshness of the prison life but they are still young. They may not truly understand the seriousness of the consequences/punishments of drug abuse. Also, once they’ve graduated, they will no longer be tied to this programme. Hence, it is going to be much harder to monitor and control them so that they will not be offenders. Like the PDC DRC programme, this programme also doesn’t guarantee that the students will not fall into drug abuse.

PVEPS targets students who are considered by their schools as high-risk of committing crime due to their school discipline records. The programme aims to deter potential first-time offenders by exposing them to the harshness of prison life. Launched in 2004, PVEPS is a joint initiative by the Singapore Police Force, Singapore Prison Service and Ministry of Education (NYGR). [They are male students aged between 13-19 years old, who have been identified as at-risk of offending, and who have not been arrested by the police prior to the prison visit and have not visited any prison and any other programmes.]  

Need for [ insert description ]

Existing Resources

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions

Resource Directory

[Youth Guidance Outreach Service]