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Teachers: Citizenship: Criminal justice system

Last Updated: Tuesday November 22 2005 14:56 GMT


Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Crime and justice


Curfews are spreading across the UK. The Anti-Social Behaviour Act has made it easier for the police to use this approach.

Teaching Ideas

1. Learning aims

  • How curfews are set up in the UK
  • That negotiating acceptable behaviour is difficult as it is a subjective term
2. Short activity
    Read out this news story about a curfew in a Cumbrian market town:

    Then talk through the following points with the class:

  • Do they know what a curfew is?
  • How do they feel about the fact that the age limit has been set at 16?
  • What are the benefits of a curfew?
  • Which groups in society will gain the most?
  • What are the problems of a curfew?
  • Which groups will be the biggest 'losers' where curfews are brought in?

3. Main activity

    [A] Role play - assign members of the group the following roles:
    - Pensioners
    - Police officers
    - Local councillors
    - Youth club workers
    - Shop keepers
    - Young people

    [B] In groups negotiate a code of acceptable behaviour for young people on the streets in your local area. The objective is to let young people enjoy some freedom but to make other groups feel safer and less threatened on the street. here are some suggestions:
    - Size of groups you can hang out in
    - The way hooded tops are worn
    - Where you can be on the streets
    - Where groups shouldn't meet up
    - What about underage drinkers
    - Preventing vandalism
    - Protection from muggers
    - How can criminals be identified

    [C] Bring the group back together and vote on some of the proposals they have come up with.

4. Extension activity 5. Plenary
    Recap on the main teaching points. Why is it hard to negotiate a change that will involve some winners and some losers?
6. Teachers' Background
  • 70% of all crimes that affect ordinary people are committed by a small number of young men - almost all of whom began offending in their teens.

    The options for dealing with young offenders are chosen from a scale linked to the severity of the crimes committed, they include;

  • Prevention schemes - the teams organise activities and supervision to keep the children away from drugs and criminality.

  • Community sentences - includes a meeting between victim and criminal or an order to carry out work to repair damage done. More than 5,000 reparation orders have been made since June 2000.

  • Intensive supervision - full surveillance of the offender through electronic tagging and personal visits.

  • Custody and training - in the year to March 2001 approximately 6,600 young offenders ended up on a Detention and Training Order (DTO) which aims to punish and rehabilitate in equal measure. A DTO can last between four and 24 months with half the time spent in custody and the remaining half in community rehabilitation.

  • Anti-social behaviour orders:

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