Journal of Youth Studies

July 1998

Volume 1 . Issue No. 2

Serial No. 2

Feature: Youth Crime and Support for Rehabilitation

Social Causes of Juvenile Crime - Debbie LAM
Debbie LAM
Lecturer, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong

[Abstract] The Fight Crime Committee had commissioned the University of Hong Kong to do a study on "The Social Causes of Juvenile Crime". The report was completed in 1995. The results indicated that while many youths may commit a crime once or twice in their lives, only a proportion might become repeat offenders. Criminal behavior was related to the time that parents could spend with their children, the negative labeling of the school, and the subculture of marginal youth. Such a subculture had a range of characteristics related to their types of activity, ways of making friends, time spent with friends, hedonistic and manipulative relationships, etc. The relationship of criminal behavior and the various variables is complicated. Different youths might become repeat offenders through different paths. The picture was that the more involved youths were with the marginal subculture, the higher the chance for delinquency; the higher delinquency, the more involved they were with the subculture. To prevent juvenile crime, more effort would be needed to improve the youths' bond with the school and to provide greater support to the family. The role of outreaching social work for young people is also recognized in this study.
The Effectiveness of Rehabilitation Programmes for Young Offenders in Hong Kong - Sharon S. K. LEUNG
Sharon S. K. LEUNG
Lecturer, Division of Social Studies, City University of Hong Kong.

[Abstract] This article presents findings from a research project on the effectiveness of current rehabilitation programmes for young offenders run by the Correctional Services Department (C.S.D.) in Hong Kong. 509 young offenders (including 54 from halfway houses) were surveyed and follow-up interviews were done with 25 ex-offenders and 30 C.S.D. staff. The study found that young offenders were generally satisfied with the programmes. Respondents were less satisfied with the provision of education in youth prisons, facilities for vocational training, overcrowding, complaints system, number of visits allowed and the quality of food. The C.S.D. programmes were effective in changing young offenders' behaviour and attitudes. The article also details findings on the effectiveness of rehabilitation programmes and services, including training centres, detention centres, youth prisons, halfway houses, aftercare and psychological services, as well as the complaints and reward system. Suggestions for improvement of the current programmes are discussed. The implications for service delivery in the future are highlighted. These include the provision of a caring model based on humanity and fairness, promotion of quality service by emphasizing the professional development of staff, strengthening the Community Services Support Scheme and community education, and a commitment to further research.
Sovereignty and Juvenile Justice in Hong Kong - Patricia GRAY
Patricia GRAY
Senior Lecturer in Criminal Justice, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom
(Formerly Lecturer, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong)

[Abstract] This article examines the similarities and differences between juvenile justice policies and practices in Hong Kong, the UK and the People's Republic of China. Particular emphasis is placed on the likely impact of the change of sovereignty on the Hong Kong juvenile justice system.
The Police's Roles in the Prevention of Juvenile Crimes - Francis W. L. LEE
Francis W. L. LEE
Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

[Abstract] The image of police in the eyes of the public has always been tough, authoritative and hard on crime. However in Hong Kong, police have special arrangements for handling juvenile offenders which are concerned about their welfare. The Superintendents' Discretion Scheme is one of such measures. There are, however, criticisms on the adequacy of supervising cautioned juvenile offenders under the Juvenile Protection Section of the Force. A study has shown that the police, in fact, do possess social and welfare attitudes on the causes and ways of handling juvenile delinquents. These are good foundations for the police to perform a preventive role in juvenile crime. Cooperation with social workers is also a beneficial approach. The roles and strategies of how police can cooperate with social workers, and hence, assist in the prevention of juvenile crime are suggested.
The Roles of Social Workers in the Judicial System and Rehabilitation of Offenders - Anthony Y. B. TANG
Anthony Y. B. TANG
Chief Executive, the Society for Rehabilitation of Offenders, Hong Kong

[Abstract] Both the Justice System and Social Workers respect human rights and dignity. Offenders may thus benefit from such protection through appropriate sentences and opportunities to correct their criminal behaviour. This is especially relevant to juvenile and young offenders for whom the Justice System has great concern with regard to their well-being and rehabilitation. It is envisaged that the relationship between the Justice System and Social Workers will become more intensive in time to come. Through the involvement of social workers and their services, the Justice System would have more alternatives for sentencing, whereas juvenile and young offender will also have more chances to serve their sentences and be assisted by social workers to rehabilitate and re-integrate into society.
Sentencing Options for Young Offenders in Hong Kong - Rosanna WONG
Rosanna WONG
Executive Director, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups

[Abstract] A study on sentencing options for young offenders was completed in March 1998 by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups. The opinions of community leaders on sentencing methods for young offenders in Hong Kong were collected through a questionnaire. This article reveals those findings, as well as particular points of debate and feedback from the community. It affirms the value of community-based sentencing for young offenders. It appears that for the one who commits a minor-offence, education-oriented sentencing is preferable to "remedy" or "deterrence" sentencing. The author also introduces non-custodial sentencing methods used aboard. Further, the author discusses the appropriateness and application of Restorative Mediation in the context of Hong Kong.
Victims of Crime and Related Programmes: an Introduction to "The Victim's Charter" in Hong Kong - CHAN Wai To
Senior Lecturer, Division of Social Studies, The City University of Hong Kong

[Abstract] The Victim's Charter (1996) has set out "both rights and duties of crime victims", and the aim should be "to improve the standards of service for victims of crime whenever possible". This article argues that, regrettably, the current provision of some statutory programmes and social welfare services provided by non-governmental organisations could hardly reach the vast majority of crime victims. They are not adequately taken care of in and by the community. A sound philosophical base and framework for practice should be developed in order to improve the "Victim's Charter" in Hong Kong.
The Types and Trends of Juvenile Delinquency in Hong Kong - CHE Wai Kin
CHE Wai Kin
Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics & Sociology, Lingnan College Hong Kong

[Abstract] Juvenile delinquency has been a social problem in Hong Kong since the 1970s and has caught the attention of the general public. In the mid-1990's, among the people arrested by the police, one-third of violent crimes and 40 percent of theft were committed by delinquent youths (between 12-21 years of age). This writer argues that juvenile delinquency in Hong Kong is getting worse. In addition to societal factors, he believes that the links between the triad societies and the delinquent youths has contributed to the phenomenon.

Pan-Chinese Societies Exchange: An Overview of Judicial Correctional and Rehabilitation Services for Young Offenders in Pan-Chinese Societies

The Juvenile Justice System, Correctional and Rehabilitation Services in China - GUO Xiang
GUO Xiang
Professor of Criminology and Law, China University of Political Science and Law
Executive President, China Society of Juvenile Delinquency Research

[Abstract] Since the end of the 1970's, where China adopted economic reform and an open-door policy, she has experienced drastic social changes. As a result, juvenile delinquency reached its peak from the period of the late 1970s to the early 1980s, with its impacts being feet even today. This article attempts to analyze the situation of juvenile delinquency, the juvenile justice system, correctional and rehabilitation services in China today.
Judicial Services for Young People and the Prevention of Juvenile Crimes in Taiwan - CHEN Meng Ying
CHEN Meng Ying
President, Fukien Kinmen District Court

[Abstract] The judicial services for young people in Taiwan have faced some changes in recent years keeping pace with the change of social attitudes, lowering birth rate, and the introduction of the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child. The judiciary has begun to stress more on child protection and differential treatment on a case-by-case basis, and reduces punishment for juvenile offenders. The new legislation on the Law Governing the Disposition of Juvenile Cases in 1997 has made a substantial improvement to juvenile justice in Taiwan. This article highlights the major policies and corresponding measures. It is an introduction to how the judiciary in Taiwan works on rehabilitating young offenders and preventing juvenile crimes.
Boot Camp as a Pre-probation Catalyst for Change: an Intermediate Measure between Probation and Long-term Incarceration - CHAN Cheng
CHAN Cheng
Lecturer, Department of Social Work & Psychology, National University of Singapore
Consultant Psychologist, Panel of Advisers, Juvenile Court, Singapore

[Abstract] The first Boot Camp style corrective training for young offenders in Singapore was inaugurated on 30th June 1996. This paper outlines the conceptual framework under which the Singapore version of the US originated military style reformatory regimes works. Evaluations conducted immediately, two-months, six-months, and 18-months after the camp, suggest that Boot Camp can be an effective alternative to long-term incarceration for offenders who do not warrant regular probations. The paper also suggests that the short confinement at Boot Camp performs an important function as it provides a convenient breaking point for undesirable habits of the offenders and is useful for serving as a catalyst for change prior to any community based supervision.
An Overview of Judicial, Correctional and Rehabilitation Services for Young Offenders in Macau - TANG Yuk Wa
General Director, Macau Social Workers' Association

[Abstract] Juvenile delinquency has been a serious social problem. Nevertheless, how do the existing social services in Macau, such as judicial procedures, correctional services, and social rehabilitation services, help the delinquents to correct their behiviour and make a fresh start? Also, how can the whole institution and policy of these social services be improved? This article attempts to make a collective introduction on the issues.
Juvenile Justice System in Hong Kong - Lo Tit Wing
Lo Tit Wing
Associate Professor, Department of Applied Social Studies, The City University of Hong Kong

[Abstract] This article gives a brief description and analysis on the juvenile justice system in Hong Kong. Current means for diversion from this system are police superintendents' discretionary scheme, bind-over, and community support service schemes run by non-government organisations. Popular sentencing options include fines, compensation, bind-over, unconditional or conditional discharge, supervision, care and protection, and rehabilitation programmes. Among the rehabilitation programmes, probation, community service order and community supportive service scheme are community treatment provided by the Social Welfare Department. This Department also runs a number of residential programmes, including boys and girls homes, probation homes and hostels, and remand homes; whereas the Correctional Services Department operates half-way houses, drug addiction treatment centres, detention centre, training centres, and youth prisons. The article ends with a report on the most recent development and a discussion on service gaps and potential sentencing options.

Professional Exchange

In the Midst of Excuse and Control Cultures: A Critical Discussion on the Roles and Responsibilities of Social Workers in the Rehabilitation of Juvenile Offenders - CHAN Yuk Chung
CHAN Yuk Chung
Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Social Studies, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

[Abstract] This article explores the roles of social workers in the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders amidst a changing juvenile justice climate. It does not attempt to prescribe solutions to social workers. Rather, it urges them to attend and give careful considerations to the dilemmas inherent in every helping situation. It holds the view that social workers serving in the justice system are like walking a tight rope. They need to strike a good balance between serving the juvenile offenders on the one hand, and meeting the objectives of the juvenile justice system on the other. This is the best way to guarantee the quality and effectiveness of the service, because emphasizing too much on one side while neglecting the other, will lead to resistance and loss of support for our service.
A Fulfilling Path—Community Service Order - KWAN Kam-chuen
KWAN Kam-chuen
Social worker, Social Welfare Department (ex-supervisor of Community Service Orders Office)

[Abstract] Community service order is a community-based service for offenders. It makes every use of the volunteer service experiences, i.e. carefully structured through experiencing alternative and constructive ways of living and relating to other people.
Diversion of Juvenile Crimes: Police Cautioning and Social Worker's Support - Gary L. S. TANG
Gary L. S. TANG
Supervisor (Youth Support Scheme/N. T. West)

[Abstract] The traditional way of handling the juvenile crime problem has been criticized in recent decades. It has been suggested that placing a young person into the criminal justice system is not really helping the young people, but only serve to label him/her as a "real criminal". Diversion seems to be a new way in rehabilitating young people. The Youth Support Scheme is a new community-based treatment service providing after-care service to those young people who were diverted out from the juvenile justice system through the Police Superintendents' Discretionary Scheme. The operation of the service and its role in the juvenile justice system in Hong Kong will be discussed.
Youth Rape in Hong Kong - CHU Yiu Kong CHOI Kin Fai
CHU Yiu Kong
H. K. Representative, Institute of Police and Criminological Studies, University of Portsmouth, UK
Part-time Lecturer, Department of Sociology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
CHOI Kin Fai
B. S. Sc. (Hons), The Chinese University of Hong Kong

[Abstract] In recent years, three obvious trends regarding rape in Hong Kong have developed: (1) It is largely committed by youth; (2) the age of the victim is dropping; and (3) gang rape is more common. In contrast to the popular belief that youth rape is simply an 'impulsive' criminal act to satisfy sexual need, this article argues that youth rape is a far more complex phenomenon. At least four patterns can be found: (1) planned stranger rape; (2) planned acquaintance rape; (3) opportunistic rape; and (4) 'game' rape. In each of the above four patterns the rapist's motive, the degree of violence, the relationship between rapist and victim, and the location of crime may vary. The most interesting finding is that 'game' rape among juveniles has become more common. However, very few victims report the crime and it is difficult for the police to handle these cases.
Stealing Behaviour of Juveniles - Jessica C. M. LI
Jessica C. M. LI
M. Phil In Criminology, University of Cambridge

[Abstract] The paper aims to look at stealing behaviours of juveniles from a situational crime prevention perspective. In fact, criminal acts are a result of the interplay between individual propensity to crime and a given situation. The situational factors for stealing are explored and some correspondent measures are recommended.
Role of Mass Media in Constituting a Juvenile Delinquent Sub-Culture - LAI Kwok Hung
LAI Kwok Hung
Civic Education Coordinator, Technical Institute, Vocational Training Council, Hong Kong
Ph.D. Candidate, University of Hong Kong

[Abstract] Exposure to the mass media is virtually unavoidable. Over time, people tend to perceive things the way they are portrayed in the media. The media thus plays, not only a reporting role, but a defining role, establishing their audiences' sense of reality. What constitutes "news", however, does not necessarily confirm with reality. The news media consistently over-report violent and sexual crimes. Crime news is chiefly a reflection of the exercise of power over the interpretation of reality. Since the media only features unusual juvenile crimes, popular attitudes to delinquency tend to be constructed around a number of stereotypes of youth, such as gangs in new estates, school-dropouts, teenage sex-hunters, terrorists on innocents, etc. Certain acts, if socially defined as deviant, and the juvenile who commits them get labeled as "delinquent". Self-fulfilling prophecies serve as catalysts for eliciting future behavior of the prescribed kind. Thus, the effects of creating a delinquent subculture through media newsmaking, normalizing certain deviant acts throughout society, rationalizing such behaviors, and imitating criminal acts are generated. This process of delinquent subculture formation is explained as a vicious cycle. The author believes that scientific and objective research can reduce the impact of such a cycle on the formation of a delinquent subculture.
Summary of the Forum on "Reconstructing Juvenile Delinquency" in Macau
Record: LAI Chi Wai 
  Edit: Dr. Penny Y. Y. CHAN
The Macau Juvenile Delinquency Research Society

[Abstract] A forum on juvenile delinquency was held on March 1998 by the newly formed Macau Juvenile Delinquency Research Society. Speakers of the forum came from different areas of theories and practitions. Academics, teachers, medical practitioners, social service practitioners, police officers and religious workers shared their valuable experience and views. This article summarizes key points of speakers. It aims to deepen readers' understanding of young people in Macau.
Youth Studies in Hong Kong – A Response to Ting and Ho's Article - LAW Chi-Kwong
LAW Chi-Kwong
Associate Professor, Department of Social Work & Social Administration, University of Hong Kong

[Abstract] Youth research has been developing rapidly in the past decade. It is time to take stock, review, and evaluate. When reviewing research, we should be fair, strike a right balance between totally acceptance and cynicism, and apply common standards, such as validity, reliability, sample representatives, and whether the research has achieved its objectives. To improve and strengthen local youth studies, we should perform more research and development activities, establish a data archive, and conduct more studies related to the theory and practice of youth work.
Perceptions of a Happy Family Amongst Chinese Adolescents and Their Parents - Daniel T. L. SHEK CHAN Lai Kwan
Daniel T. L. SHEK
CHAN Lai Kwan
Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

[Abstract] Chinese parents (N=416) and their adolescent children (N=412) gave their views on the attributes of a happy family via individual interviews. Based on content analyses of their narratives, results showed that three categories of attributes of a happy family emerged from the data: (1) attributes related to the family as a whole or individual family members (including love and concern, understanding and respect, communication and sharing, togetherness, conflict and harmony, roles and responsibilities, problem solving, family composition, economic and material conditions, other global family characteristics, and individual member's attributes); (2) attributes of parents and children (including love and concern, understanding and acceptance, communication and sharing, parents' attributes and children's attributes; and (3) spousal characteristics. Some gender and parent-adolescent differences were found with regard to parents' and children's perceptions of the characteristics of a happy family. The findings suggest that while Chinese parents and their children regard the absence of conflict and harmony as important attributes of a happy family, they are less likely to mention emotional expressiveness and strong leadership as attributes of a happy family.
Analysis of Local Net Group: the Implications of the Study on Net Behavior of Youth in Hong Kong - CHAN King Chuen  CHAN Chi Fu
CHAN King Chuen
Information & Research Manager, Breakthrough
Investigator of "Research on Net Behavior of Youth in Hong Kong", Breakthrough

[Abstract] A study on the major activities of local youngsters on the Internet was carried out by Breakthrough last year, called "Research on Net Behavior of Youth in Hong Kong". The research revealed that the Net behavior of local youngsters consisted of two basic elements: (1) various activities of using the Internet as information and resource network; (2) different forms of Net chatting among the Internet users which were increasing. Based on the results of the research, this article tries to discuss the issue on the existence of Net group on local network and its implications on understanding the youngsters of the new era.
The Structural is Personal? Re-examination and Re-development of Youth Work in Hong Kong - Victor C. W. WONG Wallace K. C. SHIU
Victor C. W. WONG
Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, Hong Kong Baptist University
Wallace K. C. SHIU
M.Phil. Student, Department of Social Work, Hong Kong Baptist University
Youth Social Worker, Tsuen Wan Integrated Youth Service Centre, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups

[Abstract] Whether the role and tasks of social workers or youth workers should be personal- or structural-oriented has been a subject of concern and controversy in the field of youth work. Informed by a structural perspective, the authors argue that 'the structural is personal' which focuses on both the personal and structural dimensions of youth and youth work. The article is devoted to discussing the concepts, dimensions and theoretical underpinnings of structural youth work so as to shed lights on the (re)formulation of the dynamic concept of youth, and the theory and practice of youth work in the local context of Hong Kong.