The problem of juvenile crime is one of the most serious problems of the contemporary society because it affects the future development of the entire society since the number of juvenile crimes tends to grow. In fact, this problem may be viewed in global terms since juvenile crimes are committed worldwide and, therefore, it is very important to develop standards of criminal justice and the principle of work of juvenile justice system on the global scale, including the treatment of juveniles and protection of children’s rights.
In fact, nowadays, there exists a variety of programs that target at the improvement of the effectiveness of the juvenile justice, provision of juveniles with opportunities to protect their rights and, what is even more important, to prevent the commitment of juvenile crimes and stop their growth in the future. The latter is particularly important because the growing number of juvenile offenders along with the ineffectiveness of the existing juvenile justice system increases dramatically the risk that juvenile offenders will more likely to commit crimes in their adulthood, especially, if they serve their terms in prisons.
Basically, it should be said that among the variety of programs focused on the problems of juvenile justice system, it is necessary to pay a particular attention to programs developed and supported by the UN. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, 2007), which lays emphasis on the prevention of crimes among juveniles, and Juvenile Delinquency (Juvenile Delinquency, 2005), which provides information on the current situation concerning juvenile delinquency and suggests possible improvements that can contribute to the solution of this problem.
Speaking about the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, it should be pointed out that the guidelines are relatively simple that is very important because such simplicity facilitates the practical implementation of the guidelines. On the other hand, it is necessary to point out that the guidelines cannot always be applied effectively worldwide because of the backwardness of some countries and existing socio-cultural difference.
To put it more precisely, one of the major points of the guidelines is the improvement of the quality of life as the major tool of the prevention of juvenile delinquency. Obviously, the improvement of the quality of life implies the improvement of the economic position of the most deprived layers of society which are actually the major “suppliers”¯ of juvenile offenders. It proves beyond a doubt that developing countries are hardly able to implement this recommendation because of their poor economic development.
At the same time, it is very important that the guidelines promote the pro-active approach to the prevention of juvenile crimes. What is meant here is the fact that the effective prevention of juvenile crimes should be based on active steps undertaken by the authorities, juvenile justice system, including law enforcement agencies, non-governmental organizations and international organizations. In fact, the active work of different organization and institutions could facilitate the process of prevention of juvenile crime.
In addition, the guidelines also focus on the possible ways of the correction of juvenile offenders who have already committed crimes. In this respect, the guidelines focus on the participation of juveniles in socially meaningful and significant activities by means of which juveniles can feel themselves as a part of the community. Consequently, they could be included into the community that naturally minimizes the risk of recidivism.
As for Juvenile Delinquency, it should be said that it is primarily focused on the prevention of juvenile crime. At the same time, this website provides information not only on possible ways of prevention of juvenile crimes, but it also reveals the basic trends and problems juvenile justice and juveniles face in the contemporary world. In this respect, it should be said that the problem of juvenile delinquency is, to a significant extent, determined by socio-economic factors because poor social environment, lack of sources for normal living, high crime rates contribute to the development and progress of juvenile delinquency.
Naturally, the prevention of juvenile crimes is of a paramount importance and the Juvenile Delinquency lays emphasis on the necessity of the involvement of the community in the process of prevention of offenses committed by juveniles. However, prevention is not the only means that could be applied to solve the problem of juvenile delinquency. In this regard, the Juvenile Delinquency underlines that “to prevent violent behaviour and address delinquency, communities have to adopt strategies that combine such actions as prevention and intervention, as well as suppression”¯ (Juvenile Delinquency, 2005). In such a way, it is possible to apply a complex of measure to decrease juvenile crimes and solve, at least, partially the problem of juvenile delinquency.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the problem of juvenile delinquency and the low effectiveness of the contemporary juvenile justice system is the problem that affects many countries. At the same time, the solution of this problem could be primarily found in the prevention rather than punishment of juveniles.