Youth & Media Part 4: ASBO. A Badge Of Honour or The Key To The Criminal Justice System?

It has been argued at great lengths that the ASBO was a waste of time, money and effort. It has been heavily criticized that ASBO’s were not a deterrent to youth. In some parts of society an ASBO was heralded a “Badge of Honour” in which youths actively pursued Anti-Social Behaviour to be awarded an ASBO to gain street cred. Moreover, to add to the fact they weren’t a deterrent, more than 9,247 of the 16,999 issued were breached.  The stats on how Anti-Social Behavior legislation was being used shows that overpoweringly they were being used as a more punitive measure more than referring for treatment, such as preventing a youth from going to certain places and/or at particular times. The reason for the high numbers of ASBOS is because researchers believe this can be explained by a collapse in family and community life in the UK. Left idealism assumed that crime occurred within the working class because of poverty, and that crime was an attempt to redress their balance in our inequitable society. In terms of Media, this reason would depend which source it came from. Left and Right realism plays a heavy part of societal attitudes in the Media with different Media outlets painting pictures with different opinions. This makes ASBO’s very newsworthy depending on what others view and believe as anti-social. A topic within ASB which some found controversial through the media’s interpretation was that the giant anti-social net often managed to catch young people who weren’t particularly deviant or anti-social, but was interpreted to be so and then find themselves within the labyrinth of the Criminal Justice System due to ASBO’s being too complex and bureaucratic. There were too many of them, they were too time consuming and expensive. Of course this would often lead youth’s to feel excluded from society, this attitude would further continue and lead to more criminality whereas the behavior and attitude towards society maybe avoided by doing nothing, effectively. Rather than the Media and Government demonizing people, we need to make sense of marginalised groups not make them invisible.

In Conclusion, it could be argued that the ASBO was born from a place of Justice, with the belief that it was the right thing to do. In practice it has been bastardised and laced with so much legislation that if the professionals don’t understand them then how on earth are the perpetrators of antisocial behavior supposed to understand them? The evidence suggests that the media clearly has so much power within a society to create and morph opinions and attitudes towards anything it desires. It could also be argued that the media does use the interpretive nature of anti-social behavior to change attitudes towards the demonisation of youth in England and Wales. It has demonstrated this throughout my research how they raised the ASBO agenda to increase the public focus on youth behavior and in particular contributed to the sense that Britain is somehow broken and in decline. As a result of the heavy reporting on Chavs and anti-social behavior, the Media created its own little monster in which it released to the public to generate fear on a national level. This sent a clear message not only to the British people but to the world that in modern Britain it is a crime to be young.

Many may believe that ASBO’s became a means of criminalizing behavior that in another era might have been labeled as youthful misdemeanor or “kids being kids”. Given that most young people have committed some form of antisocial behavior. It seems credible that most offenders would simply grow out of this “phase” without such totalitarian intervention under a giant microscope of the media. However, unfortunately the Media will always be creating “Folk Devils” and creating national enemies, sadly it may never learn that labelling all acts that we don’t understand as “evil” leads us nowhere.


One thought on “Youth & Media Part 4: ASBO. A Badge Of Honour or The Key To The Criminal Justice System?

  1. Thomas Kids have been doing things for thousands of years but I myself when a youngster we respected the police Sergeant Cooper or Fred as every body new him as if he caught you doing something you shouldnt he would clip you round the ear and the next time he saw your father he would have a quiet word with him then you got it the belt and would be grounded for a week you showed respect to these people Fred Hutchinson as well the two Freds together kept us in line . I remember one St Patricks dance at the cons club there was a gang of us there and Fred Cooper walked in looked around the bar and said right lads I am going to the station for a brew and when I have had it I will be back and do not want to see certain people that are here with pints in front of them in the bar and went .I can tell you that there was none of us in that bar when he came back we respected him and did not cause trouble oh we had our moments but The 2 Freds kept us on the right side of the law they were strict but lenient I know this sounds double dutch but it worked and the people of Bollington felt safe. The modern way of policing is rubbish it needs a good looking at and sorting out .There was one sergeant in Macclesfield Harry Slater I think his name was I was filling my motorbike with petrol at Hibel Road garage when Harry pulled up at the side of me and said where are you going I said Bollington he replied when I have filled up I shall try and catch you your tax is out of date in other words he was warning me get it sorted or else needless to say I went straight to the post office and sorted it next time he saw me he checked the date on my tax and was happy you would not get this today would you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s