The thesis for my data summative will focus on the idea of a possible correlation between youth organized sports and youth crime rates. Sports are able to teach youth discipline, honesty, character building and social skills. Since there are not many variables in the data being researched most data will be taken from case studies and examples. Although there are a lot of variables regarding youth crime it would take too much time and effort to try and pinpoint all the different factors affecting youth crime (socio-economic, cultural influences etc...) and instead we will focus on two major variables. The rate in which young people are committing crimes in an area and how much money is being put into organized sports and recreation. Hopefully if a correlation is found the use of organized sports can at least be attributed to the reduction of youth crime.
The reason sports and recreational organizations are being used as a method to reduce youth crime rates is that punitive methods have been tried with little effect. In Ontario a “Zero Tolerance” policy. This resulted in the number of youths being charged for criminal offences tripling between 1989 and 1993. This may seem impressive however, there was no real reduction in youth crime. Therefore the focus should be on youth crime PREVENTION rather than youth crime PUNISHMENT. It is believed that roughly 70% of all the money spent by Ontario in regards to youth crime is spent on incarcerating the offenders. Roughly 100 000$ a year is spent per offender.1
In short money is being spent in a failing system that is costing taxpayers tremendous amounts of money. Sports and recreation may not completely eliminate youth crime but if it shows any correlation with reducing crime rate it will be far more efficient than the current method of incarcerating many while preventing nothing.
Youth offenders usually come from poor socio-economic regions where they also tend to have lower education, lower income and can often times be found as a minority within the region this can explain why gangs are such a common phenomena, gangs comprise a fair portion of all violent crimes. It was found that in Guam upwards of 60% of violent crime reported were tied to gangs found within the country. In Bremen Germany almost 50% of reported violent crimes are due to gangs. Similarly in a 1000 youth longitudinal survey the gangs were only 30% of the study but somehow accounted for nearly 70% of self reported violent crimes and drug related crimes2. England conducted a study and found that around 33-34 % of males who had been convicted of violent offences before reaching the age of 20 were likely to re-offend between 21 and 40 years of age. While only 8% of males who did not offend in their younger years were found to offend during 21 – 40 years of age.
Sports and recreation can be effective in stemming youth crime as it has been proven exercise converts adrenaline into energy, adrenaline causes a stress response and exercise is a healthy means in which is important as it was noted that most youth offenders come from troubled areas facing stresses regarding socio-economic pressures and low income families while also facing exclusion from school and other areas as they often times are minorities. Athletics and exercise also help release endorphins, which causes a natural sort of high that helps alleviate stress3.
A famous example of youth organized sports helping reduce crime rates is what Sean Porter attempted to do with a detention facility located in Los Angeles. The inmates of Camp Kilpatrik had a high recidivism rate. Sean Porter however believed that with the use of football he would be able to change the inmates around for the better. He began the Camp Kilpatrik Mustangs off with an 8 man football team with the emphasize being on the ability to face adversity rather than beating other teams4. Although the Camp already had a few other...
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