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Home > Arhiva > 2013 > Numar: 1 > Criminalization of Youth in Romania: The Creation and Amplification of Youth Deviance

 Criminalization of Youth in Romania: The Creation and Amplification of Youth Deviance

  • Radu Petre (MA Humanitarian Action, Ministry of Internal Affairs – General Inspectorate of Romanian Police, E-mail:

Crime rates indicate that youth, specifically young men, members of ethnic minorities, are constantly overrepresented in judicial system when compared with other groups. This reality prompts a series of questions, specifically if the overrepresentations are justified or demonstrate only a focus of control agencies on a vulnerable group, if the increased number of youth processed by the justice system is biased by racism and stereotyping and, most importantly, if there is a real crime problem with youth, what are its causes and possible solutions. The article draws on extensive Anglo-Saxon research which strives to untangle the dynamics of social exclusion and crime, but also points to the dangers of criminalizing youth subcultures and of amplifying youth deviance through moral panics. The thesis of criminalization by moral panics, focusing on disadvantaged youth, is applied to Romania, resulting interesting similarities with Western Europe and North America, mostly linked with local music subcultures such as manele, metal rock and emo. As conclusion it is pointed out that, among different courses of action, there are two choices the society can make, either to continue to criminalize the social problems, thus transforming into a prison society, or to address social injustices by provision of equal opportunities and fair treatment for all its members.

Keywords: social exclusion, criminalization, relative deprivation, youth subcultures, social justice