The purpose of this paper is to explore the tension between government protestations that youth justice policy is evidence-led and what the evidence implies in the context of the age of criminal responsibility.
The paper takes the form of a conceptual analysis of government policy and the evidence base.
The paper concludes that the current low age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales can be understood as a manifestation of the influence of underclass theory on successive governments.
The paper is not based on primary research.
The arguments adduced help to explain the reluctance of government to countenance any increase in the age of criminal responsibility.
The analysis might help inform approaches adopted by youth justice policy makers, practitioners and academics with an interest in seeking a rise in the age of criminal responsibility.
The paper offers an original analysis of government intransigence on an important social issue.
Bateman, T. (2014), "“Catching them young” – some reflections on the meaning of the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales", Safer Communities, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 133-142. https://doi.org/10.1108/SC-05-2014-0008Download as .RIS
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