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Article
Publication date: 19 July 2010

Tim Bateman

Figures published by the Ministry of Justice show significant progress against New Labour's targets to reduce reoffending by young people within the youth justice system…

Abstract

Figures published by the Ministry of Justice show significant progress against New Labour's targets to reduce reoffending by young people within the youth justice system. The outgoing government was, unsurprisingly, quick to infer that such findings constituted corroboration of the improved effectiveness of youth justice practice under their administration. This article considers whether such an inference is warranted and discusses other potential explanations of the data.

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Safer Communities, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-8043

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Article
Publication date: 30 March 2012

Sean Creaney

The purpose of the paper is to examine the discourses of risk, prevention and early intervention, with particular reference, to the treatment of girls in the contemporary…

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1209

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to examine the discourses of risk, prevention and early intervention, with particular reference, to the treatment of girls in the contemporary Youth Justice System.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper has two broad objectives: first, the paper reviews the literature on early intervention and youth crime prevention policy. Second, the paper focuses on youth justice practice in relation to girls who are engaged in youth justice processes or “at risk” of criminal involvement.

Findings

The paper argues that: girls are drawn into the system for welfare rather than crime‐related matters; and youth justice policy and practice seems to negate girls' gender‐specific needs. Moreover, the paper highlights research evidence and practice‐based experience, and contends that youth justice policy and practice must be re‐developed in favour of incorporating gender‐specific, child and young person centred practices.

Originality/value

The results presented in this article will be particularly pertinent to policy makers, educators and practitioners in the sphere of youth justice, especially since the contemporary youth justice system, in its rigorous, actuarial pursuance of risk management, fails to distinguish between “genders” within its formulaic assessment documentation.

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Safer Communities, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-8043

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Article
Publication date: 12 July 2013

Sean Creaney

The purpose of this paper is first, to explore the impact of risk‐focussed intervention on the lives of young offenders and young people defined to be “at risk” of crime…

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2052

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is first, to explore the impact of risk‐focussed intervention on the lives of young offenders and young people defined to be “at risk” of crime. Second, the paper considers “alternative perspectives” and the prospect of a youth justice predicated upon the principles of informal justice, child‐friendly values and the notion of inclusion.

Design/methodology/approach

The first part of the paper reviews the theory and literature on early‐preventative intervention in the youth justice system. The second part of the paper explores “alternative perspectives”, drawing on restorative justice, restorative approaches and diversionary measures.

Findings

The paper presents three general findings. First, young people can be subject to youth justice intervention without a “presenting problem” or offence committed. More pertinently this form of pre‐emptive criminalisation violates the child's human rights, due‐process and legal safeguards. Second, young people who are drawn into the net of formal youth justice intervention can suffer from the stigmatising and labelling effects of being criminalised. Third, there is a pressing need for youth justice policy and practice to be transformed, in order to allow for the implementation of more informal, diversionary and restorative measures.

Originality/value

The paper has great value for students of youth justice, and policy makers, especially the conservative‐liberal democrat government who wish to cut costs, introduce restorative justice on a large scale and appear to be in favour of diverting young people away from formal youth justice intervention.

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Safer Communities, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-8043

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Article
Publication date: 8 July 2014

Stephen Case

The paper presents and discusses the findings of a Strategic Insight Programme placement that explored the Youth Justice Board for Wales (YJB Cymru), a division of the YJB…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper presents and discusses the findings of a Strategic Insight Programme placement that explored the Youth Justice Board for Wales (YJB Cymru), a division of the YJB for England and Wales since the abolition of the regional structure in April 2012. The focus of the placement was on exploring the role of YJB Cymru in the development of youth justice policy and practice in the unique, partially devolved context of Wales. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was conducted over a six-month period from February to July 2013. A multiple methods design was adopted, consisting of semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders (YJB Cymru staff, Welsh Government staff and Youth Offending Team staff), observations of policy and practice mechanisms (YJB Cymru meetings, YOT projects) and documentary analysis of YJB Cymru publications.

Findings

Thematic analyses demonstrated that YJB Cymru has an increasingly important role in policy and practice development structures and processes in England and Wales more broadly (e.g. within the YJB for England and Wales) and in the Welsh national context specifically. YJB Cymru fulfills a role of dual influence – working both with government (UK and Welsh) and youth justice practitioners (mainly YOT managers and staff) to mediate and manage youth justice tensions in the partially devolved Welsh policy context through relationships of reflective and critical engagement.

Originality/value

This study draws inspiration from the groundbreaking research of Souhami (2011) and builds on those findings to provide a unique insight into the organisation and role YJB Cymru in the complex and dynamic context of youth justice in Wales.

Details

Safer Communities, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-8043

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Book part
Publication date: 26 August 2014

C. Michael Nelson

The school-to-prison pipeline is a term used to describe the pathway traveled by students from public schools to incarceration in secure juvenile detention and…

Abstract

The school-to-prison pipeline is a term used to describe the pathway traveled by students from public schools to incarceration in secure juvenile detention and correctional programs. It begins with students who are marginalized by the education system because of their academic and behavioral issues. The pipeline leads from school failure and disciplinary exclusion to involvement with the juvenile justice system. Youth who are ethnic minorities (especially those who are African-American or Hispanic) as well as those with educational disabilities (especially those with learning and behavioral disorders) are significantly overrepresented in data sets representing key points along the pipeline (e.g., students with poor academic achievement, high rates of suspension, expulsion, and dropout) as well as their high rates of incarceration. From his personal perspective and experience with the juvenile justice system, the author attempts to explicate the pipeline, and to describe efforts to impact it positively.

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Special Education Past, Present, and Future: Perspectives from the Field
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-835-8

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Article
Publication date: 15 July 2011

Anna Souhami

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) was established in 1998 as a central part of the Labour government's radical programme of youth justice reform. Yet while it has had a…

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545

Abstract

Purpose

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) was established in 1998 as a central part of the Labour government's radical programme of youth justice reform. Yet while it has had a central role in directing the culture, organisation and activities of youth justice in England and Wales, it is poorly understood. As its future hangs in the balance, this paper seeks to draw on a unique empirical study of the operation of the YJB to explore what it is, what it does and why it is so difficult to describe.

Design/methodology/approach

The research involved 18 months' ethnographic fieldwork. For one calendar year (2006‐2007), research focused on the internal operation of the YJB including observations of meetings, depth interviews and documentary analysis. A second strand of research explored the regional operation of the YJB. This involved observations of regional monitors and assessment processes and interviews and focus groups with Youth Offending Teams staff.

Findings

The research shows that the YJB is an inherently ambiguous organisation. This ambiguity has made it simultaneously highly insecure and extremely productive, enabling it to extend its influence and activities beyond those initially envisaged in New Labour's reforms. However, the difficulty in defining the YJB also suggests the full effect of its activities will only become clear once it has gone.

Originality/value

While there has been much academic interest in the YJB, this research is the only empirical study of it. It, therefore gives a unique insight into the organisation and culture of the English and Welsh youth justice system.

Details

Safer Communities, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-8043

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Article
Publication date: 17 June 2011

Susan McVie

Widespread criticism of the youth justice system in England and Wales has resulted in calls for it to adopt a restorative paradigm. This paper seeks to review the…

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1049

Abstract

Purpose

Widespread criticism of the youth justice system in England and Wales has resulted in calls for it to adopt a restorative paradigm. This paper seeks to review the historical development of youth justice in neighbouring Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Design/methodology/approach

The historical development of youth justice in Scotland and Northern Ireland is reviewed with a view to learning lessons from these two very different models, compared to the current model in England and Wales.

Findings

It is argued that those tasked with reforming the system in England and Wales must understand the underlying political, cultural and social contexts in which alternative models have developed and satisfactorily resolve the conflicting needs and rights of the offender versus those of the victim, community and wider public.

Originality/value

Transfer of policy and practice from other jurisdictions requires careful consideration of their political, cultural and social contexts but England and Wales may benefit greatly from adopting restorative practices similar to those in Northern Ireland. However, successful implementation will depend on political will and institutional infrastructure.

Details

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-6660

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Book part
Publication date: 7 October 2019

Charlotte McPherson

Young people are widely known to have poorer outcomes, social status and political representation than older adults. These disadvantages, which have come to be largely…

Abstract

Young people are widely known to have poorer outcomes, social status and political representation than older adults. These disadvantages, which have come to be largely normalized in the contemporary context, can be further compounded by other factors, however, and are particularly amplified by coming from a lower social class background. An additional challenge for young people is associated with place, with youth who live in more remote and less urban areas at a higher risk of being socially excluded (Alston & Kent, 2009; Shucksmith, 2004) and/or to face complex and multiple barriers to employment and education than their urban-dwelling peers (Cartmel & Furlong, 2000). Drawing upon interviews and focus groups in a qualitative project with 16 young people and five practitioners, and using Nancy Fraser’s tripartite theory of social justice, this paper highlights the various and interlocking disadvantages experienced by working-class young people moving into and through adulthood in Clackmannanshire, mainland Scotland’s smallest council area.

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Human Rights for Children and Youth
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-047-0

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2008

Natalie Kroovand Hipple and Edmund F. McGarrell

The purpose of this paper is to compare family group conferences (FGCs) facilitated by police officers with those facilitated by a civilian along several dimensions…

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1253

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare family group conferences (FGCs) facilitated by police officers with those facilitated by a civilian along several dimensions including process, reparation agreements, recidivism, and time until failure.

Design/methodology/approach

Using observational data and juvenile histories of offending from the Indianapolis Restorative Justice Project, the authors attempted to answer four research questions: Are family group conferences facilitated by police officers procedurally different from family group conferences facilitated by civilians?; Are reparation agreements resulting from police‐officer‐facilitated conferences different from reparation agreements resulting from civilian‐facilitated conferences?; Did youths who participated in police‐facilitated conferences recidivate at different rates compared with youths who participated in civilian‐facilitated conferences?; Did youths who participated in police‐facilitated conferences have a longer time to failure than youths who participated in civilian‐facilitated conferences?

Findings

Generally, there appeared to be no major differences between conferences facilitated by civilians as opposed to police officers. Observations indicated that police officers seemed to lecture offenders more during the FGC and made more suggestions as to what should be in the reparation agreement. Youths who attended police‐officer‐facilitated conferences “survived” somewhat longer before re‐offending than youths who attended civilian‐facilitated conferences, although these differences were not statistically significant.

Research limitations/implications

While subjects in the Indianapolis experiment were randomly assigned to family group conferences or a “control group” diversion program, subjects were not randomly assigned to conferences according to facilitator type. This limits the generalizability of the findings.

Practical implications

The study suggests tjat both police officers and civilians are capable of facilitating FGCs, consistent with restorative justice principles. For police departments interested in responding proactively to early juvenile offending and in strengthening ties with the community, FGCs provide an opportunity through police officer training and involvement as conference facilitators. In contrast, in communities where the police may be disinclined to commit officers to the role of facilitator, the findings suggest that civilian facilitators can also effectively coordinate FGCs.

Originality/value

The study adds to the restorative justice literature by further examining conference processes and outcomes. Additionally, it offers the first empirical examination of some of the concerns that have been raised about police‐ as opposed to civilian‐facilitated conferences. The finding that there were few differences between police‐ and civilian‐run conferences suggests that the police are at least as capable as civilians in facilitating FGCs. This suggests that FGCs could be implemented as part of a community policing initiative utilizing police officers as facilitators. Similarly, FGCs could be implemented as part of a community justice initiative utilizing civilians as facilitators. The key to successful outcomes is likely to be driven by fidelity to theoretical principles as opposed to the formal role of the facilitator.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 26 July 2011

Philip Whitehead and Raymond Arthur

The youth justice system in England and Wales has been subjected to numerous transformations since 1997 under New Labour governments. Most approaches to the field during…

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1462

Abstract

Purpose

The youth justice system in England and Wales has been subjected to numerous transformations since 1997 under New Labour governments. Most approaches to the field during the period under review address the fine details of what is a politically and organisationally modernised domain. Even though this paper steps inside the system to observe some of its transformative developments, it aims to begin at the other end which enables a more rounded sociological approach to youth justice under New Labour to emerge which facilitates the production of a more detailed evaluation and understanding of the field.

Design/methodology/approach

This other‐end approach draws upon two main bodies of sociological theory, namely, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim, which are put to work to enrich the analysis. It should be made clear that the main concern is not to produce a blueprint for a new youth justice system, but rather to draw attention to some exploratory and explanatory tools to evaluate the period under New Labour from 1997 to 2010.

Findings

Since 1997, the focus of the youth justice system has been placed upon individual and family responsibility, tougher on crime than its causes, and the creation of more efficient systems management. Furthermore, youth and criminal justice has been preoccupied with risk assessment and prediction. This has resulted in a system that is ambiguous in terms of what it is trying to achieve.

Originality/value

The main concern is not to sketch a blueprint for the future, but rather to analyse features of youth justice to which these theoretical and sociological traditions of Weber and Durkheim are explored in order to explain the complex dynamics of youth justice make a substantive contribution by enlarging our critical understanding.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 31 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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