Wasik, M and Brammer, AK (2016) ‘The changing face of youth justice’. In: Critical Issues in Social Work Law. Macmillan Education UK, 100 - 116 (176). ISBN 9781137541505

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In this chapter we are concerned with the operation of the criminal justice system as it applies to defendants under 18 years of age. This group includes children (10–13) and young persons (14–17), collectively referred to as ‘juveniles’ and, in this context, ‘young offenders’. While youth justice is certainly part of the wider criminal justice system, it is a highly distinctive area in which many of the rules, guidelines and conventions are different from those which apply to young adult (18–20) and adult (21 and over) defendants. This reflects a long-standing policy choice to deal with young offenders separately from their older counterparts as far as possible. As we will see, the reality of criminal justice is that few youngsters who break the law are prosecuted and taken to court. The great majority are dealt with more informally, through youth cautioning, the latest form of diversionary measure designed to avoid the stigma and labelling associated with bringing young defendants before the courts. Youth is an important factor in deciding criminal justice outcomes because offending may, in large part, reflect immaturity and inexperience. Young offenders often suffer from a range of social disadvantage and difficulty. It is important to remember that the majority of youngsters ‘grow out of crime’ (Rutherford, 1986), and that while criminal justice intervention may sometimes help to reinforce social boundaries, provide support and assist in promoting desistence from crime, it may also have the unintended effect of reinforcing delinquency. Minor criminality in early years may be a natural testing of the rules rather than evidence of a settled pattern of antisocial activity (see further Pickford and Dugmore, 2012: 61–86).

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: The final version of this article/chapter and all relevant information regarding copyrights and more, can be found in the relevant book, or online at; https://www.macmillanihe.com/page/detail/Critical-Issues-in-Social-Work-Law/?K=9781137541505 https://www.macmillanexplorers.com/the-changing-face-of-youth-justice/15874168
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales
K Law > KD England and Wales > KDC Scotland
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2020 14:12
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2020 14:12
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/8825

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