Towards a popular, preventative youth justice system


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In 1998 Labour made significant reforms to the youth justice system. A decade later these have failed to reduce offending. This report proposes ways in which the youth justice system could reduce offending, as well as ways of creating public confidence in the system. Contents include: why we need a new approach to youth justice; a tale of two targets - why a new approach is needed; objectives, barriers to, and new principles of youth justice; can a new direction be preventative?; will the public support popular preventionism? The report concludes that youth justice should be reshaped so that it: operates at more levels in society; relies more on prevention and less on coercion; avoids young people being drawn in to the formal criminal courts system; is more trusted by the public. There are a number of specific recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the existing youth courts.

Joe Farrington-Douglas
Lucia Durante
Institute for Public Policy Research