Public concern about youth crime and antisocial behaviour has mounted in England and Wales for many years, even though the actual level of crime has continuously fallen since 1994. This rising anxiety is increased by a political arms race in which the parties compete to forge new weapons in a war against crime. New legislation has poured out of successive administrations at an ever-increasing pace, with young people often the target. Yet steeply rising expenditure on youth justice has yielded poor returns. The system tends to prosecute the same large numbers of young offenders even when crime is falling. It targets the same - mostly disadvantaged - young people again and again. It fails on the whole to change their behaviour for the better, without being effective, either, in making them face up to the consequences of what they have done. Meanwhile too little attention is given to preventing the development of antisocial behaviour in children and young people as they grow up.
The time has come for a fresh start in the way we respond to youth crime. The Report of the Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Antisocial Behaviour sets out a blueprint for reform based on a clear set of principles. This book, which accompanies that Report, establishes the framework of evidence and detailed analysis that supports the Commission's proposals. Leading authorities in the field, from a variety of disciplines, review youth crime and responses to it, focusing on England and Wales, but making comparisons also with models in other parts of the world, such as Canada.
The book includes detailed and authoritative reviews of the research evidence on youth transitions, time trends in youth crime, the evolution of the youth justice system, responses to antisocial behaviour, causes of antisocial behaviour, change in the family, successful interventions to prevent the development of offending, contrasting models of youth justice, the system in Canada, and public opinion and the politics of crime. It will be read by practitioners, policy makers, scholars, students, and others with an interest in addressing one of today's most intractable social problems.
'This volume constitutes a source of reference material on a wide range of concerns about the youth justice system. It makes a powerful case for the need for reform and aims to provide readers with the evidence and analysis to inform the design of a new, more just and constructive system of youth justice, particularly in England and Wales.'
'...this book is wide ranging, and likely to be of interest to many different readers as a source of debate and as a signpost to a wealth of research and theory. It reinforces the message that we all have much to learn from experiences outside our own national boundaries.'
-Bernadette Wilkinson, KWP, Independent Trainer and Consultant in Criminal Justice, in EuroVista Journal vol 2 issue 1 2012