Youth Justice is a key area of the current government's criminal justice policy in England and Wales. It has been the subject of an inordinate amount of recent legislation seeking to enhance the criminal courts' powers to punish and prevent offending and re-offending by young people. This legislation attempts to prevent offending through criminal justice measures and there is little attempt to use non-criminal or civil law procedures to achieve the same result. This book seeks to challenge that focus and to question why delinquency in young people has been so firmly criminalized in this jurisdiction. The book addresses the consequences of criminalization in terms of the effectiveness of the measures used as well as the implications for the social construction of youth and childhood and our attitudes towards the young. Criminalization of young people's behaviour results in them being labeled as criminal, losing identity as an individual, losing their "childhood" through the process of taking adult responsibility for their actions and, in policy terms, becoming viewed as a crime problem rather than as a product of failing social policy regarding employment, education and youth culture. At a society level it is contended that the identification of young people with criminal activity and the negative public image that results creates a culture of fear and distrust which may in turn create further possibilities for criminalization of their behaviour. A comparative perspective in this work examines welfare-based responses to youth crime in other European jurisdictions and questions whether the criminal justice process is an appropriate context in which to deal with young people's problematic behaviour.
...a very well-written and historically comprehensive book...The major strength of this book is that it can serve as a sourcebook for anyone interested in the historical evolution of public and private responses to adolescent delinquent and/or violent behaviour in the United Kingdom. Gordon A. Crews International Criminal Justice Review Vol 17, No. 3, Sept 2007 This is a powerful and ambitious book, covering a broad and complicated range of policy, legislation, rhetoric and hard-nosed reality. It could almost be described as a history of youth crime in the twentieth century,...it offers a rational, justifiable and challenging approach to the problems faced by young people and politicians alike. Monica Barry British Journal of Criminology Vol. 47, No. 3, May 2007 Devils and Angels is impressive in its endeavour to weave a critical narrative linking youth justice law and policy with criminological research on youth and crime. Fionda, drawing on a wide range of scholarship, provides a strong critique of current law and policy in relation to youth justice in England and Wales. Jeremy Roche International Journal of Law in Context Volume 3/1 - 2007 ...an eurudite, wide ranging, well researched and valuable exploration of developments in youth justice policy and practice...It provides an important resource for students , acedemics, policy makers and practitioners.It will be of interest to anyone with an interest in the development and operation of the youth justice system or who is concerned with the welfare of children and young people. I would expect to see this book cited as a key text for students of the youth justice system. But be warned it does not make comfortable reading. Margaret Melrose Social Policy 36/3 2007 ...a welcome addition to the literature. Julia Fionda's book will make a valuable contribution to any youth justice library and it will certainly appeal to undergraduate students and/or practitioners seeking an accessible critical overview of theory, law, policy and practice. Professor Barry Goldson Youth Justice, Vol 7, No 1 April 2007 Devils and Angels is a considerable achievement and a valuable book. Fionda provides a well-written, comprehensive exploration of decades of often-schizoid youth crime policy in Britain, drawing as well upon international comparisons. It should prove a vital text for those interested in the evolution of political and policy responses to youth 'crime'. British Society of Criminology Newsletter David A. Green 2006 The strength of this book is its author's ability to synthesise the provisions of the law relating to youth justice with, on the one hand, the relevant policy background and, on the other, academic criminological thinking. ...an excellent overview of its subject. Roger Smith, Director of JUSTICE Legal Studies, Vol 26, no 3 August 06