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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Towards a Popular, Preventative Youth Justice System

In 1998 Labour made significant reforms to the youth justice system. A decade later, these have yet to deliver a system which puts crime reduction at its heart. This failure to reduce offending derives at least partly from a determination to bring more offences to justice. This in turn seems to be rooted in the belief, widespread among the public, that the answer is a more punitive approach to offending. Quite simply, this has not worked and the current youth justice system does not reduce offending. This report proposes ways in which it could, as well as ways of creating public confidence in the system. It includes proposals for early intervention for preventative purposes, as well as for the extension of the system to some of those in the 18-21 age group.

In 1998 Labour made significant reforms to the youth justice system. A decade later, these have yet to deliver a system which puts crime reduction at its heart. This failure to reduce offending derives at least partly from a determination to bring more offences to justice. This in turn seems to be rooted in the belief, widespread among the public, that the answer is a more punitive approach to offending.

Quite simply, this has not worked and the current youth justice system does not reduce offending. This report proposes ways in which it could, as well as ways of creating public confidence in the system. It includes proposals for early intervention for preventative purposes, as well as for the extension of the system to some of those in the 18-21 age group.