Youth Justice: Theory, Policy + Practice

Institute of Applied Social Studies, School of Social Policy

College of Social Sciences


Code 21859

Level of study Masters Level

Credit value 20

Semester 0

Module description

This module will adopt a critical perspective in exploring current policy and practice in relation to youth crime prevention and intervention. It will begin with an exploration of the varied, contested and changing definitions and conceptualisations of childhood and youth, and consider their impact on policy and service provision. We will then examine a variety of criminological theories and explanations for offending amongst young people, and apply these in critically analysing a range of statistics and policy discourse to question the extent to which offending by young people should be a policy priority. Finally the module will question how (and indeed if) `youth crime¿ should be responded to, with reference to the concept of the criminal career. We will explore the range of practice responses to the prevention of offending and re-offending, ranging from `radical non-intervention¿, to emerging strength-based approaches to desistance, to risk-based actuarialism, and consider the implications of this in terms of methods used and services offered in engaging and working with young people. In particular, this will include a critical analysis of the `what works¿ agenda and of the application of the Youth Justice Board¿s `Principles of Effective Practice¿.