the history of youth justice continued

the history of youth justice continued - Youth Justice in...

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Youth Justice in the Late 20 th Century Alongside and implicit in the development of policy around young offenders was a search for explanations of offending. Some Victorians had ascribed it to moral degeneracy, whilst later explanations related to leisure time and disposable income. Mannheim’s ‘Social Aspects of Crime Between the Wars’ came to no firm conclusions, but did note that one-third of the sample of Borstal Boys investigated were from single parent families, almost all had only a very basic education and all were found to be ‘lacking ambition’. At the same time, these factors were acknowledged as insufficient as an explanation (cited in Briggs et al. 1996, p. 182). In the immediate post-war period and into the 1950’s there was a considerable and sustained increase in the offending rates of both adults and young people. Initially this was put down to a disruption in parental discipline caused by the war, but as time went on, this no longer held any credibility as an explanation and attention was directed at the increasing amount of leisure time and disposable income, as well as ‘general irresponsibility’ of some young people, thus replicating exactly concerns from 100 years before (p. 182). In terms of policy, the 1948 Criminal Justice Act consolidated pre-war reforms and continued the move away from more harsh punishments. Penal servitude and flogging were finally removed from the statute book for adults, whilst Attendance Centres were introduced as an alternative to custody for adults, requiring attendance and participation in ‘worthwhile activities’ for a set number of hours per week. For young offenders, the introduction of the Detention Centre (DC) saw a move to a more justice-based provision for less serious offenders who were seen as deserving of custody, but for a shorter and more determinate period than that provided via Borstals. The discourse continued to be about reformist intentions, but it was also the case that the physical environment, at least for adults remained harsh, with most prisons built in Victorian times and very basic in their physical environment. At the same time, the prison population was expanding fast, with 22,000 prisoners in 1957, compared to around 10,000 before the war (pp. 242-243). Similarly, there also emerged a different approach to youth crime and a move away from a presumption of avoiding prosecution which had tended to be prevalent before the Second World War. This trend began soon after the War and continued until after the Criminal Justice Act 1982 and it witnessed the proportion of young people receiving non-custodial sentences dropping from around 50% in the 1930’s to less than 15% by the late 1970’s (Pearson 1983, p. 47). The use of Borstals continued to grow, as did numbers at Approved Schools. Established in 1933 and run by local authorities, they were based on Victorian reformatories and took young offenders and ‘out of control’ youngsters who were nevertheless not seen as sufficiently serious in
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This note was uploaded on 02/25/2012 for the course CJ 3323 taught by Professor Mijares during the Fall '10 term at Texas State.

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the history of youth justice continued - Youth Justice in...

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