Chair: Lesley McAra
The Politics of Youth Justice
Author: Duenkel Frieder, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald
Title: Young Adult Offenders and Youth Justice Policy
Young adult offenders (i. e. the age group of over 18-years-old offenders up to the age of 21 or even beyond) increasingly have become an issue of juvenile justice policy. The Council of Europe in its recommendations of 2003 (“New ways of dealing with juvenile delinquency …”) and 2008 (European Rules for Juveniles Subject to Sanctions or Measures) has emphasized that young adult offenders (18-21) could or better should be regarded as juveniles and sentenced accordingly. Germany already in 1953 has included young adults into the jurisdiction of youth courts. Recently Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Austria followed this line. New evidence of developmental psychology and of neuro-scientific research on brain maturation has influenced the Netherlands’ reform of 2014, to enlarge the scope of juvenile justice up to the age of 23. Recently several US-states try to raise the upper limit of juvenile justice to 24 or 25 years of age and to restrict or even abolish waiver-procedures of bringing serious juvenile offenders to adult courts (Massachusetts, New York etc.). The case of young adults is one of the few where new empirical evidence seems to be of influence in youth policy reform debates. The paper will summarize recent youth policy developments and present the background for juvenile justice reforms, which can be characterized as a “reinvention” of the classic educational and rehabilitative approach.
Keywords: Youth justice reform, young adult offenders, age range of juvenile justice systems, comparative juvenile justice
Author: McAra Lesley, University of Edinburgh
Title: Politics, Poverty and Youth Justice
This paper will explore the ways in which poverty underscores the practices of youth justice institutions and the impact which it has on the lives of young people who come into conflict with the law. Bringing together research on the aetiology of crime and the sociology of punishment, it will explore why poverty matters for criminological theorising, methodological development and transformative practice. If youth justice systems play a key role in the reproduction of poverty and social marginalisation, what implications does this have for democratic systems of governance and the legitimacy of the conduits through which the power to punish is deployed? How do structural categories, such as poverty, flow into epistemological framings and the processes through which systems of knowledge gain disciplinary traction? And what modes of engagement do criminological scholars need to evolve to impact on the structural entrenchment of poverty as a reproductive dimension of capitalism?
Keywords: Youth crime, poverty, politics, capitalism, youth justice
Author: Pleysier (1) Stefaan, Faculty of Law, KU Leuven
(2) Johan Put, Faculty of Law, KU Leuven
Title: On the Verge of a New Flemish Juvenile Justice System: Observations on the Construction of a New Youth Law
In 2014 a sixth state reform in Belgium decided on further devolution of juvenile justice, transferring legislation from a federal competence to the level of the communities. After a previous state reform and devolution of legislation on youth care and the execution of interventions for minors in both youth care and juvenile justice, the Flemish community is now also responsible for drafting its own legislation (a decree) on dealing with youth delinquency. The Flemish government and its minister of welfare, public health and family, has set out a preliminary trajectory to create a foundation for that new juvenile justice system and legislation. In the preliminary phase preceding the construction of a new youth law, a scientific overview on youth delinquency and juvenile justice models was written out, and thematic working groups with academics, practitioners and policymakers were organized. In recent months, the government wrote draft versions of the new decree which, in the months to come, will be discussed, and in the end voted, in the Flemish parliament. The authors of this paper were close observers of this process. This paper aims at analysing and reflecting on this process, and will pay specific attention to (1) the relation between this new juvenile justice decree and the existing youth care legislation and system, and to (2) the extent to which children’s rights and research on youth delinquency and juvenile justice has been accounted for.
Keywords: Belgium, youth delinquency, children's rights, youth crime, legal change
Author: Carr Nicola, University of Nottingham
Clare Dwyer ( Queen's University Belfast), Patricia Gray ( University of Plymouth), Siobhan McAlister ( Queen's University Belfast) and Roger Smith (Durham University ).
Title: Delusions of Difference: Devolved Youth Justice?
This paper compares and contrasts how the politics and shape of government are negotiated in the four jurisdictions in the UK and how these are manifested differentially in youth justice . Building on previous work by Muncie (2011) and McAra (2017) that interrogates the claims of difference in youth justice between the jurisdictions, we map key changes over the last decade in policy and practice. We will focus particularly on the politics of austerity, neo-liberalism, state reshaping and devolved nation state-building projects. We suggest that this exploration will illuminate broader relationships between situated practices, youth penality and the penal state. We argue that broadening the focus towards youth penality and the penal state enables us to more fully reflect on the manner in which young people are regulated, punished and reformed, both within the youth justice system and broader regimes of governance.
Keywords: Youth justice, devolution, youth crime