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Policy documents

This page contains a number of key policy documents relating to behaviour and engagement in learning for young people within the criminal justice system as well as an analysis of the impact of New Labour's youth justice reforms and position papers on policy reform.


YJB (2009) Youth Justice: The Scaled Approach

Youth Justice: The Scaled Approach is a major project that will bring about a change in practice for youth justice services.
The objectives are:

  • to develop a tiered approach to interventions in order to reduce likelihood of reoffending and risk of serious harm and that supports the introduction of a new sentencing framework
  • to ensure a coherent relationship between National Standards for Youth Justice Services, Key Elements of Effective Practice and the new Case Management Guidance
  • to support case management as an end-to-end process, and improve practice in assessment completion, pre-sentence report (PSR) writing and intervention planning.

It is intended that the Scaled Approach will be implemented alongside the Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) in autumn 2009.


Solomon E and Garside R (May 2008) Ten years of Labour's youth justice reforms: an independent audit Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

This report makes an independent assessment of the government's youth justice reforms. Ten years on from the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act and the creation of youth offending teams and the Youth Justice Board, it considers the impact of the radical restructuring. Success, it argues, has been far more mixed and ambiguous than the government often claims.


Allen R (2006) From punishment to problem solving. A new approach to children in trouble Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

Paper calling for policy changes in relation to youth justice, including:

  • greater prevention, with an emphasis on addressing the educational and mental health difficulties underlying much offending behaviour;
  • limits on the way we criminalise young people and a more appropriate system of prosecution and courts;
  • a wider range of community-based and residential provision for the most challenging young people and a phasing out of prison custody;
  • new organisational arrangements, with the Children's Department in the Department for Education and Skills in the lead.


Davies Z and McMahon W (Eds) (2007) Debating youth justice: From punishment to problem solving Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

This is an edited compilation of responses to Rob Allen's original paper
As well as Rob Allen's initial report there are contributions from Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of the Children's Society, Professor Phil Scraton of Queen's University Belfast, Professor Barry Goldson of Liverpool University, Professor John Muncie of the Open University, Ray Arthur of the University of Teeside and Rebecca Palmer of the Greater London Authority. International experts include Dr Jeffrey Butts from the University of Chicago and Professor Josine Junger-Tas at the University of Lausanne. A range of policy proposals are set out by the different authors.


NOMS (2005) The National Reducing Re-offending Delivery Plan

This delivery plan builds on the National Reducing Re-offending Action Plan published in July 2004 which set out the Government's plans to reduce reoffending, based on the factors identified in the Social Exclusion Unit's report 'Reducing Re-offending by Ex-prisoners' published in 2002.               

DCSF (2008) Back on Track

The White Paper published on 20 May 2008 sets out the new strategy for transforming the quality of alternative educational provision for the 135,000 young people a year who are unable to attend mainstream or special schools for whatever reason, including those at risk of exclusion. The document emphasises the key role for schools in identifying children with challenging behaviour early on, and being able to access the right support before they reach the point of permanent exclusion. As part of this, schools should be able to make more use of alternative provision as a preventative early intervention. See also the next steps document published after consultation. It is available here.


DCSF (2007) The Children's Plan: Building Brighter Futures

The Children's Plan sets out government plans for the next ten years. It is based on five principles:

  • government does not bring up children - parents do - so government needs to do more to back parents and families;
  • all children have the potential to succeed and should go as far as their talents can take them;
  • children and young people need to enjoy their childhood as well as grow up prepared for adult life;
  • services need to be shaped by and responsive to children, young people and families, not designed around professional boundaries; and
  • it is always better to prevent failure than tackle a crisis later.
  • A progress report The Children's Plan: One Year On can be found here.


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