Youth justice back at the crossroads

Youth justice back at the crossroads


Document Information:
Title: Youth justice back at the crossroads
Author(s): Sean Creaney, (Lecturer in Childhood Studies, based at School of Education and Applied Social Sciences, Stockport College, Stockport, UK), Roger Smith, (Professor of Social Work, based at School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University, Durham, UK)
Citation: Sean Creaney, Roger Smith, (2014) “Youth justice back at the crossroads”, Safer Communities, Vol. 13 Iss: 2, pp.83 – 87
Keywords: Children’s rightsCriminalizationDiversionParticipatory approachesPayment by ResultsYoung peopleYouth justiceYouth offending
Article type: General review
DOI: 10.1108/SC-01-2014-0002 (Permanent URL)
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:  

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a reflection on the current trajectory of youth justice policy. The paper offers fresh insight into the changing face of youth justice.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on a range of sources, including published journal articles and statistical evidence. In so doing it critically reviews relevant academic literature.

Findings – Three critical insights arise from the review. First, there are promising approaches emerging in youth justice organised around the principle of avoiding formal processing of young people where possible; such as, for example, Triage, the Youth Restorative Disposal, Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion schemes, the Swansea Bureau and the Durham Pre-Reprimand Disposal. Thus there is evidence of an emerging consensus, across the domains of policy, practice and legislation which seem to endorse the idea of community-based minimum intervention, supported by principles of offender rehabilitation and restoration. Second, whilst they have not intruded to any great extent in the sphere of youth justice so far, there is no doubt that the government is keen to extend the remit of Payment by Results schemes. Perhaps most concerning is the issue with private sector organisations engaging in “gaming activities” where maximising profit becomes the intention over enhancing the well-being of the young person. Third, it is argued that in order to reconcile the lack of user-led engagement of offenders, and experiences of disempowerment, the priority should be, throughout the Youth Justice System, to involve young people in assessment and decision-making processes.

Research limitations/implications – As an exploratory paper, it does not set out to provide a blueprint on “how” the issues outlined should be resolved. Rather, it provides a basis for further discussion, and highlights some examples of promising practice, particularly around the issues of offender engagement, participation and rights compliance. This is particularly important considering that the UK government will report to the United Nations this year (2014) on its progress in implementing and complying with the children’s right agenda.

Practical implications – The paper highlights the issues and ambiguities facing practitioners working within a payment by results framework which is contextualised by what appears to be a more liberal tone in public policy. It also explores the challenges delivering participatory approaches.

Originality/value – The paper investigates a neglected area in youth justice, namely that of participatory approaches. It argues that, although there are resource pressures and time constraints, service user participatory techniques should be encouraged, particularly as they promote positive engagement and motivation, principally by offering a sense of control over choice.

Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Creaney. No Comments

Book Review: Assessment in Youth Justice 

 

Please click on this link (you will need to log in)

http://yjj.sagepub.com/content/12/3/271.full.pdf+html

Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Creaney. No Comments

SEAN CREANEY 4 October 2012

Youth justice policy in England is focused on risk, leading young people to be labelled as ‘pre-criminals’ and intervention undertaken before they have broken the law. Is this a kafkaesque nightmare, or a common sense approach to stopping crime before it occurs?

The film Minority Report (2002) tells the story of a ‘pre-crime unit’ who predict the criminals of the future, and before they commit the crime punish them. Law enforcement officials intervene and prevent the crime from taking place. The ‘potential offender’ is then punished for the act they were going to commit.

Why do I bring this up? Until quite recently, I worked for a North West Youth Offending Service where I had responsibility for co-ordinating interventions for young people who were identified to be on the cusp of engaging in criminal activity. I would conduct assessments to predict the likelihood of a young person engaging in crime. This is no simple task.

For example, I once worked with a young person who was referred by the local authority. Let’s call him Dan. I assessed Dan’s risk of re-offending by using the ONSET assessment tool (designed to predict the likelihood in ‘at risk’ youth committing crime). This tool purports to be holistic and covers areas such as living arrangements, education, and substance use. On completion of each section you are required to judge whether the issues identified are associated with the young person’s offending: 0 ‘not associated’ 4 ‘very strongly associated’. The young person’s ONSET score that will determine how often they are seen and how much intervention they receive.

I found it difficult to judge whether the issues identified were associated with Dan’s offending behaviour. This resulted in Dan being ‘over assessed’ and subjected to rather intrusive forms of intervention. I felt Dan really needed help with education and health-related matters, not specifically crime-related issues. Like many of the young people I worked with, I felt Dan had been let down by traditional social-welfare services, such as youth services, and was coming to the attention of the police and the Youth Offending Team as a result of this.

Moreover, the dominant risk-led approach in youth justice has been described as “spurious logic of prediction”, where it is like flipping a coin: ‘heads they offend, tails they don’t’.

Despite the embedded belief amongst practitioners that you can ‘effectively’ predict the young person who is going to engage in criminal activity, practitioners are inevitably liable to ‘get it wrong’ resulting in young people unfairly stigmatised and labelled.

Providing intensive forms of early intervention to young people who do not require it can be counter-productive in terms of developing self-esteem and confidence. For example, I worked with a number of young people on group-work interventions, conflict resolution and anger management. On many occasions, young people felt that the focus was on negative aspects of their lives and tended to damage confidence. Indeed, these approaches generally seem to be primarily concerned with highlighting a young person’s failures, drawn from a deficit model of negativity, rather than developing a young person’s strengths.

Surveillance, control and regulation

Historically (and arguably still today), youth justice policy-makers and practitioners have tended to weigh up treating the young offender through help and support (welfare/rehabilitation) or inflicting punishment in proportion to the crime (justice). Rather than deciding the correct approach to take, however, youth justice policy and practice, since New Labour in 1997, has shifted its emphasis towards risk, where the level of intervention is determined by the threat the young person presents.

Back to Minority Report logic:  ‘We’re taking in individuals who have broken no law. But they surely will’. Arguably, this embraces the principles of surveillance, control and regulation. This is evident for example, with the introduction of Youth Inclusion and Support Panels (YISPs).


The “Pre-crime Division” in Minority Report

YISPs are a pre-crime intervention. They ‘target’, and intervene where young people are thought likely to commit crime. YISPs are benevolently constructed measures that provide help and support to young people, normally between the ages of 8-17 who may be referred via education, health or social care routes. This type of support is determined by the risk a young person presents.

It is important to understand, however, that these young people have not committed any criminal offences and it is ethically concerning to note that terms such as “pre-criminal” and “crime-prone” are being used to describe them. This has resulted in young people receiving quite intrusive forms of intervention.

A New Approach? 

In 1997 New Labour swept to power and their policy was to increase expenditure in health, education and welfare provision. However since the inception of the Coalition government in 2010 public spending has been controlled.  Indeed, reductions in public spending and withdrawal of mainstream social-welfare services responsible for addressing poverty, health and social inequalities, has contributed to the increase in youth warranting a criminal/youth justice measure. Young people are being drawn into crime-prevention programmes as a direct result of cut backs across the social-welfare services.

These types of measures, rather than preventing crime, have the potential to increase the likelihood in a young person engaging a further criminal activity and/or developing further problems (See Creaney 2012a, 2012b).

Due to the emphasis on accepting blame and taking responsibility for their actions, young people embrace the concept of the offender, and view themselves in this negative way.

As an alternative, I would advocate a social-justice approach where young people are treated fairly and not judged, labelled or stigmatised. Rather than criminalising young people for committing minor crimes or displaying criminal tendencies and introducing them into a harmful system, informal community-based services seem much more promising. These approaches tailor interventions to the child’s specific individual needs and abilities rather than their deficits or risky behaviours. For example the Community Space Challenge, led by charity Catch22, operates in 70 of the most deprived areas in England. The programme works with young people who are ‘at risk’ of achieving poor outcomes.  Rather than focusing on negative aspects of young people’s lives, however, a welfare approach is advocated. The approach is concerned with building strengths and aspirations. Frances Done (Chair of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales) recently praised this project for its success in improving the lives of many disadvantaged young people.

The Minority Report style of predicting future offending behaviour seems set to continue as it is apparently simplistic and common sense. Intervening early in a young person’s life can prevent problems from escalating and can be cost-effective. But treating young people as “crime-prone” and “pre-criminal” ignores the principle at the heart of our justice system: innocent until proven guilty.


A strengths-led approach to youth justice, pic courtesy of Catch22


References

A version of this article has been published by Crime Talk.

See also Creaney, S. (2012a) Targeting, Labelling and Stigma: Challenging the Criminalsiation of Children and Young People,Criminal Justice Matters, Vol. 89, 1, pp. 16-17.  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09627251.2012.721967

See also Creaney, S. (2012b),”Risk, prevention and early intervention: youth justice responses to girls”, Safer Communities, Vol. 11, 2, pp. 111–20.http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=17026752

http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/sean-creaney/predicting-criminality-youth-justice-and-early-intervention

 

Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Creaney. No Comments

May axes the ‘badge of honour’ Asbo in shake-up of laws

By JAMES SLACK, HOME AFFAIRS EDITOR

Labour’s Asbo policy  was finally axed yesterday after thugs racked up an astonishing 52,000 breaches in a decade.

Home Secretary Theresa May lit a bonfire of the last government’s anti-social behaviour laws, replacing 19 powers with only six.

Critics say Asbos have become a ‘badge of honour’, with youngsters on tough estates deliberately seeking to be served with one of the orders.

Revamp: Home Secretary Theresa May lit a bonfire of the last government¿s anti-social behaviour lawsRevamp: Home Secretary Theresa May lit a bonfire of the last government¿s anti-social behaviour laws

Of the 20,231 Asbos issued between June 1, 2000 and the end of 2010, more than half – 11,432 – were breached at least once.

In total there were 51,976 separate breaches of Asbos – an average of 4.5 for each offender.

Instead, yobs will be given new crime prevention injunctions (CPIs), which require a lower burden of proof.

Those who breach the orders will face penalties including prison sentences.

Separately, offenders sentenced for a crime by the courts could be handed a new criminal behaviour order, forcing them to change their ways.

It will ban criminals from engaging in specified activities or going to certain places.

There will also be a ‘community trigger’ to force the  police, councils and other agencies to act if five households complain, or the same individual complains three times, and faster processes to evict anti-social tenants and deal with irresponsible dog owners.

As the Mail revealed yesterday, a new Community Protection Notice will make it a criminal offence for people to dump litter regularly in their own garden.

Mrs May said the Government’s approach ‘empowers local communities, places victims’ needs at its heart and puts more trust in the professionals than ever before’.

She added: ‘Police and local agencies will also be freed to use informal measures to take immediate action to nip problems in the bud rather than being bound by central targets and control.’

Labour attacked the new injunctions as ‘weak’ because a breach of the civil order will ‘no longer be a criminal offence’.

Climbdown: Ed Miliband has admitted Asbos are 'not perfect' as the coalition announce a new policyClimbdown: Ed Miliband has admitted Asbos are ‘not perfect’ as the coalition announce a new policy

Labour leader Ed Miliband admitted Asbos – the flagship anti-lout policy of Tony Blair – were ‘not perfect’.

But he claimed: ‘They were making a difference to communities. If there’s a weakening going on then I think it’s the wrong thing to do.’

Mrs May’s proposals will initially be published as a draft Bill, to be debated by MPs. This means they are unlikely to become law before the end of next year at the earliest.

Opponents have claimed the laws have been delayed by disputes between the Coalition partners, with the Lib Dems insisting care must be taken not to unnecessarily criminalise young people.

Javed Khan, chief executive of Victim Support, said: ‘Victims deserve to be taken seriously as soon as they make a report to the police. Waiting until a similar incident has been reported three times or by five people is not good enough.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2148413/Goodbye-Asbo-badge-honour-prized-young-louts.html#ixzz1x9gCLQDo

Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Creaney. No Comments

Don’t mock ‘hug a hoodie’. It was, and still is, the right message

Don’t mock ‘hug a hoodie’. It was, and still is, the right message

In Britain we feel the need to talk tough on crime when all the evidence suggest that this is the politics of the madhouseWandsworth Prison in London

Wandsworth Prison in London. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

Like so many famous political phrases, David Cameron never actually said that anyone should “hug a hoodie“. No matter. For it became a phrase that helped define him as a new kind of Conservative, someone ready to slay the old shibboleths in his drive to decontaminate the Tory brand.

In fact, what he said was far more interesting. In a keynote speech in 2006, soon after becoming leader, he emphasised the need to understand the root causes of crime and recognise there was no hope of answering why people commit crime unless we ask the right questions.

He pointed out these questions were complex, revolving around issues such as family breakdown, mental health, poor education, inadequate state care systems and substance abuse.

The fact that this was remotely controversial, that it was leapt on by opponents as some kind of political gaffe, shows only the depressing level of what passes for debate on crime in this country. Prison populations rise, spending soars, but politicians must resort to tired and reckless rhetoric to appease those demanding tough action.

So Michael Howard happily declared “prison works”, despite all evidence to the contrary. New Labour, so contemptuous of civil liberties, passed an astonishing 28 criminal justice bills in 13 years; one new offence was put on the statute book for every day in government, perhaps the most egregious example of government by headline.

The coalition set out determined to let reason and reality intrude on this debate. A drive to increase accountability through police commissioners and crime mapping was combined with the abolition of indeterminate sentences and innovative use of results-led payments to promote rehabilitation. Cameron is yet to make a speech on crime since taking office two years ago, a pleasant change from the froth and synthetic fury of Tony Blair.

Sadly, as evidenced by the new-look antisocial behavioural ordersannounced last week, the government is now wobbling as it strives to shore up waning popularity. It is expected that Ken Clarke will be punished for speaking sense on crime, given more time to “chillax” after his replacement as justice secretary by a successor resorting to more familiar gesture politics of the past. “We need a veneer of toughness,” one government figure told me. “Although whatever you do, it is never enough.”

This is defeatist and depressing talk. We have had two decades of simplistic slogans and pathetic political stunts. If the government really wants to look tough, it would take on the mob constantly baying for blood rather than pouring vast sums of money down the drain on pointless penal policies. Locking up more and more people in jam-packed jails does not cut crime – whatever the focus groups tell you.

The prison population in England and Wales has almost doubled over the past two decades, hitting all-time highs last year of 88,179 inmates. Each one costs taxpayers close to £40,000 a year – and this is supposed to be a time of austerity, with cuts elsewhere. Yet this month saw the opening of Oakwood near Wolverhampton, a showpiece “superjail” and one of the biggest in Britain.

We put proportionately more people behind bars than anywhere else in Europe. Yet while crime is falling, as in many other countries, we suffer almost double the average number of offences the continent does per capita. In some jails, seven out of 10 inmates end up back behind bars. Still there are those insatiable demands to get even tougher on crime. This is the politics of the madhouse.

Now look abroad. In the US, some of the most conservative states are leading a revolution in rehabilitation after recognising that an expensive prison system locking up the same people again and again is another sign of state failure. A movement born in the unlikely environs of Texas has swept across the country, led by rightwingers and driven by the financial imperatives of a system locking up people at three times the rate of this country and seven times the rate of France. Despite their hideously punitive – and racially divisive – justice system, crime rates fell at the same rate as in Europe, leading to the inevitable conclusion that there is no link between sentencing severity and trends in crime.

Closer to home, Finland went from one of the highest levels of incarceration in Europe to one of the lowest, reducing rates to about a third of Britain’s. The sudden switch in philosophy was perhaps the most perfect experiment in criminal justice and penal policies. So after countless studies, what was the conclusion? Imprisonment levels make little difference to crime rates, but locking up fewer people means more money to tackle the social problems underlying crime.

Unlike here, prison numbers in both Germany and the Netherlands have fallen in line with crime reductions. The Dutch matched this country by having the fastest rates of increase in Europe from 1992 to 2004. Then they changed tactics, with more emphasis on tough community punishments combined with treatment for addicts and the mentally ill. The move has been so successful they expect to halve the prison population within a decade, allowing them to close eight jails and even rent one out to the Belgians.

Countries do not have to keep consigning the flotsam and jetsom of society to prison in ever greater numbers. There are alternatives that work as well, if not better, while also being far cheaper, an important consideration amid the current economic maelstrom. Political courage combined with coherent policies on community punishments, restorative justice and rehabilitation can deliver the elusive holy grail of declining crime, declining prison populations and declining budgets.

Despite widespread derision, Cameron was on the right lines in his so-called hug a hoodie speech. We will never solve our most fundamental problems if we do not ask the right questions and learn the right answers – wherever we can find them.

Unfortunately, all too often politicians opt for the short-term political gain of tough talk over the long-term societal gain of far tougher action.

Ian Birrell is a former speechwriter for David Cameron. This is an extended version of his introduction to the Criminal Justice Alliance report, Reducing the use of imprisonment: What can we learn from Europe?

Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Creaney. No Comments

Risk, Prevention and Early Intervention: Youth Justice Responses to Girls

Title: Risk, prevention and early intervention: youth justice responses to girls
Author(s): Sean Creaney, (Lecturer in Childhood Studies at the Centre for Education and Applied Social Sciences, Stockport College, Stockport, UK)
Citation: Sean Creaney, (2012) “Risk, prevention and early intervention: youth justice responses to girls”, Safer Communities, Vol. 11 Iss: 2, pp.111 – 120
Keywords: Early interventionGirlsPreventionRisk managementYouth justice
Article type: Conceptual paper
DOI: 10.1108/17578041211215348 (Permanent URL)
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to examine the discourses of risk, prevention and early intervention, with particular reference, to the treatment of girls in the contemporary Youth Justice System.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper has two broad objectives: first, the paper reviews the literature on early intervention and youth crime prevention policy. Second, the paper focuses on youth justice practice in relation to girls who are engaged in youth justice processes or “at risk” of criminal involvement.

Findings – The paper argues that: girls are drawn into the system for welfare rather than crime-related matters; and youth justice policy and practice seems to negate girls’ gender-specific needs. Moreover, the paper highlights research evidence and practice-based experience, and contends that youth justice policy and practice must be re-developed in favour of incorporating gender-specific, child and young person centred practices.

Originality/value – The results presented in this article will be particularly pertinent to policy makers, educators and practitioners in the sphere of youth justice, especially since the contemporary youth justice system, in its rigorous, actuarial pursuance of risk management, fails to distinguish between “genders” within its formulaic assessment documentation.

Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Creaney. No Comments

Predicting Young Criminals

POSTED BY Sean Creaney

The film Minority Report (2002) tells the story of a “pre-crime unit” who predict the criminals of the future, and before they commit the crime punish them. Law enforcement officials intervene and prevent the crime from taking place. The “potential offender” is then punished for the act they were going to commit. Of course, this is not real-life and seems far-fetched. However, this way of thinking does resonate with current practice models in youth justice.

All too often, young people are judged on what they are thought capable of doing rather than what they have done in respect of deviant/criminal behaviour. This article explores the impact of this type of practice with (potential) young offenders and draws upon the now somewhat unfashionable labelling theory to contend that intervention can cause more harm than good.

Pre-crime and punishment

Early-intervention in the youth justice arena seems to be logical and a well-intentioned, benevolent response to crime and anti-social behaviour. To intervene in the life of a young person who is displaying problems and to counter-act those problems with help and support is common-sense, right? If, you are a practitioner tasked with conducting an assessment with a young offender, you will no doubt endeavour to ask varied questions and develop knowledge and understanding into the young offender’s background, and attitudes etc. etc. You will attempt to conduct a comprehensive assessment.

However, you will inevitably experience difficulties when it comes to calculating whether the problems/issues identified correlate with the young person’s offending behaviour. In practice you may have predicted that a young person will go on to commit crime and to your surprise they may go on to lead a “normal” crime-free life.

Group of 5 teenagersUp until quite recently, I worked for a North West Youth Offending Service where I had responsibility for co-ordinating interventions for young people who were identified to be on the cusp of engaging in criminal activity. Although the children I worked with were in need of support to tackle their problems, I was concerned whether we were best placed to deal with those issues. Many of the young people really needed help with education and health-related matters, not specifically crime-related issues. These young people were let down by traditional social-welfare services, such as youth services, and were coming to the attention of the police and the Youth Offending Team as a result of this. Moreover, I had responsibility for conducting assessments to predict the likelihood of a young person engaging in criminal activity. This is no simple task. The main difficulty is trying to work-out whether the problems were linked to crime or just general every-day issues that could be tackled by youth services. Young people were consistently over-assessed as a result of this and often given quite intrusive forms of intervention. It seemed, at times, we ignored the fact that these young people hadn’t actually committed any criminal offence.

This risk-led approach has been described as “spurious prediction”, where it is like flipping a coin: “heads they offend, tails they don’t”. Although assessments may be useful in terms of guiding practice towards the identification of problems that need addressing and highlighting issues, it is far-from simplistic and common sense. Importantly, although there may be an embedded belief amongst practitioners that you can ‘effectively’ predict the young person who is going to engage in criminal activity, practitioners will inevitably “get it wrong”, resulting in young people unfairly labelled and stigmatised.

What is more, it is interesting to note that, providing intensive forms of early intervention to young people who do not require it can be counter-productive in terms of developing self-esteem and confidence. This approach seems to be primarily concerned with highlighting a young person’s failures, drawn from a deficit model of negativity, rather than developing a young person’s strengths.

The lack of emphasis on developing young people’s positive attributes, including self-esteem, may be particularly harmful for those girls, and boys, who respond more negatively to the labelling effect. Moreover, this risk-led approach may stigmatise young people unfairly. There are clearly ethical barriers to overcome with “targeting” and “predicting risk”, particularly with the usage of the term “pre-criminal”.

Surveillance, control and regulation

Historically (and arguably still today), youth justice policy-makers and practitioners have tended to encounter difficulties between treating the young offender by way of help and support (welfare) or inflicting punishment in proportion to the crime (justice). Rather than deciding the correct approach to take, however, youth justice policy and practice has shifted its emphasis towards risk, where the level of intervention is determined by the risk the young person presents.

This method and way of thinking is very similar to that in the film Minority Report mentioned earlier: ‘We’re taking in individuals who have broken no law. But they surely will’. Arguably, it embraces the principles of surveillance, control and regulation. This is evident for example, with the introduction of Youth Inclusion and Support Panels (YISPs).

YISPs are pre-crime measures that “target”, and intervene with, those young people thought likely to commit crime. YISPs are benevolently constructed measures that provide help and support to young people, normally between the ages of 8-17, who require it. Young people may be referred via education, health or social care routes. This type of support is determined by the risk a young person presents. Again professionals conduct an assessment that provides a score to determine the correct level of intervention required. It is important to understand, however, that these young people have not committed any criminal offences and it is ethically concerning to note that terms such as “pre-criminal” and “crime-prone” are being used to describe them. This has resulted in young people receiving quite intrusive forms of intervention.

Labelled and stigmatised

Young people are being drawn into crime-prevention programmes as a direct result of cut backs across the social-welfare services. Young people who display challenging behaviour in the community and school settings are being dealt with by resort to youth justice professionals, who, as I have mentioned, have a tendency to focus on the negative aspects of young people’s lives due to the emphasis on risk management.

Teenage girls on school benchAlthough challenging offending behaviour in the community/social-welfare arena can be extremely effective, early-intervention in the youth justice setting can also be harmful for young people and counter-productive. Drawing upon labelling theory, initiatives such as the YISP have been criticised for introducing young people to formal intervention at an early stage.

These types of measures, rather than preventing crime, have the potential to increase the likelihood in a young person engaging a further criminal activity and/or developing further problems. Due to the emphasis on accepting blame and taking responsibility for their actions, young people embrace the concept of the offender, and view themselves in this negative way.

Concluding thoughts

Youth justice practice is risk-led, and in relation to the development of child- and young person-centred practices (with gender and age-specific components) practitioners feel constrained to deliver these forms of risk-oriented practice. This is partly due to the continued emphasis on the evaluation of performance and the demonstration of ‘quantifiable outcomes’ via risk assessments.

As an alternative, I would advocate a social-justice approach where young people are treated fairly and not judged, labelled or stigmatised. Rather than criminalising young people for committing minor crimes or displaying criminal tendencies and introducing them into a harmful system, informal community-based services seem much more promising, tailoring interventions to the child’s specific individual needs and abilities rather than their deficits or risky behaviours.

However, although this article is timely, with the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government not fully decided on how they will tackle issues of youth crime and justice, a rights-based welfare system seems unlikely. For example, although anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) have rightfully been axed, disappointingly in its place crime prevention injunctions (CPIs) have been introduced. These civil measures are again predicated upon the belief that young people are in need of control and regulation.

As with the risk-led approach of predicting crime, there are clear ethical concerns – as young people who are issued with CPIs are not provided with an opportunity to contest the allegations made against them. The principal of “innocent until proven guilty” is ignored. Importantly, although the Conservative-Liberal democrat government seem to support diversionary and restorative justice measures, they are intent on being seen to be “tough on crime”. Policy-makers and politicians would need to break with the old sentiments of “clamping down on lawless youth” and understand that young people require care and attention if they are to lead crime-free lives.

In re-designing policy and practice, it must be recognised that policy makers are influenced by factors other than that of research evidence: “resource constraints” and “political ideology” equally impact upon the construction of youth justice policy and practice. The Minority Report style of predicting future offending behaviour seems set to continue as it is apparently simplistic and common-sense: identify the problems and counteract them with help and support. However, as discussed throughout, this practice results in young people being described as “crime-prone” and “pre-criminal”.

References

This article is based on a paper entitled “Gender and justice: girls in the youth justice system” presented at the Women, Crime and Criminal Justice Practice conference, University of Cambridge, January 2012.

See also Creaney, S. (2012),”Risk, prevention and early intervention: youth justice responses to girls”, Safer Communities, Vol. 11, 2, pp. 111–20.

The film Minority Report (2002) was directed by Steven Spielberg. Wikipedia reports that it was one of the best reviewed films of 2002 and grossed over $358 million worldwide, a huge commercial success.

Sean Creaney is a Lecturer in Childhood Studies at the Centre for Education and Applied Social Sciences, Stockport College.

Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Creaney. No Comments

Cambridge University: Women, Crime and Criminal Justice Practice

http://www.crim.cam.ac.uk/events/conferences/diversity-diversion/cccjpconfprovprog.pdf

I presented at the Women, Crime and Criminal Justice practice conference in Cambridge in January. Although, I presented at the Youth Justice Board convention in 2010, it was the fist-time I had presented a research paper at an academic conference. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, there were some fantastic speakers, renowned for their research on girls and women offenders.  I would strongly recommend to any undergraduate or postgraduate student to send their work to publishers and/or conference organisers and get some experience presenting your research! I must say also, that Cambridge University is outstanding! I am in the process of applying for PhD study I enjoyed the conference that much!

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Creaney. No Comments

Keele University Criminology Studentships

Research Topic Research Institute for Social Sciences PhD Studentships
Reference number: RISS 2012/13
Abstract Applications are invited for studentships within any of the 5 Centres of the Research Institute.  These Centres are:

Keele University is offering a number of internally funded studentships, bursaries, fee waivers and GTAs.  Applicants for GTAs should refer to the Supplementary Information below.

Please note that your application can only be considered on the basis of the information we have received.  It is your responsibility to ensure that your application has arrived before the deadline and includes ALL of the following:

  • The relevant application form
  • Two academic references
  • A full proposal for your PhD project (maximum four sides of A4.  This should set out research questions to be addressed, proposed methodology, a summary of current literature etc)
  • A sample of your previous academic work (maximum 5,000 words)
  • RIHUMS – Case For Support

We recommend that you contact possible supervisors before submitting your application. Please contact Helen Farrell for advice.

All successful applicants will still be required to meet the usual conditions for satisfactory progress in their doctoral studies.  A failure to do so may result in the withdrawal of the studentship.

Awards are open to new starters only.

Further Details See Further details and Supplementary Information
Duration Three years full time
Fees Funding is available across a variety of Graduate Teaching Assistantships, full and part studentships, bursaries and fee waivers.
Stipend As above
Closing date 17 February 2012 at 5pm We anticipate that interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place during w/c 19 March 2012.Apply online here
Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Creaney. No Comments

Sean Creaney will be presenting a paper at Social Work conference

SwanConf2012

Print E-mail

The Seventh Annual Social Work Action Network Conference (SWAN) will be hosted by Liverpool Hope University on 30th and 31st March 2012

 

 

Urgent: Do you require accommodation for a group? Please scroll down for accommodation amendments.

 

 

 

 

Cuts, crisis, and resistance – building alliances in social work and social care

 

Download the conference leaflet below, print and return the booking form or use the e-booking form, also below.

icon Conference leaflet (245.33 kB)

icon Booking form editable (22.5 kB)

 

Once you have sent us the booking form, we will invoice you for the conference fee. However, if you would like to send a cheque with your booking form, please make it out to:-

Liverpool Hope University

Send all correspondence to

Charlotte Durkin
HCA EW034
Hope Park
Liverpool
L16 9JD 

Please be sure to let us know of any special requirements you have, e.g. dietary needs or a disability we could make arrangements for. Make a note on the booking form or in the email you send us. 

 

swan banner.jpgThe 2012 conference takes place against a backdrop of Government cuts and austerity measures that are producing a massive crisis in social work and social care. Workers face redundancies, increased workloads, pay cuts, threats to pensions and a stressful working life that is producing all manner of social and personal problems. For service users cuts mean worse services, more expense and less involvement in significant decisions that affect their lives. The Government response has been to argue for greater marketisation, as a reflection of ‘customer choice’. They have taken every opportunity to encouraged businesses, large and small, to bid for contracts and make profits from public services, yet as the crisis of Southern Cross shows the priorities of companies are always profits, not meeting human need.

 

The Government’s agenda is ideological. It is not a response to ‘economic necessity’. The crisis started when the Government bailed out failing banks – why should ordinary people and public services pay the price?

 

protest.jpgThis year’s SWAN conference addresses these problems and issues. It provides a forum where academics, frontline workers, students and service users can come together, debate and forge alliances to create a counterpoint to the Government’s mantra that ‘there is no alternative to the market’. Instead the conference will explore alternative visions which offer hope that ‘another social work’ and ‘another form of social care’ is possible.for an alternative social.

 

 

 

Call for proposals

There will be two sessions of the conference made available to people to present their own research or conduct workshops. We are keen to facilitate alternative styles of presentation and would encourage people to consider group presentations, dramas, art-based workshops, social pedagogical based presentations as well, of course, as more traditional research presentations.

We would particularly welcome contributions that consider:

  • “Whatever happened to anti-racist social work?”
  • Transgendered issues in social work and social care
  • Building alliances for resistance
  • Social work and social movements
  • Social work and women’s oppression
  • Any other relevant social work or social care issue.

Proposals should be 300 words or less and should indicate the aims of the session, the style of presentation and the content. Please include a cover sheet with your name, email and contact details. Please submit your proposal to both Laura Penketh ( penketl@hope.ac.uk) and Nigel Kelleher ( nigel.kelleher@liv-coll.ac.uk)

Conference programme

This section will continue to be updated as we receive more proposals and confirm speakers, the following is an outline only.

 

Proposed timetable

 

Friday 30 March 2012

11 am – 1pm – registration (Coffee and tea available)
1pm – opening and keynote.  Professor Danny Dorling, University of Sheffield
2.15     First  Plenary:  “The Riots of 2011”

3.45 – Tea/coffee

4 – 5.30 Themed Plenary workshops
a.    The crisis in children and families social work
b.    Adult social care – the crisis of marketization
c.    Session organised by ‘In defence of youth work’
d.    Debate on Age assessments of Asylum Seeking Children
e.    ‘Dale Farm’, Traveller communities and social work

6.30 Social event with food and DJ (tickets £7.50 in advance)

Saturday 31 March

10-11 SWAN AGM
11am coffee
11.30-12.30 Social Work and the Struggle for social justice in international context
12.30-1.30 – lunch
1.30-2.30 – Workshops
2.30 – tea/coffee
2.45-3.45 workshops
4pm – 5pm Closing Rally: Building Alliance, Defending Welfare

 

 

 

Key note speaker

danny dorling.jpg This year’s key note address will be given by Professor Danny Dorling from the University of Sheffield. Danny has recently written two books that look at the impact of the recession and the Government’s austerity measures on Britain’s poor communities. So you think you know about Britain?     and    Bankrupt Britain: An Atlas of Social Change    both provide detailed analysis of growing levels of inequality across Britain and build on his earlier work   Injustice   to argue that a different world and a different set of Government priorities are necessary.

 

 

Other speakers include:    

  • Charlotte Williams
  • Gurnam Singh
  • Iain Ferguson
  • Michael Lavalette
  • Peter Beresford
  • Helga Pile
  • Christopher Wakling

christopher wakling.jpgwhatidid.jpgChristopher Wakling will speak about the book ‘What I Did’ and its background. What I Did is a powerful novel about the unseen consequences of a father smacking his child. The incident is reported by an observer to the social services and the novel explores the child’s and father’s reaction to social work and social service involvement in their lives.

Conference costs

  • Asylum seekers free
  • Service users and Students £15
  • Practitioners £25
  • Academics £35
  • Solidarity price £50

Paying the solidarity price enables us to register more service users/asylum seekers and students at the heavily subsidised rates quoted above.

The price includes full attendance at the conference, which begins at 1pm on Friday 30 march (registration from 11am) and concludes at 5pm Saturday 31 March. Four servings of tea/coffee during the conference and lunch on Saturday.

Download the model motion below to add the support of your trade union branch to the conference.

icon Model motion 

Accommodation

The following list is a guide and does not constitute a recommendation on the part of the conference organisers, nor does it guarantee the providers have rooms available.

Budget

Everton Hostel - dormitory plus breakfast £18.67

Hatters hostel - dormitory plus breakfast £24     There are many spaces free here for a group as at 10.01.2012
Please contact the group booking administrator on 0161 236 4414.

YHA - dormitory no breakfast £20.65 (+£3 members fee)  There are only a few places left here, not suitable for larger group sizes.

Many others at similar prices can be found here

Liverpool University have some single rooms (approx 20) available for £24.55 B+B – they will only take bookings for groups of 10 or more, please contact  Becky on 0151 795 0406

Mid-range

Liverpool Hope can supply a limited amount of accommodation, however it should be noted that this is at the other campus in Hope Park, a 20minute bus journey from where the conference is taking place . A shuttle bus runs between the two campuses.

The following options are subject to availability and you should book directly through Janet Thomas, Liverpool Hope’s accommodation officer on 0151 291 3408
Single room, shared facilities £20pp

Twin room, shared facilities £30pp

Double suite (bedroom, kitchen, bathroom) £50

Double room en-suite £45

Single room en-suite £35

Other

Liverpool city centre has thousands of bed spaces available from Travelodge to Hilton see here for inspiration.

Booking through the VisitLiverpool accommodation team is a good idea as they can negotiate good deals for groups, e.g. reduced price twin rooms.

Getting to Hope and the Social

The conference takes place at the Creative Campus and the address is:

Creative Campus
Shaw Street
Liverpool
L3 8QB

Please see this page for information on getting to Hope. The Social takes place very close to the conference venue and the address is

The Silvestrian Club,
Silvester Street
Liverpool L5 8SE.
Tel: 0151 482-2530

Some taxi numbers for use in Liverpool

Village Cabs 0151 427 7909

Merseycab 0151 298 1234

Computercab 0151 298 2222

 

 

About the Social Work Action network (SWAN)

swan logo.jpg

SWAN is a network of social work practitioners, academics, students and social welfare service users united in their concern that social work activity is being undermined by managerialism and marketisation, by the stigmatisation of service users and by welfare cuts.

We believe that good social work is a worthwhile activity that can help people address the problems and difficulties in their lives. many of these difficulties are rooted in the inequalities and oppressions of the modern world and good social work necessarily involves confronting such structural and public causes of so many private ills.

SWAN: www.socialworkfuture.org

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 January 2012 )
Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Creaney. No Comments

Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.