“Catching them young” – some reflections on the meaning of the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales
Subjectsage of criminal responsibility
L410 UK Social Policy
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AbstractPurpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the tension between government protestations that youth justice policy is evidence-led and what the evidence implies in the context of the age of criminal responsibility. Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of a conceptual analysis of government policy and the evidence base. Findings – The paper concludes that the current low age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales can be understood as a manifestation of the influence of underclass theory on successive governments. Research limitations/implications – The paper is not based on primary research. Practical implications – The arguments adduced help to explain the reluctance of government to countenance any increase in the age of criminal responsibility. Social implications – The analysis might help inform approaches adopted by youth justice policy makers, practitioners and academics with an interest in seeking a rise in the age of criminal responsibility. Originality/value – The paper offers an original analysis of government intransigence on an important social issue.
CitationBateman, T (2014) '“Catching them young” – some reflections on the meaning of the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales', Safer Communities, 13 (3), pp.133-142.
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