An analysis of the mandatory admission criterion within youth justice diversionary processes
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Abstract‘To require old heads upon young shoulders is inconsistent with the law’s compassion to human infirmity’ (Lord Diplock in Director of Public Prosecutions v Camplin Appellant  AC 717)’. For young people in England and Wales who offend, diversion from formal proceedings has historically been a principle constituent of youth justice policy and practice, and presently accounts for over a third of all outcomes for detected youth offending (Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, 2015). Although attitudes concerning diversion have often oscillated between favour and criticism, and there has rarely been a period of sustained consensus or constancy of processes (Bernard, 1992; Goldson, 2010), eligibility for an out of court disposal has traditionally been dependent on an admission of some form being made by a young person. This thesis seeks to place the evolution of diversionary measures for young people who commit low level offences or engage in nuisance behaviours into a contextual and historical context, and explore why an admission has become, in the absence of any discernible political, academic or professional considerations, a central tenet of diversionary policies in England and Wales. Potential barriers which may prevent some young people making an admission and unnecessarily losing eligibility for an out of court disposal are considered, as well as the nature and standard of admission expected from young people, and the circumstances in which admissions are usually sought from them. This thesis also explores whether the mandatory admission criterion is compatible with other statutory and international obligations to consider the welfare of a young person when determining a suitable disposal, and whether it sufficiently distinguishes between young people unwilling to make an admission and those who may feel unable to. The thesis seeks to identify the gaps in current academic and professional knowledge concerning whether some young people may unnecessarily forfeit eligibility for a diversionary outcome for the sole reason that they do not make an admission. The research undertaken with relevant professionals’ endeavours to fill these gaps by exploring the practical application of the admission criterion, as well considering any suitable alternatives within the existing statutory regime.
CitationCushing, K. (2016) 'An analysis of the mandatory admission criterion within youth justice diversionary processes'. Professional Doctorate thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Professional Doctorate in Youth Justice
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