Perspectives of Youth Justice

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Part 1.
1) The Crime and Disorder Act (CDA) 1998 changed the operation of the age of criminal responsibility in England at Wales, ten years, (Carvadino and Dignan, 2007: 326), when the principle of doli incapax was abolished following the murder of James Bulger in 1993 by two children. Doli incapax, defined as “incapable of committing an offence” (Howard & Bowen, 2011: 381.), meant children between the ages of ten and thirteen could only be convicted of an offence if the prosecution could prove that the child knew the difference between right and wrong (Carvadino and Dignan, 2007: 327). This suggests that children became dealt with more similarly to adults, placing an increased emphasis upon young offenders’ actions being moral choice and personal responsibility, rather than being misguided or as a product of social and economical deprivation. This opposed welfare justice policies of the 1960’s and minimal intervention practices of the 1990’s (Bateman & Pitts, 2005: 2-7), effectively serving to criminalise more young people by exposing them to criminal justice intervention. The attitude expressed in Misspent Youth, a research paper considered as being critical in the formation of the CDA 1998 (Unitas, 2012: 23), considered that more needed to be done to protect victims of “young peoples’ inconsiderate behaviour” (Carvadino and Dignan, 2007: 98). This statement lends emphasis to the view that youths were deemed to have more autonomy over their choices and the CDA 1998 founded itself on the belief that involvement the range of robust interventions would deter and rehabilitate young offenders, meaning more youth’s were dealt with by means of formal sanctions. (Bateman & Pitts, 2005: 9).

2. The abolition of doli incapax as part of the CDA 1998 gave influence to the response of youth justice being concerned with the ‘deeds’ of the child rather than the ‘needs’. It influenced a ‘justice’ approach focussed on addressing offending behaviour through robust...
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