Chapter

Serious incidents in the youth justice system: management and accountability

Maggie Blyth

in Young people and 'risk'

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9781847420008
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304364 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847420008.003.0006
Serious incidents in the youth justice system: management and accountability

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Public opinion tends consistently to overestimate the scale and trend in offending as recorded official crime data. This applies to offending among young people as well as to offending among adults. Over the last decades, youth crime has become highly politicised, resulting in the increased custodial figures and increasingly tough posturing by the ministers over approaches to dealing with young people who committed crime. While there has been a downward trend in offending by young people, the concern and view on the criminal behaviour of children remains high. This high concern on the criminality of children was spurred by cases that have caused a moral outcry and public disturbance that led to the perception that violence is out of control. This view was further reinforced by the re-categorisation of children and young people in the youth system as ‘offenders’ rather than as children with complex needs. This chapter focuses on a category of cases known as ‘serious incidents’ in the youth justice system. It focuses on the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YBJ) which outlined the definition of serious incidents that covers both children and young people who commit grave crimes, and captures those children and young people who attempt to commit suicide while under the supervision of the Youth Offending Team (YOT). This chapter examines the definition and purpose of the YBJ's serious incident guidelines. It also outlines the process itself and considers the characteristics of the young people involved in serious incidents in the youth system justice. The chapter ends with some recommendations of the author who was a former serious incident manager for the YBJ and relevant reports from the inspections of YOTs.

Keywords: young people; youth crime; criminality of children; violence; offenders; serious incidents; youth justice system; Youth Justice Board; Youth Offending Team

Chapter.  5532 words. 

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