Chapter

Early intervention in the youth justice sphere: a knowledge-based critique

Barry Goldson

in Prevention and youth crime

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9781847422637
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303060 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847422637.003.0007
Early intervention in the youth justice sphere: a knowledge-based critique

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Some children and young people are conceived as being particularly susceptible to ‘risk’, implying constructions of vulnerability and invoking the imperatives of protection and safeguarding (as in modern child welfare discourse). Conversely, different constituencies of the young are deemed to comprise a primary source of ‘risk’, implying a threatening or menacing presence and invoking regulatory and corrective priorities (as in contemporary youth justice discourse). Such binary conceptualisations inevitably tend to oversimplify. Nonetheless, they each provide rationales for various forms of early intervention, greater levels of adult supervision, more intensive patterns of regulation and surveillance and, ultimately, circumscribed access to public spaces for children and young people. On closer inspection, however, whether in the child welfare realm or the youth justice domain, the logic and consequence of early intervention strategies are pitted with theoretical, conceptual and practical problems. This chapter engages with such problems as they specifically relate to the youth justice sphere in the United Kingdom and, by drawing on key sources of evidence in the space available, provides a knowledge-based critique of early intervention.

Keywords: United Kingdom; young people; early intervention; youth justice; child welfare; risk; children

Chapter.  6804 words. 

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