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Cover Criminology

17. Young people and crime  

Derek Kirton

This chapter examines youth crime and responses to it. It discusses the key principles around which youth justice has evolved and how the balance between them has changed over time. The chapter considers some of the main theories and models that have been put forward to explain youth crime, including patterns linked to social divisions based on class, ethnicity, and gender. Attention is also given to recent ‘moral panics’, such as young people's use of weapons, gang activity, and involvement in the 2011 riots. Finally, a review of contemporary youth justice policy and debate regarding its future direction is provided.