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Criminology (1st edn)

Steve Case, Phil Johnson, David Manlow, Roger Smith, and Kate Williams
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date: 02 July 2022

p. 2269. Explaining youth crime and youth justicelocked

p. 2269. Explaining youth crime and youth justicelocked

  • Steve Case, Steve CaseProfessor of Criminology, University of Loughborough
  • Phil Johnson, Phil JohnsonCriminology Lecturer and Academic Subject Leader, University Centre at Blackburn College
  • David Manlow, David ManlowPrincipal Lecturer in Criminology
  • Roger SmithRoger SmithProfessor of Social Work, Durham University
  •  and Kate WilliamsKate WilliamsSenior Lecturer in Criminology, Aberystwyth University


This chapter deals with youth crime and youth justice: offending behaviour committed by children and young people and their subsequent treatment in the justice system. It considers the argument for a bespoke understanding and response to youth and crime as distinct from offending behaviour committed by adults. The discussion begins by looking at how the concepts of ‘childhood’ and ‘youth’ have been theorised and socially constructed over time. The chapter then examines how youth crime and ‘delinquency’ have been explained in individualised, developmental, and agentic terms; how young people may grow into crime, with particular emphasis on the role of culture in deviance; and the link between radicalisation and youth crime. It also describes the dominant formal responses to youth crime before concluding with an overview of progressive, contemporary approaches to delivering youth justice/responding to youth crime, namely, diversion and positive youth justice.

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