Youth Justice

Scottish Government: What Works to Reduce Crime?

The Scottish government have today published their latest literature review on What Works to Reduce Crime? The paper's aims are to 1) Target the underlying causes of crime; 2) Deterrence. How best to deter potential offenders by ensuring that the cost of offending is greater than the benefits and; 3) Target hardening. Increasing the difficulty of offending by reducing opportunities to commit crime.

Read the full report here: What Works to Reduce Crime? A Summary of the Evidence

Getting it Right For Every Child

GIRFEC (Getting it right for every child) is Scotland's pan-social policy foundation principles for every government agency dealing with children.

The ten main principles are:

  1. A focus on improving outcomes for children, young people and their families based on a shared understanding of wellbeing
  2. A common approach to the proportionate sharing of information where appropriate
  3. An integral role for children, young people and families in assessment, planning and intervention
  4. A co-ordinated and unified approach to identifying concerns, assessing needs, and agreeing actions and outcomes, based on the wellbeing Indicators
  5. Streamlined planning, assessment and decision-making processes that lead to the right help at the right time
  6. Consistent high standards of co-operation, joint working and communication where more than one agency needs to be involved, locally and across Scotland
  7. A Named Person for every child and young person, and a Lead Professional (where necessary) to co-ordinate and monitor multi-agency activity
  8. Maximising the skilled workforce within universal services to address needs and risks as early as possible
  9. A confident and competent workforce across all services for children, young people and their families
  10. The capacity to share demographic, assessment, and planning information - including electronically - within and across agency boundaries

This is important for penal reform because we must ensure that young people who are themselves within the criminal justice system are protected by these principles. These principles can also be used as the measure with which to protect those children who are so often affected by parental imprisonment, and yet often remain largely forgotten (for more on this see Families Outside).

Getting it Right For Every Child


Youth Justice Under the Radar

An excellent report from Howard League England and Wales has revealed how young people are placed under an ‘intensive supervision and surveillance’ (ISS) which is given as an 'additional punishment'. This sanction is not given by a judge but it includes tagging, a curfew and 25 hours specified activity. If a young person does not comply, they can be returned to jail. Howard League England and Wales have described this as an injustice,and an expensive one at that.

Howard League for Penal Reform (England & Wales): They couldn't do it to a grown up - tagging without due process

Children are 'Innocent Victims' of imprisonment

Often we only think of children in realtion to prison by the number of new borns in Cornton Vale's mother and baby unity. However, as Alan Robertson points out in a detailed article in today's Holyrood Magazine, there are a great number of children who must cope with the traumatic loss of their parent through imprinsment and all the difficulties which that entails. As Cyrus Tata states, 'It simply isn't good enough for us to say as a society that children are some sort of collateral damage of parents’ offending'.

This is one of the most important aspects of women's prisons regimes that SPS must get right if Inverclyde is to live up to its promise of 'reflect[ing] a fresh approach to rehabilitation and wellbeing' of women prisoners.

Find out more:

impact of parent's imprisonment on children

Moral Panic or Moral Crusade?

Prof Viv Cree of University of Edinburgh was a recent guest speaker for the Howard League Scotland. Professor Cree illustrated that moral panics about youth culture are not, despite the way they are often portrayed, a modern phenomena. For example, when cinema first emerged as a form of entertainment it was viewed as having the potential to be a morally perilous activity for young people in much the same way many people today decry the dangers of the internet. There is also something darker in these bouts of anxiety about young people in the way they become demonized, labelled with derogatory language. Viv's lecture went onto to explore possible explanations for moral panics concerning young people.
If you missed the lecture but want to find out more, see her power point slides see here:






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