Cross-national comparison of youth justice

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This volume is the final report in a cross-national scoping review of policy and practice in juvenile justice. In common with other areas of social policy, youth justice is of increasing interest in comparative analysis to researchers and policymakers. This is partly fuelled by international obligations and harmonisation, and partly by the attractions of ‘policy diffusion’, whereby one country can learn and transfer policies and practices from another. Commentators have noted the cross-national concerns raised by youth justice. This study aims to explore several key questions at both the system-wide and individual case levels. It focuses on: - overall approaches taken by systems (including aims, philosophies, pressures and trends) - structures and procedures for the administration of youth justice (including relevant agencies, judicial processes, diversionary practices) - interventions (including differences within each intervention, custodial provision, aftercare). The study will also highlight some illustrations of innovative or good practice. The key purpose of this report is to present findings on comparative patterns in youth justice approaches, policy and provision across jurisdictions. It does so by first considering the pressures that countries face in relation to youth justice, and also common models and principles within systems. These provide a reference framework to explore policy and practice similarities and divergences in the four areas of: - age thresholds for entering and leaving juvenile justice - prevention and early intervention - processes in youth justice, including investigations and decision-making - outcomes and disposals, including a particular focus on restorative outcomes, other community penalties and variations in the use of custody.


Neal Hazel

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