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Youth justice in England and Wales: a risky business

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2011
JournalJournal of Offender Rehabilitation
Journal number4
Volume50
Number of pages13
Pages221-233
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Risk factor research dominates explanatory models of youth offending and “evidence-based” policy and practice with young people in the youth justice system in England and Wales. Asset is the product of these actuarial ideas and has put the risk factor prevention paradigm into practice. This article evaluates the impact that an actuarial approach to assessment has had on both the representation of young people who offend and the way in which their behavior is explained and responded to. It describes the factors that led to the introduction of Asset, before briefly summarizing the positive assessments of Asset. It is contended that the “achievement” of actuarialism in youth justice is to render arbitrary and discriminatory practices acceptable, and apparently rational.