Custodial control or community alternatives? : an examination of the impact of the 1982 Criminal Justice Act in one local authority
This thesis examines the impact of the 1982 CJAct in one local authority with particular reference to the use of custody and community alternatives. Reference is made to the background to juvenile justice developments in the 1970's and 1980's. The change in the philosophy of responding to juvenile offenders during this period is highlighted. It is argued that an increasing 'bifurcation' policy towards offenders is now apparent and that the reaction against the 'welfare' approach to offenders is resulting in more juveniles becoming subject to increased forms of community control whilst custody is retained for the minority of 'persistent or serious offenders". The thesis examines data on 200 Outborough juveniles sentenced to custody or community alternatives during the period 1983-1988. The findings highlight the difficulties of determining which juveniles actually constitute this persistent or serious minority for whom the government maintains that custody should be reserved. The analysis demonstrates that both custody and community alternatives are utilised for juveniles with similar offending backgrounds. An examination is made of sentencing patterns. social inquiry, IT and school reports to the court, and the use made of the statutory criteria governing custodial sentences. There are few. if any , research studies which examine in detail the use of custody and community alternatives over such a substantial period of time.. Findings which contribute to knowledge in the field include the influence of social inquiry and IT reports upon the nature and length of sentences imposed by magistrates. and the different pattern of sentencing on white, Asian and Afro Caribbean juveniles which was discovered. The research highlights the influence of local juvenile justice systems upon the pattern of juvenile justice in England and Wales and describes how the different agencies in Outborough responded to the implications of the 1982 CJAct.