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Title: Children first, offenders second : an aspiration or a reality for youth justice in Wales
Author: Thomas, Susan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 8689
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2015
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England and Wales have the same criminal justice system, but devolution in Wales has created some differences between the two countries. In Wales all child and young person related services, with the exception of youth justice, are devolved to the Welsh Government. It is claimed by some that devolution has resulted in youth justice policy in Wales diverging from that of England. This is because of the Welsh Government’s adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been incorporated into its domestic legislation. This is not mirrored in England, as the UK Government’s youth justice policies during the New Labour period have been characterised as punitive, risk-led and managerialist. Although attitudes and approaches changed during the Coalition Government’s administration, the fundamental features of the system have not. Youth justice in Wales has been described as taking a ‘children first, offenders second’ approach to children and young people in trouble with the law, which by inference suggests the opposite for youth justice in England. The purpose of this study is to examine whether there is a different youth justice in Wales. This was done by scrutinising a range of evidence that included the policies of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales and the Welsh Government and the interface and relationship between them, to determine what youth justice in Wales looks like and how it compares to youth justice in England. This was supported by an analysis of YJB data about the operation of the system, which disaggregated information about Wales from national statistics, to establish if outcomes for young people in Wales differed from their counter-parts in England. Finally, the perspectives of practitioners in two youth offending teams in England and two in Wales were explored to establish what their practice cultures looked like and the extent to which practitioners had similar or different views about how the system should and does operate, whether a ‘children first’ philosophy is dominant in Wales and how this relates to the policy positions of the respective governments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L400 Social Policy ; L500 Social Work ; L530 Youth Work ; youth justice ; Wales ; young offenders