chapter  3
26 Pages

Youth justice? The impact of system contact on patterns of desistance

Over the past decade, youth justice discourse in many Western jurisdictions has become dominated by the mantra of ‘evidence-based’ policy (see Gatti and Verde 2002 ; Walgrave 2002 ; McAra 2004a ; Muncie and Goldson 2006 ). Informed by the results of research on risk and protective factors and (more especially) the precepts underpinning the ‘What works?’ agenda, huge resources have been devoted to early intervention initiatives, for ‘at risk’ children and their families, as well as to specialist programmes aimed at reducing re-offending amongst older, more persistent offenders. This has been accompanied (particularly in the UK) by a massive increase in government sponsored research, focused on evaluating programme effectiveness and establishing value for money (see Pitts 2003 ; Hope 2004 ).