Theorising youth justice
Having spent some time setting out the ‘state of play’ in youth justice, it will now be worthwhile to take a step back and reflect on the theoretical context and whether that offers any insights into the possibilities for progressive practice in the current era. The preceding overview of contemporary developments suggests that there are very substantial grounds for concern, in that youth justice provision in England and Wales has managed to achieve the dual failures of being both ineffective, in its own terms, and simultaneously repressive in its impact. The very limited gains that may be identified are hard-won successes, usually carved out of the granite of system inertia by imaginative and persistent practitioners and managers. These gains have been achieved in spite of, and not because of, the reforms initiated in the late 1990s/early 2000s.