Where did it all go wrong?
As already observed, the choice of starting points and transition dates reflects implicit assumptions about the shape of history and the key events which punctuate it. In this respect, the insertion of a dividing line between the 1980s and the 1990s is conscious and deliberate. It does seem to me that there is strong evidence of a quite dramatic shift in the shape and nature of youth justice in England and Wales, which can be dated to the early 1990s. This view is shared by a number of other commentators (Goldson 1997; Haines and Drakeford 1998; Pitts 1999), although it is fair also to point out that others think more in terms of continuities (Hudson 1996; Smith, D. 1999; Muncie 2000; Pickford 2000).