Where are we now? Policy and outcomes in youth justice
As we have already observed, it is not routinely the case that policy statements or even legislative changes lead straightforwardly and directly to the kinds of outcomes intended. Thus we should not necessarily expect the purportedly radical changes introduced by New Labour to have produced exactly the kinds of results to which the government aspired. However, unless we believe that policy is totally irrelevant, we must also assume that it has some bearing on developments, and that there might be some evidence of this in the concrete outcomes identified. In light of this, the aim here will be to set out some of the more significant changes (and continuities) identifiable in youth justice following its initial overhaul in the late 1990s, and in the context of further policy developments subsequently.