Being a delinquent youth
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Being a delinquent youth book
This chapter presents narratives of young defendants who had to fear imprisonment in the context of their trials. The analysis focuses on categories that they used to describe themselves, i.e. particularly as offenders little deserving of punishment. Of particular importance are narratives that recount the ‘sad story’ of their lives. Yet these narratives are not uniform; they cover different forms of self-categorisation, in some cases involving elements of agency and a degree of responsibility (and repentance) for delinquency. The defendants did not reject punishment in principle, and some in fact even expressed demands for severity. These narrators used and modified political and public narratives in which the courts are ‘too soft’ in their sentences. This leaves the impression that the criminal justice system, and not the defendants concerned, is to blame for delinquency.