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The prospect of restorative juvenile justice in India: insights from youth justice in England and Wales

Prasad, Pupul Dutta (2022) The prospect of restorative juvenile justice in India: insights from youth justice in England and Wales. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004478


The juvenile justice law in India emphasises rehabilitation and reintegration of children who have committed an offence. In practice, however, juvenile justice seems to serve primarily deterrent and punitive functions. This contrast indicates the need to consider reform. In recent decades, many countries have adopted a restorative justice (RJ) approach to youth justice. RJ envisages a relatively informal process where the main parties involved, namely, the offender, the victim and the community, have an opportunity to be active participants. It promises a less punitive, reparative and reintegrative response to crime. All this makes RJ potentially relevant to juvenile justice in India. Yet, there is little research on whether it might be desirable and feasible to introduce RJoriented interventions with offending children. This qualitative study makes an original contribution to the existing literature by investigating the need for and possibilities of RJ initiatives as a potential means of reform in the Indian juvenile justice system. It also explores whether it might be useful to draw any lessons from RJ-inspired referral orders in England and Wales. It is based on 89 semi-structured interviews with an array of policymakers, practitioners, opinionmakers and experts in India. The respondents offered a range of new insights into both the current workings of juvenile justice and into the prospects for progressive change. The rigorous analysis of their accounts of operations in policing, adjudication and correction establishes the need for wide-ranging reforms. The majority thought that RJ, or elements of it, hold great promise and found prospective policy learning from abroad useful, with important qualifications. They identified potential means for institutionalising RJ and highlighted the role of actors seen as key to the process. The findings also reveal that there are significant barriers to RJ and reform might prove difficult. While there is much in RJ that might be beneficial, the study argues for caution against some of its latent dangers in the Indian context.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 Pupul Dutta Prasad
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Supervisor: Newburn, Tim

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