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Youth justice in England and Wales: exploring young offenders’ perceptions of restorative and procedural justice in the referral order process

Lacey, Lauren (2012) Youth justice in England and Wales: exploring young offenders’ perceptions of restorative and procedural justice in the referral order process. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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In recent years the government has introduced youth justice policy which claims to draw on the philosophy of restorative justice as an alternative to punitive sanctions. Referral orders were implemented nationally in 2002 and purportedly represent a significant policy commitment to restorative justice. Rather than incarcerating offenders or deterring them through punishment, referral orders aim to encourage them to understand the consequences of their behaviour, make amends and re-join the law abiding community. This is purportedly achieved through a youth offender panel (panel meeting) run by lay members of the local community along with a member of staff from the youth offending team (YOT). The panel meeting aims to provide a forum away from formal court proceedings to discuss the offence and to agree and construct a contract that the offender must follow. Referral orders therefore present a useful arena in which to explore young offenders’ experiences of restorative justice and to compare this with their experience of the more formal court process. Research has revealed that fair procedures are important in securing people’s compliance with the law and that offenders view restorative processes as fairer than court. However, the majority of research in this area has been done with adults and there is comparatively little research that focuses on young offenders’ perceptions of criminal justice processes. For children, procedural safeguards largely relate to the manner in which adults interact with them. My research therefore explores young people’s experiences with a range of authority figures including: teachers, police officers, magistrates, lay panel members and staff at the YOT. In doing this I aim to consider both how young people perceive the restorative elements of referral orders and more broadly, the way in which they form judgements of different criminal justice processes and sources of authority.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Lauren Lacey
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Supervisor: Newburn, Tim

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