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Unit information: Youth Justice in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Youth Justice
Unit code SPOL20022
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Jo Staines
Open unit status Open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

This a second year optional unit that tackles some of the key challenges and tensions within the youth justice system in England and Wales. The unit explores the needs and rights of children and young people involved in offending behaviour and in the youth justice system, and how we should respond to those children and young people who cause harm to others. The unit includes a reflection on the development of the youth justice system from the days of the transportation or execution of children to the current ‘Scaled Approach’ responses. The unit unpicks the politicization of youth crime and the demonisation of young people, from ‘condemning a little more’ to ‘hugging a hoody’. We consider the research evidence that attempts to explain why children and young people become involved in offending behaviour, ranging from anti-social behaviour to grave crimes. Understanding current practice within the youth justice system, including restorative justice and early intervention programmes, is an integral part of the unit; we also consider international perspectives on youth crime to see how youth justice systems operate elsewhere in the world. Specific topical issues, such as children and young people's involvement in gangs or the radicalisation of young British Muslims, are also included. Seminar debates will be held on potentially controversial issues, such as the age of criminal responsibility or the responses to children who commit serious offences. The formative assessment is a mock exam, designed to give you feedback and support for the final exam.

The objectives of the unit are to develop students awareness and knowledge of:

  • how children and young people are perceived and treated by the youth justice system in England and Wales
  • theoretical, policy and professional approaches to the needs and rights of children and young people involved in offending behaviour
  • international differences in the ways in which children are perceived and treated by criminal legislation.

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  • Identify the needs and rights of children and young people involved in offending behaviour
  • Apply these important considerations to situations where children and young peoples circumstances and experiences cause them to be subject to youth justice interventions
  • Critically assess policy and professional responses to working with children involved in the youth justice system
  • Synthesise different theoretical, policy and professional approaches to youth offending
  • Critically evaluate cross-national differences and similarities in perceptions of and the treatment of children within youth justice systems

Intended learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will have:

  • Gained a sound grasp of the needs and rights of children and young people;
  • Gained an understanding of how these important considerations apply when children and young peoples circumstances and experiences cause them to be subject to processes of law or legislation;
  • Become better prepared to consider whether future professional training in these areas of the law is a possible career option for them.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught via lectures, seminars and guided individual study. The seminars will include presentations by students, group discussion and various exercises designed to enhance the teaching and learning of the topics covered.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment: practice exam

Summative assessment: 3 hour unseen exam (100%)

Reading and References

  • Cavadino M, Dignan J and Mair G (2013) The Penal System: An introduction (5th ed) Thousand Oaks: Sage
  • Friday C and Ren X (eds) (2006) Delinquency and Juvenile Justice Systems in the Non-Western World, New York: Criminal Justice Press
  • Goldson B and Muncie J (2015, eds) Youth, Crime and Justice: Critical issues, (2nd ed), Los Angeles Muncie J (2015) Youth and Crime (4th ed), London: Sage
  • Newburn T (2013) Criminology, (2nd ed) Collumpton: Willan
  • Staines (2015) Youth Justice, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan

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