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ERIC Number: EJ880205
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1357-5279
Children's Rights and Youth Justice: 20 Years of No Progress
Smith, Roger
Child Care in Practice, v16 n1 p3-17 Jan 2010
The adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1989 and its ratification by the UK government two years later came at a time of considerable progress in youth justice. The Convention itself set clear standards of treatment, in terms of both processes and disposals, which appeared at the time to provide positive endorsement of the direction of travel of that period. However, the period since the early 1990s has been one of retrenchment in youth justice, with an increasingly punitive public and political mood being reflected in legislation, policy and practice. Welfare concerns have virtually disappeared from the agenda in England, and although this is not replicated to the same extent in other UK nations, the consequences in terms of outcomes for young people have been highly damaging. This article will consider these developments in light of the standards and requirements set by the UNCRC, considering the extent to which policy and practice have complied with the expectations it establishes. It will focus on a number of developments that have been encapsulated in terms of a "punitive turn", arguing that neither the rights nor the welfare of young people have been served well by emerging practices. These issues have been the subject of repeatedly expressed concerns by the UN Committee in its periodic reports on UK government performance under the terms of the Convention. The article concludes that youth justice policy and practice in the United Kingdom has largely failed to live up to its international obligations, and that this in turn has created significant problems for children and young people. Some possible steps forward are suggested in order to re-establish the primary principle that children should be guaranteed protection under the Convention, irrespective of their involvement in the justice system. (Contains 1 note and 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom