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Identify the political and social forces which led to the establishment of a separate system of juvenile justice emerge in the UK in 1908?

Youth justice current issues and critical perspectives


Core Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding of different models of service provision for children and young people who offend and the theoretical rationales associated with them. This will be assessed through assignment 1
  2. Interrogate critically the various rationales underpinning contemporary youth justice policy and practice in the light of the evidence base. This will be assessed through assignments 1 and 2.


This section of the handbook should be read alongside the Course Handbook which provides further details on assessment methods, grading, appeals against grades and academic offences. You are reminded that plagiarism and other academic offences are treated very seriously by the University.

Please note that extensions can only be granted by the Mitigation Team. You will need to complete a form, which is available from the Student Information Desk (SID). See the Mitigating Circumstances/ Sickness section of this handbook for contact details.

Assessment task 1: (worth 40% of total marks)

Produce a literature review of between 1500 and 2000 words on any area within the field of youth justice studies. The topic area will be agreed on an individual basis with the tutor. It is the responsibility of the student to suggest a topic area and to confirm with the unit coordinator that it is acceptable.

The review should demonstrate an ability to:

  • Research the major relevant sources for the chosen topic area
  • Present an analysis of the principle findings of the literature in the chosen topic area
  • Critically interrogate the literature to demonstrate consistencies, tensions or contradictions
  • Provide an analysis of the gaps in the evidence base in relation to the chosen topic
  • Critically evaluate the literature to arrive at a reasoned conclusion as to how the evidence should be interpreted and indicating areas for further research.


Assessment task 2 (worth 60% of total marks)

Assessment 2: Produce an essay of 2,500 words (plus or minus 10%) chosen from a given list of titles, focussed on conducting an analysis of contemporary or historical arrangements within a given jurisdiction and their implications for wider society. 

Essay titles:

  • Identify the political and social forces which led to the establishment of a separate system of juvenile justice emerge in the UK in 1908?
  • How should we best understand shifts from welfare to justice in England and Wales over the past 100 years?
  • What factors are relevant to determining the age of criminal responsibility? Discuss the relevance of such factors to England and Wales
  • Should we leave the kids alone as Edwin Schur suggests?
  • To what extent does what David Garland refers to as a ‘culture of control ’ determine contemporary responses to youth crime?
  • To what extent and in what ways is netwidening a problem for youth justice systems?
  • ‘Responses to children in trouble are marked by a failure to take account of gender’ Discuss
  • If we control for age, social class, and income, education and housing there is no over-representation of black young people in the youth justice system. Discuss
  • To what extent is the level of custody determined by the level of youth crime?
  • In what ways would the youth justice system in England and Wales need to change to be consistent with a children’s rights based agenda?
  • Why do reoffending rates remain so high for children leaving custody? Does this imply resettlement has is failing?
  • Is the number of first time entrants to the youth justice system a good indicator of youth crime? Discuss your answer with reference to recent trends and provide an overview of how such trends might be explained

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