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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?


This section of the handbook should be read alongside Section 5 of the Course Handbook which provides further details on assessment methods, grading, appeals against grades and academic offences.

There are two assessment points within this unit.

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 no more than 2,500 words 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. The essay will be subject to a mini viva (5 minutes) used to test understanding, but this will not contribute towards the grade.  

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?
  • To what extent does the referral order encapsulate the values of restorative justice? What are the problems associated with involving the community in deciding what should happen to young people who offend?
  • 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?
  • 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.

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