Re-imagining youth justice

Wednesday 2 April 2014 at the King's Fund

The Howard League for Penal Reform is a leading voice in the world of youth justice. It is home to the U R Boss project, which supports young people in the criminal justice system to secure their legal rights and to have an impact on policy, practice and the services that affect them.

To celebrate five years of U R Boss, with its ground-breaking mix of participation and legal work both behind bars and in the community, and to launch a new programme of work aimed at supporting the police to keep children out of the penal system, the Howard League held a one-day conference to take stock of youth justice and look to the future.

Theory meets policy-making meets practice, as speakers from all three fields debated the big questions. How can we re-imagine youth justice at a time of straitened resources? What have young people themselves decided must change? What will government plans to reduce reoffending and improve resettlement mean for both young people and practitioners?

The conference

The conference included plenary sessions with keynote speakers, questions and debates, and a range of panel sessions covering leading academic research and practice on the themes of the U R Boss ‘A young peoples’ manifesto’:

The conference also heard contributions from young people who have experienced the penal system at first hand.

Plenary speakers were:

  • Jacqui Cheer QPM, Chief Constable, Cleveland Police - download the presentations
  • Frances Crook OBE, Chief Executive, the Howard League for Penal Reform
  • Nick Hardwick CBE, Chief Inspector of Prisons
  • Pam Hibbert OBE, Chair of Trustees, the National Association for Youth Justice
  • Lin Hinnigan, Chief Executive, Youth Justice Board - download the presentation
  • Dan Jarvis MBE MP, Shadow Justice Minister
  • Richard Monkhouse JP, Chairman, Magistrates’ Association - download the presentation
  • Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor, London

Panel sessions:

Download the synopses of the presenations.

For presentation slides follow the links below. 

Licence conditions and wiping the slate clean

"Naming and Shaming: should children who offend be identified?"
Dr Di Hart and Penelope Gibbs, Standing Committee for Youth Justice

Why should criminal convictions become a life sentence?
Bob Ashford, Wipetheslateclean

Should ‘transport circumstance’ be classified as a key youth justice risk factor?
Sarah Brooks-Wilson, University of York

Relationships and support: Supporting young people with disabilities

Equality on Trial: Disabled Child Defendants and the Criminal Justice System
Professor Anna Lawson and Rebecca Parry, University of Leeds

Youth offending and Acquired Brain Injury - a practical approach
Louise Wilkinson, Child Brain Injury Trust

Considering dyslexia
Melanie Jameson, Dyslexia Consultancy Malvern

Relationships and support: Re-imagining youth justice models and policies

Understanding Bad Behaviour
Professor Samuel Stein, Bedfordshire and Luton Mental Health and Social Care Partnership NHS Trust, CAMHS Academic Unit and University of Bedfordshire

Youth Justice and Radical Moral Communitarianism
Roger Hopkins Burke, Nottingham Trent University

IJJO White Paper – Save Money, Protect Society and Realise Youth Potential: Improving youth justice systems during a time of economic crisis
Marianne Moore, International Juvenile Justice Observatory

Participation: Young people’s voices

Should young offenders be provided with the opportunity to ‘have a say’? Investigating the use of participatory approaches in youth justice
Sean Creaney, Stockport College

Finding the Youth Voice in Youth Justice Research
Cathryn Stephens, Australian Qualified Lawyer and Julia Spelman, New Zealand Qualified Lawyer

The value of privacy, security and autonomy in a hyper-connected world: A case study of Youth Justice in England
Professor Ravinder Barn, Royal Holloway University of London and Professor Balbir S. Barn, Middlesex University

Prisons and participation

Assessing the Harm Inside: Exploring the difficulties in contextualising suicide and self-harm amongst children in custody
Poppy Harrison, University of Bedfordshire

Colleges of crime: Can education transform the lives of children in prison?
Ross Little, De Montfort University

Young Offender Learning: resilience is not what we thought it was
Dr Ruth Deakin Crick and Adeela Ahmed Shafi, University of Bristol

Putting young people at the heart of youth justice

In this session Young Advisors will present the manifesto they created, and invite delegates to consider what the main challenges are facing children and young adults in the criminal justice system.

Early intervention, diversion and policing

‘Re-imagining Diversion: Re-evaluating the Youth Cautioning Scheme in England and Wales’
Dr Katherine Doolin & Dr Kate Gooch, University of Birmingham

Coalition in Criminal Justice: ‘At risk’ youth working with the police
Jeffrey Nicholas DeMarco, Royal Holloway, University of London

Diversion, but not as we know it? Localised practices, interventionist diversion and shifting conditions for change in youth justice
Dr Vici Armitage, University of Leicester and Dr Laura Kelly, Liverpool John Moores University

Gender differences and communication barriers

Young peoples’ views about the impact of alcohol on their offending behaviour – is it different for girls?
Dr Alex Newbury, Royal Holloway University of London

The ‘fairer’ sex: Transitional journeys and inclusion of high risk young women.
Gail Wilson, Up-2-Us

Raising Your Game Project ‘Communication – How Does It Affect Me?’ Awareness Workshop
Sophie Charles, Raising Your Game

Relationships and support: Re-imagining service provision

Post-YOT Youth Justice
Ben Byrne and Kathryn Brooks, Surrey Youth Support Service

Re-imagining Mental Health Services: A Model of Tiered Service Delivery using Best Practice Principles in Risk Assessment, Formulation, Scenario Planning and Risk Management in Juvenile Justice.
Dr Leanne Gregory, Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice

Hearing new voices: Reviewing Youth Justice Policy through Practitioners’ Relationships with Young People
Damon Briggs, University of Liverpool

Participation: Young people’s voices in practitioner decisions

Peer-Courts UK:  A Restorative Justice programme for young people led by young people
Mark Walsh and Jo Rowland, Hampshire Constabulary

Re-imagining ‘self-assessment’ in youth justice
Dr Roberta Evans, independent youth justice practitioner

The Law Commission’s Unfitness to Plead Project
Miranda Bevan, Law Commission

Relationships and support: Reducing future damage

Youth Support in the Emergency Department: A hospital intervention to reduce youth violence
Yael Ilan-Clarke, Jeffrey de Marco, Amanda Bunn & Professor Antonia Bifulco, Middlesex University

Relationships and Support: Responding to Child to Parent Violence
Dr Paula Wilcox, University of Brighton and  Michelle Pooley, Brighton & Hove City Council

ISS at mid point DTO
Laura Janes, the Howard League for Penal Reform

International perspectives

Scotland’s ‘Whole System Approach’ and the Reintegration of Young People Leaving Prison
Stephanie S. Smith, University of Strathclyde

Key Messages from an Independent Inquiry into an Australian Youth Justice System
Alasdair Roy, ACT Human Rights Commission, Australia

Experiences of Children in Conflict with Law in India: A Non Judicial Juvenile Justice System with a Judicial Attitude
Jaya Ghosh, Postgraduate Researcher, School of Law, Lancaster University


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