Community, Crime and Young Offenders

Janet Jamieson, University of Liverpool

Community is a term overlaid with alluring connotations and resonances. It is thought to offer an attractive means of (re)creating cohesion across a fragmented society and thus is often linked to a positive relationship with crime control and crime prevention, such that more community is believed to result in less crime (Crawford,1997). This paper addresses the concept of 'community' from the perspective of children and young people to offend exploring the meanings and interpretations they attach to community and whether their experiences of 'community' impact on their offending behaviour. The paper will also address the youth justice policy context in the UK wherein right realist priorities of retributive justice and exclusion have been conjoined with left realist priorities of social justice and inclusion (Muncie, 2000). Thus the views and experiences of children and young people's in respect of the youth justice system will be analysed to explore notions of exclusion, rehabilitation and inclusion in order to examine the relative import of 'community' to policies which seek to address youth crime.

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Updated 05/20/2006