Source: (1998) The Howard Journal 37(1): 34-51

This article examines current concerns with youth crime in England and Wales and offers an innovative approach to the prevailing options being proposed. It encourages the use of family group conferences, an internationally developing model applied both to child welfare and youth justice. This article outlines the origins and principles of the model and addresses the issues for implementation in the youth justice system in England and Wales. It concludes with a warning about hasty introductions without due consideration of the relevant issues. Please note that towards final submission of this article, a number of important developments in the debate around youth justice were presented in the Audit Commission (1996) Report Misspent Youth: Young People and Crime, and in the new government’s proposals. It is hoped that readers will appreciate the difficulties of continuing revisions to an article in the light of new material and read it with appreciation of the considerable time lag between first submission, acceptance and publication.