Source: (2002) Visiting Experts' Papers, 118th International Training Course, Resource Material Series No. 59, pp. 128-143. Tokyo: United Nations Asia and Far East Institute For the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. Downloaded 14 February 2005.

I think the first thing to say is that the reform of the youth justice system has been a big political priority in my country over the last 4 or 5 years. I don’t know if any of you follow politics in the United Kingdom, but in 1997, we had a new government of the Labour Party, lead by Mr. Tony Blair, and this was after a long time in opposition, and in fact he made his reputation in part because of his polices on crime, and he invented a slogan or a saying, ‘Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’ which sums up the Labour Party approach. They think that we should be quite harsh on criminals, and punish them and so on. But they also recognize that the roots of criminality and crime lay in social conditions, in the depravation, poverty, bad housing and so on. And they are trying to change the way in which people live, in their lives, to make it less likely that they would be criminals too. There was a specific interest in the youth justice system. The government said, ‘if you look at all the people in prison, all of the adults in prison, most of them started to commit the crimes when they were children.’ So if we can make it that this part of the system works better, it would be a good, a very good investment because we would be reducing the number of adult offenders. (excerpt)

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