Source: (1998) Policy Studies 19(3/4).

The title of this paper, borrowed from a government White Paper, is concerned to explore the viability of the proposed stance towards youth crime and disorder exemplified in the UK Crime and Disorder Act 1998. In that legislation, much is made of the notion of ‘making amends’ as a way of informing young people of both the nature and the impact of their offending behaviour, in the hope that this will prevent further re-offending and repair some of the damage experienced by the victim of crime. This principle of reparation has been available to public discourse on law and order for some time. Much has been made of the practical value of this principle in Australia and New Zealand translated as it has been in that context from Braithwaite’s (1989) exposition of reintegrative shaming. In the UK various attempts have been made to introduce similar projects from the Home Office sponsored projects of the mid-1980s to the much publicised work currently being undertaken in the Thames Valley area. Such international and national ‘successes’ notwithstanding, the question remains as to what might work, how, when, and for whom, in relation to this general principle of making amends. In introducing the importance of the concept of trust, this paper will explore these questions both for the individuals involved in the process of making amends, for the communities in which such projects may be situated, and for the criminal justice process as a whole.