Source: (2006) Youth Justice Vol.2 No.3 pp. 141-150

In a recent article in this journal, John Muncie (2002) argued that contemporary youth justice was increasingly influenced by ideas imported from abroad. Most notably, he suggested, the dominant influence consisted of a ‘partial and piecemeal’ selection of elements of restorative justice from Australasia and Scotland, together with the utilization of a more American-influenced ‘what works’ agenda. Using the example of Referral Orders, this article challenges his contention that this provides a ‘dubious basis for reform’. We argue than in fact the Referral Orders’ pilots were both a positive example of policy transfer and, though not unproblematic, were also illustrative of some of the important aspects of the ‘what works’ agenda.