Source: (2003) Criminal Justice. 3(3): 287-315.

This article examines the ideas of citizenship, social capital and community, and of personal and social responsibility, which have become prominent in Great Britain since the election of the Labour Government in 1997, and also in a number of other, mostly English-speaking, countries. They became especially prominent during the early summer of 2003 with the publication of the Prime Minister’s Progress and Justice in the 21st Century (Blair, 2003), the Home Secretary’s Civil Renewal: A New Agenda (Blunkett, 2003a), and Hazel Blears’ Communities in Control: Public Services and Local Socialism (2003). The present paper reflects on the changing nature of the debate and applies the ideas of citizenship, social capital and community to the country’s response to crime, to the current issues regarding the nature and purpose of criminal justice, and to the structure and accountability of the criminal justice services. It draws attention to the limitations of the criminal justice system, and of the state, in providing solutions to the range of problems connected with crime and the various forms of social disorder and unacceptable behaviour; and suggests how ideas of citizenship can help to inform social policy and professional practice, illuminate the reform of public services, and offer a sense of purpose and direction which will give vitality and legitimacy to developments in the future. Author's abstract.