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Evidence- Based Youth Justice? Some Valuable Lessons from an Evaluation for the Youth Justice Board

Wilcox, Aidan
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) Youth Justice Vol.3 No.1 pp.22-35

This article explores the reasons behind government support for the evidence-based
approach and considers the limitations of this concept. In the criminal justice field the
government has made repeated claims that it is using evidence to help inform policy.
Drawing on the experience of an evaluation of restorative justice (RJ) projects –
commissioned by the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB) – the article
concludes that, in this instance, the YJB by-passed an evidence-based approach and gave
more priority to developing practice than to the needs of rigorous evaluation. On a more
positive note, it is argued that the YJB has recognised the tension between the needs of
dynamic policy development and the requirements of rigorous evaluation, and its recent
approach to evaluation signals a move towards the latter. (author’s abstract)


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