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Foucault’s Law: The Crime and Disorder Act 1998

Smith, Roger
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) Youth Justice Vol.1 No. 2 pp. 17-29

This article draws on the theories of Michael Foucault to develop a particular characterization of the Crime and Disorder Act. 1998. In short, it is argued that Foucault’s historical portrayal of the penal system finds clear and strong echoes in the recent UK criminal justice legislation. The development of sophisticated techniques of discipline and control fund in key aspects of the 1998 Act reflects his description of finely graded and systematically applied interventions in the context of delinquent (and pre-delinquent) behavior. The implications of this are considered, both for the burgeoning machinery of youth justice, and also for young people who are likely to be subjected to these intensified forms of coercive practice.


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