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Children and young people in custodyManaging the risk$
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Maggie Blyth, Chris Wright, and Robert Newman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781847422613

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847422613.001.0001

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Young people and parole: risk aware or risk averse?

Young people and parole: risk aware or risk averse?

(p.83) 7 Young people and parole: risk aware or risk averse?
Children and young people in custody

Hazel Kemshall

Policy Press

The United Kingdom currently has one of the highest juvenile prison populations in Western Europe. This is against a backdrop of falling crime rates but heightened public, media and political perceptions to the contrary. The Commissioner for Human Rights noted that ‘juvenile trouble-makers’ in the UK were ‘too rapidly drawn into the criminal justice system and young offenders are too readily placed in detention’. The decade following the murder of Jamie Bulger in the UK saw a ‘punitive populist’ response to youth crime, with a doubling of custodial sentences since 1992, in a decade that has seen youth crime decrease by 16 percent. Perceived scandals and crises in parole and the community management of offenders (including young offenders) have also resulted in an increased tightening of the system. Corrective actions can create a risk-averse culture (and are often the product of a politically risk-averse culture). Over time, there is potential for the balance to move from calculated risk taking to risk aversion, from defensibility to defensiveness.

Keywords:   United Kingdom, young people, parole, risk taking, risk aversion, youth crime, offenders

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