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The Impact of Social Reaction on Contemporary Policy Responses to Children and Young People

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Part of the Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies book series (PSLS)

Abstract

This chapter explores the tangible consequences of social reaction. The chapter is structured into two related parts, which critically analyse contemporary policy responses to children and young people in Britain and in Northern Ireland specifically. Each part considers the proposition that there has been a progressively punitive shift in criminal justice and youth justice policies, driven by social, political and media reactions internationally and nationally, to crises concerning children and young people. This chapter also examines policy transfer and the United Kingdom’s recent legacy relating to children, young people, anti-social behaviour and crime. It considers whether new criminal justice and youth justice policies in Northern Ireland are inheriting the UK’s legacy, by maintaining the punitive ideologies and practices promoted under periods of direct rule.

Keywords

  • Contemporary Policy Responses
  • Youth Justice Policy
  • Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs)
  • United Nations Convention On The Rights Of The Child (UNCRC)
  • Scraton

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    New Labour’s 1997 Election Manifesto, ‘New Labour because Britain deserves better’, see: http://www.labour-party.org.uk/manifestos/1997/1997-labour-manifesto.shtml (accessed on 17 March 2010).

  2. 2.

    Graham and Bowling’s (1995) research (published by the Home Office), focused on why people desist from crime. Their analysis of household surveys completed by 2,529 young people, conclude that females ‘grow out of offending’, while young males continue to offend. The authors argue that young people must realise that their offending behaviour was wrong and take account of the consequences. They highlighted the related factors of general maturity, responsibility and moral development. This emphasis on individual realisation and responsibility was employed in New Labour’s policies, in particular ‘rights and responsibilities’ (see The Labour Party 1996).

  3. 3.

    McGarry (2001) in his opening critique of the range of perspectives surrounding the Conflict, argues that the dominant view is that Northern Ireland is ‘a place apart’; a result of its own ‘pathology’. McGarry (2001) quotes the Northern Ireland poet, John Hewitt’s (1907–1987) poem ‘Conversations in Hungary’, in which the Ulster poet depicts the usual attempt to ‘explain’ Ireland to the foreigner (Nairn 1981: 213) and also draws on a number of contemporary newspaper headlines, to illustrate his argument that in the contemporary setting this dominant view still exists.

  4. 4.

    The use of baton rounds and other responses police can use at times of public disorder and rioting are outlined in guidelines issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), see: http://www.acpo.police.uk/ (accessed on 23 March 2010). Also, the PSNI must adhere to Section 3 of the Criminal Law Act (NI) (1967) , which outlines the use/standard of force for the prevention of crime; the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989; the Police and Criminal Evidence (Amendment) Order 2007, No. 288 (N.I.2) and the PACE Codes of Practice 2007, which outline the power of police officers and regulate the practice of the police in their application of the legislation. The Police Ombudsman’s Office investigates complaints and has published a number of reports. See: http://www.policeombudsman.org/Publicationsuploads/PONI_BATON_REPORT_2005.pdf (accessed on 25 March 2010).

  5. 5.

    There is a wealth of research and literature on the impact of segregation and living in interface areas: see Jarman (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008); Conway and Byrne (2005); Byrne et al. (2006); Leonard (2006); Shirlow and Murtagh (2006); Hamilton et al. (2003); Heenan and Birrell (2011).

  6. 6.

    One example is the Holy Cross Primary School dispute, Ardoyne, North Belfast. In 2001 pupils and their parents experienced intimidation and violence by loyalist paramilitaries and required armed police escorts when making their daily journey to and from school. The Holy Cross dispute has been written about extensively, see Cadwallader (2004); Cox et al. (2006); McEldowney et al. (2011).

  7. 7.

    ‘Policy Transfer’ is defined generally as ‘a process in which knowledge about policies, administrative arrangements, institutions etc in one time and/or place is used in the development of policies/administrative arrangements and institutions in another time and/or place’ (Dolowitz and Marsh 1996: 344, cited in Newburn 2002: 166).

  8. 8.

    ‘Sin bins’ refer to family intervention projects. As media commentary outlines, they can include monitoring and visits to the family home, to ensure that children and young people attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals (see SIN BINS FOR WORTH FAMILIES, Daily Express, 23 July 2009), or the policy can include families being taken into care and placed in residential blocks dubbed ‘sin bins’ (see THOUSANDS OF ENGLAND’S WORST FAMILIES TO BE PLACED IN ‘SIN BINS’ TO IMPROVE BEHAVIOUR, Daily Mail, 22 July 2009).

  9. 9.

    As Reiner (2000: 68) and Mulcahy (2002: 279) note, senior British police officers visited Northern Ireland, in order ‘to discuss riot control and learn from their “success”’. The punitive measures and responses employed during riot and public disorder situations in Northern Ireland were replicated during the uprisings in Britain in the 1980s.

  10. 10.

    Extensive research reports on the conditions of imprisonment in Northern Ireland outline the routine breaches of a number of international standards, including the UNCRC, the Beijing Rules (1985), Havana Rules (1990) and Riyadh Guidelines (1990) (see Kilkelly et al. 2002; Convery and Moore 2006; Scraton and Moore 2005, 2007). Collectively this research concludes that many of the children incarcerated should not be in custody. This is further highlighted in reports by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate of Northern Ireland, who have emphasised that placing children and young people in custody, ‘breach[es] international safeguards, and inappropriate use of custody … remains a more pronounced problem in Northern Ireland than elsewhere in the UK’. See: http://www.cjini.org/CJNI/files/74/743c0eb6-5bc1-4a27-b08f-e0d17ad490e3.pdf (accessed on 27 April 2010).

  11. 11.

    See: http://www.nio.gov.uk/justice_ni_act_2002_expanatory_notes.pdf (accessed on 19 April 2010).

  12. 12.

    See: http://www.4ni.co.uk/northern_ireland_news.asp?id=19675 (accessed on 20 March 2010).

  13. 13.

    For the entire judgment, see: http://www.courtsni.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/705ED37E-0CC3-46CA-8D89-3B0B3CB9E372/0/j_j_GIRF4194.htm (accessed on 20 March 2010).

  14. 14.

    The current practice breaches the rights of children and young people – such as Article 40(2) (vii) of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), as enshrined by the Human Rights Act 1998 , which provide for privacy of children and young people in the justice system ‘at all stages of the proceedings’, and uphold the right to promote and protect family life. As outlined in Chap. 1, the most recent concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (October 2008) note that the government has not taken sufficient measures to protect children, in particular those subject to ASBOs and those who are targeted by negative media representation and ‘naming and shaming’ (para 36(b)) (see 2015 Concluding Observations also). They were also concerned ‘at the general climate of intolerance and negative public attitudes towards children, especially adolescents, which appears to exist in the State party, including in the media’ (para 24).

  15. 15.

    The Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NIACRO) is an organisation who works with children and young people who offend, offenders and ex-prisoners, and prisoners, their families and their children. See: http://www.niacro.co.uk/about-niacro/ (accessed on 1 March 2010).

  16. 16.

    Young men have been ‘named and shamed’ in their local communities, having been accused of burgling houses, as Baroness Blood (2008: 8) has commented: ‘Recent events being played out on our streets of naming and shaming young men as thieves is not the way forward’ for Northern Ireland, a society which is in transition from a period of violent conflict.

  17. 17.

    The strategy, ‘Building Safer, Shared and Confident Communities’ can be accessed here: http://www.dojni.gov.uk/index/media-centre/ford-announces-20m-community-safety-strategy.htm (accessed on 30 July 2012). See also: http://www.dojni.gov.uk/index/publications/publication-categories/pubs-policing-community-safety/css-july2012.pdf (accessed on 30 July 2012).

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Gordon, F. (2018). The Impact of Social Reaction on Contemporary Policy Responses to Children and Young People. In: Children, Young People and the Press in a Transitioning Society. Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-60682-2_3

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