skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 219793 Find in a Library
Title: Youth Justice?: The Impact of System Contact on Patterns of Desistance From Offending
Journal: European Journal of Criminology  Volume:4  Issue:3  Dated:July 2007  Pages:315-345
Author(s): Lesley McAra; Susan McVie
Date Published: July 2007
Page Count: 31
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article assesses the effectiveness of the Scottish model of youth justice in the context of a growing body of international research that challenges the "evidence base" of policy in many western jurisdictions.
Abstract: The article draws on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime in order to show how labeling processes within the cultures of juvenile justice agencies have the effect of recycling certain categories of youth into the youth justice system; whereas, other serious offenders escape formal processing. The findings indicate that the deeper a youth is carried into the formal processing system, the less likely he/she is to stop offending. The article concludes that the most significant factor in reducing offending is minimal formal intervention and maximum diversion to programming that does not have the trappings of criminal processing. The current Scottish practice of targeted early intervention is likely to widen the net of youth who are brought into contact with formal youth justice processing. Greater numbers of children are likely to be identified as at risk for delinquency, and any early hearing involvement will result in constant recycling into the system. The more intensive the forms of contact with youth justice agencies, the more damaging they become in the long term in reducing the risk of chronic delinquency. Forms of diversion that caution youth without recourse to formal intervention, such as the police decision to warn youth rather than refer them to formal contact with the youth justice system, are likely to reduce more serious future offending. The current Scottish practice of bringing youth to a hearing and placing them on social work supervision is not associated with a significant decline in serious offending. 9 tables and 50 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile justice policies
Index Term(s): Foreign juvenile justice systems; Juvenile Recidivism; Labeling theory; Police juvenile diversion; Scotland
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.