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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 229621 
Title: Structural Disadvantage: Youth, Class, Crime and Poverty (From Youth Justice Handbook: Theory, Policy and Practice, P 5-22, 2010, Wayne Taylor, Rod Earle, and Richard Hester, eds. - See NCJ-229620)
Author(s): Joe Yates
Date Published: 2010
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview; Issue Overview
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: In critically examining issues regarding youth, crime, class, and poverty, this chapter first reviews historical continuities in the representation of class and crime, followed by an analysis of the adverse impact of structural disadvantage on the development of marginalized working-class youth in 21st century Great Britain.
Abstract: The main argument of this chapter is that socioeconomic environment should not only be considered in relation to conventional criminological conceptualizations of crime as defined by the state, but also in relation to broader issues stemming from social harms inflicted on marginalized youth. In its historical analysis, the chapter notes that there are continuities in the representation of the "criminality" of working-class youth. These continuities have not only shaped how criminality is represented and how the state responds to it, but also the nature of adolescent development. Youth and children who grow up in poverty are more likely to suffer debilitating health problems than their wealthy counterparts. Deficits in education translate into limited employment opportunities. In the free-market economy fostered by recent British governments, marginalized youth are left to make it on their own in a competitive environment that favors the well-financed and well-educated. Britain's criminal justice system does not make it any easier for marginalized youth, as children and youth from the most disadvantaged families and the poorest communities are the focus of the police and the youth justice system. This chapter does not argue that there is a direct or causal link between class inequality, poverty, and criminality. Rather, it argues that these factors shape youth's experiences of crime as both perpetrators and victims. Further, government policymakers and the criminal justice system fail to recognize that the socioeconomically disadvantaged are the most vulnerable to the criminal and socially harmful behaviors of the powerful. 90 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Economic influences; Foreign juvenile delinquency; Foreign juvenile justice systems; Juvenile justice policies; Poverty and crime; Social conditions
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