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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 229624 
Title: Whose Account Counts?: Politics and Research in Youth Justice (From Youth Justice Handbook: Theory, Policy and Practice, P 73-82, 2010, Wayne Taylor, Rod Earle, and Richard Hester, eds. - See NCJ-229620)
Author(s): Jo Phoenix
Date Published: 2010
Page Count: 10
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: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This chapter develops the argument that since the late 1990s, British governmental priorities and objectives have structured a relationship between research (knowledge production) and professional practice in which youth justice research and practice now serve the demands of government policy.
Abstract: The author's basic argument is that, whereas academic inquiry and knowledge production continue outside the activities of government and are not necessarily linked to the development of professional practice, research conducted within these spheres of influence is increasingly utilitarian and instrumental. This means that research on youth justice that is funded and/or consumed by government organizations and policymakers is used to legitimate the direction and effect of successive political interventions into professional practice and policies that have driven youth justice in the last 10 years. Thus, "official" research on young offenders and youth justice practices is narrowly focused and excludes research that is outside the framework of specific policy or practice innovations. Hillyard et al. (2004) claim that the utility of current "official" criminal justice research is its maintenance and legitimizing of official definitions of "the problem," as well as defining the parameters within which it must be addressed; for example, "the problem" of "troublesome youth" is individualized and separated from the social context of their behavior. Setting the parameters of the research in this way means that the social, economic, and political conditions in which youth development and behavior occur are ignored. The focus of government research and policy is then on the problem behavior of individual youth. This raises issues as to how and in what ways researchers who focus on youth justice and practice can generate debate and challenge the narrow focus of evidence-based policy and the government-guided research that underlies it. 34 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile justice policies
Index Term(s): Foreign juvenile justice systems; Funding sources; Political influences; Research uses in policymaking
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