The ‘punitive’ turn in juvenile justice: cultures of control and rights compliance in western Europe and the USA.
Youth Justice, 8(2) pp. 107–121.
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Separate systems of justice for children and young people have always been beset by issues of contradiction and compromise. There is compelling evidence that such ambiguity is currently being `resolved' by a greater governmental resort to neo-conservative punitive and correctional interventions and a neo-liberal responsibilizing mentality in which the protection historically afforded to children is rapidly dissolving. This resurgent authoritarianism appears all the more anachronistic when it is set against the widely held commitment to act within the guidelines established by various children's rights conventions. Of note is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, frequently described as the most ratified human rights convention in the world, but lamentably also the most violated. Based on international research on juvenile custody rates and children's rights compliance in the USA and Western Europe, this article examines why and to what extent `American exceptionalism' might be permeating European nation states.
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