Illusions of difference: comparative youth justice in the devolved United Kingdom.
British Journal of Criminology, 51(1) pp. 40–57.
Surprisingly, there has been little or no systematic research to date that has explored the significance
of UK devolution for youth justice policy and practice. This article explores the extent of differential
justice in the United Kingdom, particularly as it is expressed in the myriad action plans, criminal justice reviews, frameworks for action, delivery plans and offending strategies that have surfaced since 1998. In particular, the article considers how far policy convergence and divergence are reflected through the discourses of risk, welfare, restoration and children’s rights in the four administrations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For comparative criminology, the
United Kingdom offers a unique opportunity to explore how international and national pressures towards convergence and/or divergence can be challenged, rebranded, versioned, adapted or resisted at sub-national and local levels.
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