Referral Orders: Some Reflections on Policy Transfer and 'What Works'

Earle, Rod; Newburn, Tim and Crawford, Adam (2002). Referral Orders: Some Reflections on Policy Transfer and 'What Works'. Youth Justice, 2(3) pp. 141–150.


In a recent article in this journal, John Muncie (2002) argued that contemporary youth justice was increasingly influenced by ideas imported from abroad. Most notably, he suggested, the dominant influence consisted of a ‘partial and piecemeal’ selection of elements of restorative justice from Australasia and Scotland, together with the utilization of a more American-influenced ‘what works’ agenda. Using the example of Referral Orders, this article challenges his contention that this provides a ‘dubious basis for reform’. We argue that in fact the Referral Orders’ pilots were both a positive example of policy transfer and, though not unproblematic, were also illustrative of some of the important aspects of the ‘what works’ agenda.

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