Just deserts? Developing practice in youth justice

Kubiak, Chris and Hester, Richard (2009). Just deserts? Developing practice in youth justice. Learning in Health and Social Care, 8(1) pp. 47–57.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-6861.2008.00194.x


This paper considers the issues involved in developing a programme for youth justice practitioners. Contemporary youth justice practice occurs in an increasingly managerialist and punitive context raising questions about how best to develop effective practitioners. It is argued that youth justice practice involves a recurring challenge of meeting situations of high complexity that must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, guided by a clear understanding of how offending behaviour is constituted. The Professional Certificate in Effective Practice is reviewed and it is argued that education must emphasise reflective understanding. A critique of competency based education in relation to the Diploma in Probation Studies is also presented arguing that such an approach renders invisible important aspects of practice. Recommendations are made for a curriculum for a youth justice programme which stresses humanism, reflective understanding of context and history, criminology, sociology and psychology, social exclusion, social control, risk, victimology and comparative youth justice.

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