Janus-Faced Youth Justice Work and the Transformation of Accountability

Armitage, Vici; Kelly, Laura and Phoenix, Jo (2016). Janus-Faced Youth Justice Work and the Transformation of Accountability. The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, 55(4) pp. 478–495.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/hojo.12181


This article revisits claims about the relationship between ‘standardisation’, ‘discretion’ and ‘accountability’ in youth justice made in the wake of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. We argue that less centralisation and less standardisation have transformed accountability, but this is experienced differently according to the place held in the organisational hierarchy. This recognition demands a more nuanced understanding of ‘practitioner discretion’, which can account for differences between managerial and frontline experiences of what we describe as ‘janus‐faced youth justice work’, and a broad definition of the youth justice field and associated actors.

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