By Steve Bradford and Rod MorganOf the ten pledges offered by New Labour in their 1997 Election Manifesto, one concerned crime. It contained a specific youth justice commitment: ‘We will be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime, and halve the time it takes persistent juvenile offenders to come to court’. In the 2001 Manifesto, Labour reported that they had substantially achieved this pledge: crime was falling and ‘The time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders is down from 142 days to 89 days-on track to halve the time within the five years promised in 1997’. Youth justice had been reformed and the Government would move on: it would build on the youth justice reforms by tackling provision for 18- to 20-year-olds. This article addresses four issues: why did youth justice reform figure prominently in New Labour’s 1997 plans; in what respects has the system of youth justice been reformed; have the reforms been a success; and what does the immediate future for youth justice hold?
Public Money & Management. Volume 25 Issue 5. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9302.2005.00485.x