The influence of neoliberalism on the development of the English youth justice system under New Labour

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This chapter examines the way in which neo-liberalism has impacted upon and consequently re-shaped the youth justice system in England and Wales in the period 1997-2010. Neo-liberal conceptions of the role of the state have encouraged the formulation of policies based on principles of social inequality, penal expansionism and on the diminution of welfare concerns. In the neo-liberal context less attention is paid to the social contexts of crime and more on prescriptions of individual/family/community responsibility and accountability. Neo-liberal discourse emphasises eliminating the concept of the community and replacing it with individual responsibility. (Gray, 2001) Social problems consequently become defined in terms of the individual rather than state responsibility. The best outcomes for society will be realised when governments retreat from involvement in social programs that breed welfare dependency (Gray, 2001). This chapter will show some of the relationships between the violations of law in youth and the neoliberal model as a factor of increasing marginalization of concern for the welfare needs of young people. It will critically examine whether the influence of neo-liberalism has led to a renewed criminalisation of young people and their families and argue that society must acknowledge that it, as well as the offender has some responsibility for youth offending.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrganising Neoliberalism: Markets, Privatisation and Justice
EditorsPhilip Whitehead, Paul Crawshaw
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherAnthem Press
Number of pages254
ISBN (Print)978-0857285331
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012

Publication series

NameKey Issues in Modern Society
PublisherAnthem Press


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