Contains first-hand personal accounts by young offenders about why they offend. What are persistent young offenders, children of 14 to 16 or even younger, really like? What do they think about when they steal or rob people? Why do they think they are always getting into trouble? In this vivid, compelling and combative work Sarah Curtis chronicles at first hand young people talking about all aspects of their chaotic lives, their hopes for the future and their anxieties – where possible recording their parents views also.
Following an analysis of youth justice based on 20 years direct experience she points out that we do know how to prevent much juvenile offending through community projects of proven benefit and other tried and tested means of reintegrating children in trouble with the law into schools, colleges, communities and careers. To this end, she makes suggestions which go well beyond the reforms of successive governments which have often preferred the rhetoric of punishment rather than directing adequate resources into more effective and constructive outcomes.
‘A positive addition to the extensive literature on juvenile justice and young offenders… The strength of the book is its strong challenge to prevalent ways of thinking about young offenders and the humanity and practicality of its approach to the issue‘: Claire McDiarmid, Scolag legal Journal
Sarah Curtis has been a youth court and family court magistrate since 1978. Her much acclaimed work Juvenile Offending: Prevention Through Intermediate Treatment was published in 1989. A former Times journalist, she has worked in community relations and was co-author of a pioneering series of strip-cartoon stories for teenagers about health and social issues.