What can we know, and how can we know it?

Authored by: Wendy Stainton Rogers

Youth Justice Handbook

Print publication date:  October  2009
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9781843927174
eBook ISBN: 9781315820064
Adobe ISBN: 9781317821755

10.4324/9781315820064.ch10

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Abstract

Is youth crime getting worse or getting better? Does the ‘scaled approach’ (YJB 2009) target those most in need of help – or merely stigmatize the most deprived? Does locking up young offenders act as a deterrent or is it just a breeding ground for greater criminality? Those working in youth justice are constantly beset by claims and counter-claims to ‘know’ the answers to this kind of question, and it can be hard to know what and whom to believe. Yet practice and policy in youth justice need to be properly informed by valid and reliable evidence. The question is: how do we obtain evidence of this kind, and, when we get it, how do we know if we can trust it?

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