Realising resilience in youth justice

Maxwell, Maureen (2015) Realising resilience in youth justice. In: Crime, Justice and Social Democracy: 3rd International Conference, 8-11th July 2015, Brisbane, Australia.

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The concept of resilience, while still evolving, offers the possibility of addressing the needs of
young offenders outside of custody. England and Wales has the highest rate of child
imprisonment in Europe and one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility at 10 years of
age (Howard League for Penal Reform 2008). Young people who populate the criminal justice
system come from the most disadvantaged in society and it can be argued that many are
victims before they become offenders (Jacobson, Bhardwa, Gyateng et al. 2010). Therefore,
these young people have a number of unmet needs which cannot be addressed in custody and,
although community sentences offer a better opportunity to at least address their needs, what
is required is a more holistic approach. It is possible that ways to realise resilience in the
young person’s community could provide the best way to address their criminal behaviour.
Acknowledging their hidden resilience and focusing upon their strengths, rather than their
deficits, offers the best way of realising the resilience of young people involved with the
criminal justice system. According to Ungar (2011), resilience is observed when individuals
engage in behaviours that help them to navigate their way to resources they need to flourish.
Adequate resources require increased social justice through the more equitable distribution
of resources allowing for people’s social ecologies to meet those needs. Community sentences
in a growth-fostering environment offer the best way forward.

Keywords:hidden resilience, youth justice
Subjects:L Social studies > L990 Social studies not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
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ID Code:19820
Deposited On:24 Feb 2016 16:33

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