Youth Justice: Critical Readings

Edited by John Muncie, Gordon Hughes and Eugene
ISBN 0-7619-4914-3   

This collection is essential reading for anyone studying British
criminology and very useful for anyone working in the field of
youth justice in the UK.

It brings together material from many who have made a decisive
contribution to youth justice issues in the past 30 years.

The book is divided into six sections. The first two provide
context by, in turn, highlighting how unifying concepts such as
childhood, youth and delinquency have been and are continually
constructed and contested rather than fixed, and analysing the
origins of the current youth justice system in the early nineteenth

Key recent rebates are summarised – welfare and justice
approaches to tackling delinquency, and deterrence, risk management
and prevention strategies.

The frequency with which welfare versus justice arguments are
rehearsed and rerun in these articles is both striking and mildly
depressing, leaving one at times to wonder about all this analysis:
“Is that it?” On the other hand, since the answer to the question
is probably yes, it’s as good a book on the subject to have as

David Porteous is senior lecturer in applied social
studies, University of Luton.

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