By John Pitts.
Russell House Publishing
ISBN 1 903855 23 3
This book is a tour de force, which should provide both an insight into and an inspiration for strategies to effectively address the causes of youth crime in the UK. Politicians, police and the magistracy should read this book, as well as statutory and voluntary sector managers and practitioners responsible for services to children, young people and their families.
Pitts provides a wide-ranging political and economic context through an analysis of approaches for remedying the destabilisation of communities in France and the East End of London. Successful outcomes are seen as those achieved through sustained investment in, and genuine partnerships with local communities (developing collective efficacy and solidarity) and a coherent set of strategies involving housing and employers. It also helps to have an enhanced profile for social and youth work professionals. The book argues that the state should act as a creator of opportunities (France) as opposed to being a rigorous controller (the UK).
The book is a reminder that if demands to conform to social norms are to be made of young people, it is necessary to ensure they experience obvious benefits from doing so.
Charlie Beaumont is development and projects manager, Kent Youth Offending Service.