British Criminology Conference

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


With Susan McVie: 'Victims of Justice? Young People, Agency Contact and Deviancy Amplification' Abstract: Over the past decade, youth justice discourse in many western jurisdictions has become dominated by the mantra of evidence based policy. Informed by the results of research on risk and protective factors and (more especially) the precepts underpinning the what works agenda, huge resources have been devoted to early intervention initiatives (for at risk children and their families) as well as to specialist programmes aimed at reducing re-offending amongst older, more persistent offenders. As a counterweight to this, however, there is a growing body of international comparative research which indicates that contact with agencies of youth justice and experience of more severe forms of sanctioning, in particular, are likely to result in enhanced rather than diminished offending risk (see labelling theory) that contact with any youth justice system of whatever ethos is inherently criminogenic.This paper presents findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, which show how early experience of adversarial police contact and involvement with (predominantly welfarist) institutions of juvenile justice, appear to amplify serious offending in the mid to late teenage years. It argues nonetheless that the principles on which the current Scottish juvenile justice system was originally based, offer the best model for delivering reductions in offending. However the effectiveness of the system has been undermined by biases in gate-keeping practices, failures of implementation and over-optimistic target-setting.
PeriodJul 2006
Event typeConference
LocationGlasgow, United KingdomShow on map


  • youth justice
  • young people
  • deviancy amplification
  • what works
  • policing