Conflict between the Home Office and the Treasury, and the introduction of the Youth Restorative Disposal.
Over the last ten years there has been a drive within legislation towards reducing the numbers of young people involved in the Criminal Justice System. The first move in this direction was initiated by the 1 billion pound expenditure in this area by the government (Audit Commission, 1996). Then followed the move towards prevention and early intervention; now, there is a new piece of legislation called the YRD. This aims to introduce a new pre-level to the Criminal Justice System ladder, and gives more power to the police officers at the time of arrest. However, this push to decrease the number of arrests conflicts with the Treasury’s targets that the police work towards. Oxfordshire is pioneering in the strength of its Prevention Team and its introduction of the Informal Warning System.
There is a clear drive from the Home Office to reduce the numbers and to prevent children and young people offending; this is outlined by section 37 of the Crime and Disorder Act (1998) in the description of Youth Justice System. This direction can also be seen in the resultant papers and legislation following the Children Act (1989). The YJB (YJB) shows the evolving legislation and the move towards prevention over a 10-year period, (YJB, 10 Years of Youth Justice Reform). The first direct focus on the need for some type of intervention is shown in the report, ‘Misspent Youth: Young People and Crime’ by the Audit Commission in 1996. This report highlights the financial impact that youth crime has on the economy and that a different approach needed to be introduced. Evidently, it is clear that from an early stage, the government has been aware that this is an area in need of attention.
The primary legislation that pertains to the Youth Justice System is the Children Act 1989, this significant piece of legislation has initiated change in many areas concerning youth...