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Reflections on the age of criminal responsibility; youth incarceration and school exclusion

Some interesting links from the web in recent weeks. As usual Scotland is leading the way in making sensible decisions:https://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/2004329/scottish-commissioner-raise-age-of-criminal-responsibility-to-15?utm_content=&utm_campaign=061017_DailyNews&utm_source=Children%20%26%20Young%20People%20Now&utm_medium=adestra_email&utm_term=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cypnow.co.uk%2Fcyp%2Fnews%2F2004329%2Fscottish-commissioner-raise-age-of-criminal-responsibility-to-15Whereas the situation in the US is getting better for white children and young people it is getting worse for black children and young people – and the behaviours for which any child is incarcerated are shocking. Some are so minor that an adult doing something similar would never receive such a sentence.What is also shocking is that there is no minimum age of criminal responsibility in many states and so children as young as 7 can be locked up.https://www.teenvogue.com/story/youth-incarceration-in-the-united-states-by-the-numbers?utm_source=Backstop+News+Bulletin&utm_campaign=f0834bf51b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_02_08&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_39a0272509-f0834bf51b-230339585It is interesting that one of the main drivers for restorative justice interventions in schools in the 1990’s was Tony Blair’s Street Crime initiative when it was shown that excluded young people are much more likely to be out on the streets and getting involved in delinquent behaviours, and therefore more likely to be in trouble with the law. By addressing ‘exclusionable’ behaviours restoratively young people had a better chance of staying in school and getting the support they needed.Mind you – it is worth remembering that what schools exclude for varies enormously and there is no de facto link between a certain behaviour and whether or not a child finds themselves at risk of exclusion.

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