Living it: children, young people, justice: November 2014

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(1) A good quality print-on-demand paper copy for $11.80 (about £7.00) is also available from HP MagCloud. Sorry that the sums are in dollars, but the printing is done in Europe and delivery times are usually no more than a week from order.
(2) Free download of the complete issue as a .pdf including editorials, content lists, and a back page briefing: Scottish Justice Matters 2:3 The Living it: children, young people and justice issue.

You can also download each article bundled with editorial and advertising and with a unique URL ready for citation: keep scrolling!


This issue’s focus on the lived perspectives of children, young people and criminal justice, has been guest edited by Claire Lightowler of the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice, University of Strathclyde, Brian Rogers and Susie Cameron.

“Living it’ articles

Theme editorial.“Our main aim in editing this issue has been to create a space for those who had contact with the justice system as young people to share their experiences and reflections.This issue represents an attempt to shift power and control a bit from the professionals who usually edit these types of things, to people who have lived it.”

Youth Advantage Outreach Susie Cameron writes about how it feels to work with Youth Advantage Outreach. “Conducted by the Army’s Recruiting Group alongside Police Scotland and other agencies, the five day residential courses provide diversionary activities for young people aged 14-17 who are on the cusp of crime, disadvantaged, disaffected or disengaged from society”.

Time to Change. Aimie Robertson writes about her childhood experience of having a brother in prison. “My brother was sentenced when I was only 12 years old, and at the time, I couldn’t imagine anything more shameful or shocking”.

growing up hard snapshotGrowing up is hard to do. Nina Vaswani explores the links between childhood trauma and offending. “My own research with 33 young men in HM YOI Polmont found that 91% of these young men had been bereaved, and many had suffered traumatic and multiple losses”.

What criminal justice social workers do. Jane Kelly writes of her work with Moray Council.“Enabling young people to remain in the community by offering alternatives to secure care and custody is not only cost effective but contributes to better outcomes. “

Moving on from a violent childhood. ‘Kate’ reflects on her future and her past. “From as young as I can remember violence was just a part of growing up, a way of life.”

mental health snapshotMental Health Provision for Young People is Just Not Good Enough. Sophie Pilgrim outlines the crisis in mental health services. “We need high level strategic management and greater prioritisation in order to get a grip on what is a critical situation before it gets any worse and creates further disadvantage for one of the most vulnerable groups in our society.”

Cyberbullying. Helen Cowie looks at the impact on young people. “Face to face bullying is a well-known risk factor for the well-being of children and young people. The recent emergence of cyberbullying indicates that perpetrators have turned their attention to technology as a powerful means of exerting their power and control over others”.
Two of our guest editors, interviewed two 16 year old boys from Glasgow about their experiences of cyber-bullying. “The boys felt that adults didn’t understand the scale or significance of the issue”.
In his concluding comments Brian Donnelly stresses that cyberbullying is about relationships, not technology. “The behaviour appears to be migrating, as children spend more time online, the behaviour they have always exhibited and experienced comes with them”.

got your back snapshotWho’s got your back? Charlotte Bozic surveyed young people about who’d made a positive difference to their lives, and this is what they told her.

Getting a Job. Richard Thomson describes the barriers that young people with convictions have to overcome in the job market. “The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 has not been amended in Scotland and it allows Scottish employers to consider the relevance of most convictions for much longerthan in England and Wales as it stands.”
Brian Rogers shares his own experience (with a happy ending). “I’ve never got a job when asked to declare my convictions.”
Josh Littlejohn’s Social Bite sandwich shops aims to put that right. ” . . . if you employ someone from a background of homelessness, whilst there are challenges, if it works out you have an employee that really values the opportunity and you have a really loyal long-term member of staff.”

Maximum Diversion, Minimum Intervention. Lesley McAra and Susan McVie apply the research findings from the Edinburgh Study on Youth Transitions and Crime to the Kilbrandon principles. “Being caught has deleterious consequences for youngsters, serving to diminish rather than enhance their life-chances.”

School Exclusion. Karen Pryde reflects on her work with students at risk of exclusion. “It is clear that exclusion is not a cure, but nor is overlooking unacceptable behaviour.”

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Current issues

Children and Young People Experiencing Domestic Abuse. Anni Donaldson asks: are we getting it right? “The cross-cutting nature of domestic abuse presents a challenge to society’s views regarding gender roles, parenting and to professional cultures.”

Beyond Reconvictions. Justice analyst Catherine Bisset describes a new approach to evaluating effective interventions to reduce reconvictions. “But here’s the problem. If changing the behaviour of people who offend is hard, then measuring whether you’ve done it is arguably even harder.”

military snapshotResponding to Armed Forces Veterans in Trouble. Gerard McEeaneny of Apex outlines what we know and how Scottish services are helping. “Many can feel that they have let their regiment down if they are in prison or have a community sentence.”


Aberdeen Beach Boulevard and the Bouley Bashers. A problem that’s gone away? Kevin Wallace gives a police perspective on the drivers, the community and antisocial behaviour measures. ” . . . the Dispersal Order was successful, however it was never going to be sustainable and a continuation of traditional policing methods was necessary.”

The ‘Glasgow System’: class, gender, poverty, prostitution and the policing of venereal disease in 19thc Glasgow. In the first of two articles, Anna Forrest describes the curious alliance between medical authorities and the police. “Specials arbitrarily identified (on the basis of their appearance) and ‘tested’ women and girls, mainly the unmarried and unemployed, by requiring them to give an account of how they earned their living.”
In the next issue (March 2015), Anna considers the evidence for child prostitution in Victorian Glasgow.


Calling for a Global Study on Children Deprived of their Liberty. Anna Tomasi describes a new initiative by Defence for Children International. “To turn rights into reality we first need to analyse and understand the depth the situation on the ground. It has in fact been officially recognised that there is a serious lack of data relating to the situation of children in detention . . .”


Understanding Diversity. A service user interviewed Shoket Aksi of Glasgow’s Youth Community Support Agency about working with black and minority ethnic young people in the justice system.

A day in the life . . .

Secure Care: what’s is all about? Routines! Becca writes for us about being in secure care. “Everything is risk assessed here, whether we can go into the unit or sit at the dinner table.”

panopticon snapshot

Take 5

Take 5. We asked influential MSPs “In a recent lecture, Professor Lesley Mcara said that it was a ‘national disgrace’ that the age of criminal responsibility in Scotland is still 8 years old. What is your view?”. This is their response.

Book review

Briege Nugent reviews The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan. ” . . . Fagan has constructed a compelling story about a young woman in care who doesn’t know who she is or where she is going . . .”.

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