Chaos, containment and change: Responding to persistent offending by young people

Susan Batchelor, Fergus McNeill

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    22 Citations (Scopus)


    This article reviews policy developments in Scotland concerning 'persistent young offenders' and then describes the design of a study intended to assist a local planning group in developing its response. The key findings of a review of casefiles of young people involved in persistent offending are reported. It emerges that youth crime and young people involved in offending are more complex and heterogeneous than is sometimes assumed. This, along with a review of some literature about desistance from offending, reaffirms the need for properly individualised interventions. Studies of 'desisters' suggest the centrality of effective and engaging working relationships in this process. However, these studies also re-assert the significance of the social contexts of workers' efforts to bring 'change' out of 'chaos'. We conclude therefore that the 'new correctionalism' must be tempered with appreciation of the social exclusion of young people who offend.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)27-43
    Number of pages16
    JournalYouth Justice
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • persistent young offenders
    • youth crime
    • social exclusion

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