- Academic Registry
Programme & Unit Catalogues

SP20344: Youth justice

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: EX 90%, OT 10%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Exam 90% (EX 90%)
  • Other 10% (OT 10%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Description: Aims:
This unit aims to: 1. provide a critical overview of youth justice policy and the criminal justice response to children in conflict with the law, including an evaluation of alternative approaches. 2. engage in a critical analysis of trends in youth crime and whehter or not a criminal justice response is the most effective. 3. adopt an interdisciplinary approach, drawing upon sociological, criminological, legal and rights based perspectives to explore the practice and policy of youth justice.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the unit, students should be able to:
* Critically evaluate the historical evolution of the youth justice system, demonstrating an awareness of relevant themes covered in the module (including childhood, punishment, the welfare of the child and children's rights).
* Analyse and assess the relevance of social, cultural, political and economic factors upon the direction of youth justice policy.
* Analyse and assess the participation of young people in crime, including an evaluation of relevant predictive factors where appropriate.
* Critically evaluate the legal and criminal justice response to children in conflict with the law.

The unit will foster the following intellectual skills:
* The ability to draw on and synthesise evidence from a range of sources
* The ability to assess the merits and appropriateness of different explanations for crime and deviance
* The ability to develop a reasoned argument and exercise critical judgement
The unit will foster the following professional/practical skills:
* The ability to critically reflect on different theoretical/methodological approaches within criminology
* Written and oral communication skills
The unit will foster the following transferable/key skills:
* The ability to develop and present a well-structured, coherent essay.
* The ability to marshal evidence and theory to support or challenge an argument in such a way as to demonstrate a critical awareness of the origin and bases of knowledge
* The ability to apply key concepts in criminology and cognate disciplines to a range of problems
* The ability to work and communicate as individuals, as well as in a team
* Skills in information technology
* Critical and analytical skills.

This unit will focus on the criminal justice response to children in conflict with the law in England and Wales. The prevalence and nature of youth crime has been a persistent concern of at least the last two hundred years and regularly captures the attention of media and political debate. More recent concerns have centred upon the prevalence of gang violence, knife crime, online crime and anti-social behaviour. This unit will examine trends in youth crime and youth justice policy as well as evaluating the range of possible responses to youth crime. It will explore, for example, how the tension between conceptualising juvenile delinquents as 'children in trouble' or 'children in need' stimulates or inspires youth justice policy and the nature of the criminal justice response. Although the unit will focus primarily on the youth justice system in England and Wales, reference will be made to comparative examples as and when appropriate.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

SP20344 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2020/21 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2021/22 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2020/21.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.