Discrimination promotes oppressive policies and the unequal treatment of youth within the justice system. It was recently shown that a higher proportion of black and mixed-parentage males are remanded in custody (when compared to their white counterparts), according to a comprehensive study commissioned by the Youth Justice Board (15). Recent studies like the one above demonstrate the persistence of discrimination within the justice system. Attempts are presently being made to counteract the serious joint problems of discrimination and oppression with youth justice.
Notions of justice and equality are at the heart of the reforms currently being implemented within the Youth Justice System. Although the promotion of equality and anti-discrimination measures are not new to the Youth Justice System – they have in fact been under implementation for more than four years – these initiatives are important because they seek to tackle significant institutional issues such as discrimination against visible minorities within the UK’s Youth Justice arena. Seeking to address the evolution of Youth Justice initiatives, this essay will discuss what has been introduced and evaluate the originality of these new initiatives. Accordingly, we will explore the principles underpinning the initiatives and discuss the consequences of these initiatives for both society and young people within the Youth Justice realm. The effectiveness of these initiatives in dealing with the problem of youth crime will be analyzed and we will critically evaluate what is missing from youth justice provision. Our analysis will focus primarily on the anti-discrimination measures presently being implemented in the United Kingdom’s Youth Justice System and key terms, including discrimination, exclusion, racism, sexism, prejudice, diversity and labeling will be defined to help outline the parameters of this essay.