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Maximum Diversion, Minimum Intervention: An Evidence-Base for Kilbrandon Professor Lesley McAra School of Law University of Edinburgh 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Maximum Diversion, Minimum Intervention: An Evidence-Base for Kilbrandon Professor Lesley McAra School of Law University of Edinburgh 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Maximum Diversion, Minimum Intervention: An Evidence-Base for Kilbrandon Professor Lesley McAra School of Law University of Edinburgh 1

2 2 The ‘Kilbrandon Philosophy’ (50+1 years old!) Holistic ethos: offending a symptom of deeper-seated need, linked to failures in normal up-bringing process/social malaise Minimal intervention, avoid stigma and criminalisation Social educational model of care, generic social work All decisions in ‘best interests’ of child ‘Common ownership’: community involvement via lay panel Preamble to the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968: ‘ make further provision for promoting social welfare in Scotland’

3 Key messages Edinburgh Study findings strongly supportive of the Kilbrandon ethos Current systems/practices have not always lived up to Kilbrandon aims We best celebrate Kilbrandon’s 51 st birthday by: - Re-embracing a maximum diversion, minimum intervention approach to children in conflict with the law - Switching resources to tackle poverty, promote educational inclusion, and support fragile and fragmented communities 3

4 4 The Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime ( Funded by ESRC, Nuffield Foundation and Scottish Government Longitudinal study tracking 4,300 young people since 1998 Aims to explore pathways into and out of offending Multiple data sources including: self-reports (age 12-17); semi-structured interviews (age 13 and 18); official records (social work, children’s hearing, school, criminal convictions); parents/caregiver survey; pastoral teacher survey; Geographic Information System (police recorded crime and census data) Most recent phase (age 25) aimed to assess the impact of criminal justice careers on desistance from criminal offending (follow-up of those ever referred to the children’s hearing system on offence grounds and two matched groups) Study team Co-Directors : Lesley McAra and Susan McVie Researchers (most recent phase): Sarah MacQueen, Aileen Barclay, Richard Withington, Bob Bonnar, Steve Kirkwood, Karen Cooper, Briege Nugent, Liz Levy, Jackie Palmer

5 Deeds are symptomatic of needs Offending is ‘normal’ – 95% of cohort involved at some point Only very small proportion become persistent and serious offenders These are the most vulnerable young people in the cohort

6 6 Violence and vulnerability

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9 9 Patterns of violence and agency contact Persistent violence by age 12% Stopped offending by age 23 Known to agencies98 Unknown to agencies100

10 10 The usual suspects (McAra and McVie 2005, 2007a, 2010) Working cultures of police and Reporter mean that certain categories of youngsters are constantly recycled into system Children with ‘previous form’ - 7 x more likely to be formally charged by police - 3 x more likely to be brought to a hearing by Reporter ‘Well the police tend to check up on us a lot.. For no reason. They just drive in and look at who’s there just because they think things happen there. ‘ (Boy aged 13) ‘But if I do get stopped or anything like that, sometimes my name, ‘cause like my dad and my uncle have been in trouble and stuff like that. So I can get a bit of hassle.’ (Boy aged 13) ‘My friends had a car, and we got pulled at the top of the road. Five minutes later we got pulled half way down the road [by different officers]. Five minutes later we got pulled at the bottom of the road [by a further set of officers]. The police think ‘they’re young, they’re wearing hats, they’re in an old banging car, oh that car’s stolen’. ‘(Boy aged 18)

11 11 Youth to adult transitions: up-tariffing the vulnerable and entrenching poverty (McAra 2014, McAra and McVie 2007b, 2010) Of those ever referred on offence grounds to CHS: - 56% at least one criminal conviction (by age 22) compared with 10% of those with no hearing record - 20% at least one period of detention (by age 24) compared with 1 % of those with no hearing record Key factors predicting transition from children’s hearings to adult system: ***Assessed as most ‘needy’ in reporter files*** - Excluded from school by 3 rd year of secondary school - Early history of police warning/charges - Being male Key factors predicting imprisonment by age 24: ***Excluded from school by 1 st year of secondary education*** -Residential care by age 12 - Being male - Offence history includes violence by age 12 Key factors predicting NEET status by age 18 ***Ever placed on compulsory measures of care by CHS*** - Family poverty - History of adversarial police contact - Lowest aspirations - Lowest attachment to School ***Variables with biggest effect in models

12 12 ‘ If society’s present concern is to find practical expression in a more discriminating machinery for intervention, it must be recognised that society’s own responsibilities toward the children concerned will be correspondingly increased, and that this will make commensurate demands on the nation’s resources’ (Kilbrandon Report, 1964) What these delinquent boys and girls really need is to be lapped round with love. What each of them most needs is a friend. Today we have our theories and our psychologies, our plans and movements, even our clubs and youth centres, but have we the men and women who will give themselves unreservedly to the service of the boys and girls who need them most? It is the worker of a youth centre and not the furniture that matters (Artifex, The Guardian, 6 th March 1944)

13 13 A pledge to the young people who spoke so movingly and powerfully this evening: We are listening and we will act

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