Top positive review
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An excellent textbook that is recommended to students.
on 11 April 2001
This excellent textbook presents an up-to-date account of youth research and policy in the UK. Divided into seven chapters, it covers a comprehensive range of topics relating to youth crime including: joy-riding, homelessness, truancy, Ecstasy and club culture, persistent young offenders, boot camps, poverty and unemployment, parental responsibility, girl gangs, the Jamie Bulger case, zero tolerance and electronic tagging.
One of the strengths of the text is its emphasis on the value of historical, feminist and comparative perspectives. Unlike most other books on criminal justice published in England it includes detailed discussion of Scotland's resistance to the drift towards punitiveness, and its distinctive institutions (notably the Children's Hearing System) and policies (e.g. the Hamilton 'curfew'). Unlike most other books on youth crime it takes the experiences of girls as seriously as those of boys.
Primarily aimed at an undergraduate audience, Youth and Crime provides an accessible resource for students. Each chapter includes review questions and suggestions for further reading, as well as visual summaries of complex theoretical approaches (e.g. Foucault's Discipline and Punish) and developments in youth policy (e.g. the Crime and Disorder Act 1998). The author takes time to explain key concepts properly (e.g. the difference between correlation and causation) and provides assessments of the work discussed. Particularly helpful is the appended glossary of key terms, which explains concepts as diverse as 'protracted adolescence', 'bifurcation', 'anomie', and 'style'.
My one caveat is that Youth and Crime's subtitle would have more accurately portrayed its contents had it indicated that the book's focus is predominantly on the youth crime problem in Britain. Muncie does refer to a range of international interventions - mainly North American - but he does so only to offer examples of good practice for would be reformers in the UK.