Young people and 'risk'

Alongside the current media public preoccupation with high-risk offenders, there has been a shift towards a greater focus on risk and public protection in UK criminal justice policy. Much of the academic debate has centered on the impact of the risk paradigm on adult offender management services; less attention has been given to the arena of youth justice and young adults. Yet, there are critical questions for both theory - are the principles of risk management the same when working with young people? - and practice - how can practitioners respond to those young people who cause serious harm to others? - that need to be considered. The distinguished contributors to Young people and 'risk' consider risk not only in terms of public protection but also in terms of young people's own vulnerability to being harmed (either by others or through self-inflicted behaviour). One of the report's key objectives is to explore the links between these two distinct, but related, aspects of risk. Maggie Blyth is a member of the Parole Board for England and Wales and independent chair of Nottingham City Youth Offending Team. She also works independently as a criminal justice consultant. Kerry Baker is a researcher in the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford and also a consultant to the Youth Justice Board on issues of assessment, risk and public protection. Enver Solomon is Deputy Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, an independent charity affiliated to the Law School at King's College London.