The sleep of (criminological) reason: Knowledge—policy rupture and New Labour’s youth justice legacy
This article looks at how the UK youth justice system has experienced many reforms under the 3 terms of New Labour. There is an understanding that the treatment of children— particularly those in conflict with the law—is an important signifier of a society’s civility, maturity and humanity. It represents a profound symbolic marker of its core values, principles and moral integrity. The argument here is that by effectively negating knowledge/evidence in the construction of policy, successive New Labour Ministers have mutated justice and surrendered their claim to be regarded as honest brokers in the complex debates surrounding children, young people and crime. This raises serious questions pertaining not only to knowledge/evidence–policy relations but also to the democratic process itself, political power and public accountability.