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Evaluating decision-making in the youth justice bail process. / Noel Cross
Swansea University Author: Noel, Cross
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This thesis is about the operation of the youth justice bail process, between initial arrest and sentence (or other final case outcome), in a particular area of England and Wales (known here as Baytown). Following a review of the literature on youth justice bail services, and a critical discussion o...
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This thesis is about the operation of the youth justice bail process, between initial arrest and sentence (or other final case outcome), in a particular area of England and Wales (known here as Baytown). Following a review of the literature on youth justice bail services, and a critical discussion of the methodology used, the study examines the outcomes of the bail process in Baytown over a three-year study period. It analyses the usage of the different options available for the granting, restriction and denial of young persons' right to bail, by comparing court bail decisions with key case characteristics. In undertaking this analysis, the study not only explains how systematic bail decisions were during the study period, but also shows the impact of these decisions on later stages in the youth justice process, such as sentencing. However, the study also moves beyond quantitative discussion and analysis of the Baytown youth justice process. It does so by explaining the operation of the process in terms of the attitudes towards it of those who have a say in bail decision-making in Baytown. A mixture of quantitative and qualitative techniques, including surveys, semi-structured interviewing and participant observation, is therefore used to explain how local Youth Offending Team staff, local youth court magistrates, and young people on bail perceive the process which their own decisions help to shape. The study concludes by arguing that, despite recent Government rhetoric and policy, widespread discretion continues to exist at local and individual level within the youth justice bail process. Future Government policy in this area must therefore acknowledge the role of discretion in youth justice, rather than simply ignoring or attempting to eradicate it, if bail services for young people are to become more systematic and effective.
College of Human and Health Sciences