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A Just System? How Punitive Youth Justice Systems Increase the Risk of Crime

  • Julie Edwards (a1)

For children and young people who offend, contact with the justice system can lead to life-long offending, with evidence showing that the younger a child enters the justice system the more likely he/she is to have sustained contact and go on to reoffend (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), 2017). Local and international youth justice approaches that aim to rehabilitate or resocialise the child or young person often have more success in preventing reoffending (Elwick, Davis, Crehan, & Clay, 2013). So, what is it that makes an effective youth justice system, and how can we ensure that children and young people are diverted from the criminal justice system effectively and that those who offend do not continue into a life of crime?

Corresponding author
address for correspondence: Julie Edwards, Jesuit Social Services, Policy and Advocacy, 326 Church Street, Richmond, Victoria 3121, Australia. E-mail:
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Children Australia
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