Much of the subsequent debate has singled out the involvement of children and young people in the looting and violence, although in reality the age range and backgrounds of those convicted in the courts have been considerably more diverse than was initially suspected.
The debate has split in part over an emphasis on the criminal justice response to be made, and partly over an emphasis on causes. While not developed with these terrible events in mind, Life Outside makes a contribution to both aspects of this debate.
Life Outside is the second substantive policy report to be produced from participation with children and young people in the criminal justice system as part of U R Boss, a five year project supported by the Big Lottery Fund. The first report, Life Inside, explored the experience of teenage boys in prison. This report picks up the story after children and young people leave custody. Taken together, the two reports spell out the failures of our current approach to youth justice.
The full report by the Howard League for Penal Reform can be downloaded here.
The website of the "U R Boss" project can be reached here.