Criminal court sentencing: the case for specialist ‘young adult’ courts

Ward, Jennifer ORCID logoORCID: and Spence, Ruth ORCID logoORCID: (2022) Criminal court sentencing: the case for specialist ‘young adult’ courts. British Journal of Criminology . ISSN 0007-0955 [Article] (Published online first) (doi:10.1093/bjc/azac076)

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Treating young adults (18-25-year olds) as a distinct group within the criminal justice system is receiving growing support. This paper asks three specific questions. Should specialist young adult courts be introduced so that young age and developing maturity are considered with more consistency across court sentencing; should social background factors be taken into account when appraising culpability and have the 2019 ‘sentencing guidelines’ that give judicial direction for sentence mitigation gone far enough? The paper argues significant gains in sentencing policy have been made, but a specialist young adult court model would ensure a dedicated response to this age group and would foster a shared courts working culture that pursues the common goals of rehabilitation and social pedagogic interventions.

Item Type: Article
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 35709
Notes on copyright: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in British Journal of Criminology following peer review. The version of record Jennifer Ward, Ruth Spence, Criminal Court Sentencing: The Case for Specialist ‘Young Adult’ Courts, The British Journal of Criminology, 2022; azac076 is available online at: URL: and DOI:
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Depositing User: Jenni Ward
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2022 15:48
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2022 10:44

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