8 Summary of Session 7
The previous two sessions looked at the way gender and race are powerful forces shaping young people’s experience of crime and youth justice. Neither operate independently of each other and both are always tangled up with social class. The learning activities in this session have explored how what happens in a young person’s life may be influenced by their parents’ level of income, wealth and education. The range of possibilities available to them, the choices they are likely to make and the future they grow into, are determined by the social structures of society. Each child and young person makes what they can out of those opportunities and choices, but ignoring the differences available to those at the top of this hierarchy and those at the bottom reproduces injustice. Winston Churchill was honest enough to speak clearly about them, as the quote at the beginning of the session indicates. Times have changed since then and a new century is unfolding. The next and final session looks forward to what this might mean for youth justice.
The main learning points of this seventh session are:
- The issue of structural disadvantage and poverty are central to young people’s crime and offending.
- Social class determines the advantages and disadvantages a child is born with.
- Growing up in poverty increases the likelihood of trauma and its consequences being experienced over the life course.
- Structural disadvantage is not the focus of the youth justice system, but many of its consequences are.
In the next and final session, you will consider in more detail the principles that might guide youth justice towards social justice, and you will encounter an even more radical approach to young people and crime.
You can now go to Session 8.