Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Critical Youth Justice
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Presentation and discussion facilitation  (30 minutes)  30%
Semester Assessment Written assignment  (5,000 words) Assignment in the style of a journal article  70%
Supplementary Assessment Plan for presentation  Plan for presentation and rationale on how that would be delivered along with how debate could be facilitated (PowerPoint slied and 2,000 word rationale)  30%
Supplementary Assessment Written assignment  (5,000 words) Assignment in the style of a journal article  70%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Have an in-depth critical understanding of the development of youth justice within England and Wales

2. Have an in-depth critical understanding of the current youth justice system

3. Critically input into how the youth justice system in England and Wales could usefully develop in the future to ensure that children are well served by it

4. Identify and critically discuss current controversies within the youth justice sector

5. Construct and facilitate a discussion on a topical area of youth justice with course colleagues

Brief description

This module will use a hybrid lecture/seminar discussion format each week to investigate and develop independent thinking on a range of subject areas closely related to youth justice, encouraging students to develop their own skills of critical analysis. There will also be opportunities for them to present on an aspect of their own choice, requiring them to develop sophisticated arguments, and lead a class debate on issues raised.


This module seeks to take Masters’ students beyond simple appreciation of the youth justice system in England and Wales to a really critical consideration of both the development of the youth justice system, and its current (and likely future) form. It will develop themes only briefly covered in the undergraduate module (which students will be enabled and encouraged to access to gain basic understanding if they have not previously covered this module as an undergraduate, or if they came from another institution), to give students a thorough overview of contentious issues of past, present and future, and will facilitate them to further develop and hone skills of critical analysis, individual research, and critical debate with others. This will be both foundational and formational for those seeking employment within this sector, or a related one, working with young people in conflict with the law.


Introduction and critical overview of youth justice in England and Wales

Youth Justice Paradigms – justice vs welfare youth justice

Youth Justice Paradigms – risk-based youth justice

Youth Justice Paradigms – Child First/Rights-based youth justice

Youth Justice issues – Minimum age of criminal responsibility

Youth Justice issues – Folk devils and moral panics

Youth Justice issues – Custody and resettlement

Contemporary youth justice debates – Disproportionality

Contemporary youth justice debates – Gangs, knife crime and youth violence

(NB Contemporary youth justice debates will vary depending on what is currently contentious, which may well be selected by the students themselves, based on their appreciation of current debates)

Youth Justice contentious issues – led by students on contentious issues of their choice, 20-30 minutes each, including presentation of issues and leading of class debate.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Students will be expected to present to a professional standard when delivering their assessed presentation. They will also be expected to fully engage with all discussions and debates, which will be the cornerstone of each seminar. They will also be expected to demonstrate a high level of academic writing and referencing ability, producing written work to a publishable (or near publishable) quality. Their assignment will be in the style of a publishable journal article. This will enable them to understand how to write a publishable journal article.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will need to demonstrated both of these qualities when facilitating discussions and debates with their colleagues (which will also be practised through the module seminars, before they are assessed).
Information Technology Students will be expected to add resources to the course wiki, as they find them, to enhance learning and show personal research, access materials from Blackboard, and use technology to enhance their presentation (using such programmes as Powerpoint or Prezi).
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be expected to maintain a reflective approach throughout this module in order to show the development in their own attitude and understanding of youth justice debates. This can then be applied in the assignment. This whole module will be embedded within past and present youth justice practice, research and development in England and Wales, with controversies from the real world in which young people live being pivotal.
Problem solving Students will need to identify an area on which to present, identify how to best facilitate debate among course colleagues, and manage this while in progress
Research skills Throughout this module students will be required to be critical of research, government policy and practice, and proposals for future working arrangements within youth justice. This requires are far more nuanced and deeper skills and abilities in critical analysis and debate than the undergraduate youth justice module.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work The seminars for this module will require students to debate and discuss controversial issues (which they will have researched) in a group setting, and to manage such a group activity for one of their assessments.


This module is at CQFW Level 7