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The first step towards this separation was taken with the Youthful Offender Act 1854 and the Summary Jurisdiction Act 1879 which introduced special reformatories for juveniles.The biggest reform, however, was achieved with the Children’s Act 1908 as after its introduction, juvenile justice begun taking shape as a distinctive way of dealing with young offenders.This could potentially lead them to remorse and amendment.
The Act shifted practice towards the use of diversion, minimising the use of detention centres and borstals and replacing them with community measures .
However, when government changed, the Conservatives took the system back to its punitive character introducing the Criminal Justice Act 1982, which gave the magistrates the authority to exercise new powers such as youth custody and parental fines .
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This moved away from the punitive model, coming a step closer to more inclusive responses to crime.
These are now grouped under the umbrella name of restorative justice.
Introduction There can be no doubt that over the last two hundred years the youth justice system has been an experimental field of governmental, policy and academic work.
Moving from the welfare model to more punitive responses, from get on tough policies, ‘just deserts’, deterrence and incapacitation to communitarian paradigms, the juvenile system has been characterised by inconsistency and conflicting values.