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Restorative Final Warnings: Policy and Practice

NCJ Number
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 45 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2006 Pages: 129-140
Darrell Fox; Mandeep K. Dhami; Greg Mantle
Date Published
May 2006
12 pages
This article explores the new restorative final warning policy regarding the cautioning of young people and its subsequent implications on practice.
It was recommended that a standardized, structural response to youth offending be undertaken that encompassed blanket restorative justice interventions. In other words, there should be a reintroducing of measured discretion and where engagement in restorative justice interventions is sought, they be assessed on an individual case need basis. With the advent of the Crime and Disorder Act of 1998, police cautioning of youth in England and Wales changed. It was no longer appropriate for youth to receive repeated cautions for acts of antisocial and offending behavior considered not serious enough for them to be charged and formerly processed in the courts. The establishment of the concept of warnings took the place of cautions. When officers felt a greater intervention was necessary, officers’ were now offered some discretion with the use of police reprimands and final warnings. Since 2000, reprimands and final warnings are both cited in court hearings when a young person appears on a charge. However, it was recommended by the Youth Justice Board that the final warning intervention take on a restorative justice element. The level of restorative justice was dependent on the seriousness of the offense. The final warning policy in regards to the cautioning of youth, at its inception had every good intention. However, in practice the implications of this approach can be severe for young people. The intent of this article was to explore the diversionary measure of restorative final warnings within the context of the youth justice system. References