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Young people’s knowledge of the UK criminal justice system and their human rights

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  • Karen Barnes
  • Clare Wilson
This study explored young people’s attitudes towards, and knowledge of, the UK criminal justice system and their human rights. Knowledge and attitudes were measured using a 120 item questionnaire that was administered to 141 young offenders who were incarcerated for the first time (Offenders Inexperienced with Incarceration), young offenders who were incarcerated more than once (Offenders Experienced with Incarceration); and a Control group (of non-incarcerated young people). The results found that Offenders Experienced with Incarceration did not possess a greater knowledge of the criminal justice system, despite their increased experience. However, their attitude was significantly more negative than that of either the Offenders Inexperienced with Incarceration or the Control group. The Control group demonstrated a better understanding and a significantly more positive attitude towards their human rights than either of the offender groups. In conclusion, the current level of understanding and attitudes of young offenders about the criminal justice system and their human rights suggest that they may be limited in their capacity to make informed decisions regarding active participation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-224
JournalInternational Journal of Police Science & Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


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