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Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) are now one of the central features of government policy in the UK for managing the risk presented by violent and sexual offenders. Although there has been research and debate concerning the use of MAPPA with adult offenders, their application to young people has received relatively little attention until now.

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements & Youth Justice extends the existing literature on public protection. It provides a detailed exploration of MAPPA policy and practice in order to prompt further debate about the implications of the risk paradigm for young people and youth justice practitioners.

In the book, key academics, practitioners and policy makers consider a range of theoretical and practical issues raised by the introduction of MAPPA including risk and children’s rights, the use of professional discretion by practitioners, alternative approaches to risk management and suggestions for future policy development. It will be of interest to both professionals and academics working with young offenders and in youth justice.

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Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) are a fascinating example of ‘risk in action’, combining elements of the new penology with a more traditional (or perhaps clinical) focus on individualised assessment and tailored interventions. This chapter explores the balance between rules and discretion in MAPPA, the significance of informal practice, and some of the factors influencing decision making. It raises some important questions about the current MAPPA framework that should prompt further consideration of ways in which it could be developed so as to be more appropriate not only for young people but also for practitioners and managers in youth justice. It notes how discretion is able to peep through the cracks of public protection and in some places can be widely exercised by those operating on the front line of practice. The chapter argues that risk aversion (based on ‘othering’) may lead to exclusionary practices, but on the other hand, risk-based practice can potentially encompass more inclusive and rehabilitative approaches if staff have the appropriate skills to exercise professional discretion in their choice of interventions.

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This chapter explores how practitioners in the criminal justice agencies create complex decisions concerning risk within the current highly charged climate of media and political concern about public protection. The aim of this chapter is not to look simply at the questions of procedure, but to develop a richer and deeper discussion on how practitioners make difficult judgements regarding risk. In this chapter, risk refers to the risk of harm that a young person may present to others although many of the issues would also be relevant to discussion of assessments of vulnerability or risk of self-harm and suicide. In this chapter, the focus is on the knowledge and the thinking processes of practitioners in making judgements about risk in relation to young offenders. In particular, the chapter examines how practitioners collect and analyse information on young offenders. It examines the assessment and prediction tools used by the practitioners in predicting offending behaviour and the risk/need assessment including the Asset and the Offender Assessment System (OASys) employed by the practitioners. The chapter also presents data from the Asset Risk of Serious Harm (ROSH) forms completed by practitioners from a national sample of Youth Offending Teams (YOTs).

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The rise in the number of young people in custody in England and Wales is well documented and it is also recognised that trends in sentencing are one of the key determinants of the custodial population. In considering the sentencing of young people there are three key areas of concern, namely: the level of custodial sentencing; the length and nature of custodial sentences (in particular, the new ‘public protection sentences’ introduced by the Criminal Justice Act of 2003); and the extent of consistency or inconsistency in sentencers’ decision making. Given the range of factors contributing to the rise in the custodial population, there is unlikely to be any single ‘solution’. Neither the government nor youth justice practitioners can control sentencing trends, but they can, and do, try to influence them. Trying to reduce imprisonment by altering sentencing decisions is not an easy strategy to pursue.

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Alongside the current media public preoccupation with high-risk offenders, there has been a shift towards a greater focus on risk and public protection in UK criminal justice policy. Much of the academic debate has centered on the impact of the risk paradigm on adult offender management services; less attention has been given to the arena of youth justice and young adults. Yet, there are critical questions for both theory - are the principles of risk management the same when working with young people? - and practice - how can practitioners respond to those young people who cause serious harm to others? - that need to be considered.

The distinguished contributors to “Young people and ‘risk’" consider risk not only in terms of public protection but also in terms of young people’s own vulnerability to being harmed (either by others or through self-inflicted behaviour). One of the report’s key objectives is to explore the links between these two distinct, but related, aspects of risk.

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This chapter outlines key features of the youth justice system in England and Wales, including the current focus on risk assessment and targeted interventions. It sets out some of the multiple responsibilities that Youth Offending Teams have towards young people and the various partnerships that they are expected to engage with. In setting the scene, the chapter provides a basic overview of Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements. The chapter concludes by highlighting critical questions raised by the intersection of risk, rights and welfare in youth justice.

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This chapter brings together the central themes of the book and raises a number of questions about the ways in which young people are treated by criminal justice agencies, and whether Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) as currently conceptualised are an appropriate system for effectively working with young people who have committed serious offences. It also highlights areas where further information is required and demonstrates that the study of MAPPA is a fertile ground for furthering debates around risk and rights. Finally, it argues that lessons can be learnt from the implementation of MAPPA in Scotland and Northern Ireland, which can usefully inform the ongoing development of youth justice policy in England and Wales.

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‘Public protection’ is an umbrella term that refers to a range of activities by local authorities and other government agencies in the United Kingdom. Within the context of this book, however, the phrase relates solely to serious offending (that is, violent and sexual offences). A long-running topic within the criminal justice literature has been what the state’s response should be to those individuals who threaten serious harm to others. Current debates in criminology focus on security and the governance of criminal justice. Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), as their name suggests, are a part of this debate. This book explores MAPPA policy and practice in the UK, focusing on the current state of community risk management in England and Wales, highlighting previous research in this area, and setting out future directions for investigation. It also widens this debate with contributions that introduce ideas about risk management from Scotland, examines the form and function of discretion in the current system and reframes the debate on MAPPA and young people in terms of rights and risks.

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Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPAs) are now one of the central features of government policy in the United Kingdom for managing the risk presented by violent and sexual offenders. Although there has been research and debate concerning the use of MAPPAs with adult offenders, their application to young people has received relatively little attention until now. This book extends the existing literature on public protection. It provides a detailed exploration of MAPPA policy and practice in order to prompt further debate about the implications of the risk paradigm for young people and youth justice practitioners. In the book, key academics, practitioners and policy makers consider a range of theoretical and practical issues raised by the introduction of MAPPA including risk and children’s rights, the use of professional discretion by practitioners, alternative approaches to risk management, and suggestions for future policy development.

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Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPAs) are now one of the central features of government policy in the United Kingdom for managing the risk presented by violent and sexual offenders. Although there has been research and debate concerning the use of MAPPAs with adult offenders, their application to young people has received relatively little attention until now. This book extends the existing literature on public protection. It provides a detailed exploration of MAPPA policy and practice in order to prompt further debate about the implications of the risk paradigm for young people and youth justice practitioners. In the book, key academics, practitioners and policy makers consider a range of theoretical and practical issues raised by the introduction of MAPPA including risk and children’s rights, the use of professional discretion by practitioners, alternative approaches to risk management, and suggestions for future policy development.

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