The use of ASBOs against young people in England and Wales: lessons from Scotland
The Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) is one of the best known measures used to tackle anti-social behaviour. In keeping with the popular conception, the order is frequently used against young people. Of all ASBOs issued in England and Wales up to the end of 2005, roughly 40% were imposed on under-18s. This paper begins with a brief outline of the three principles at the heart of the celebrated Scottish children’s hearings system. With reference to these principles, and to the provisions which govern the use of the order against 12–15 year olds north of the border, the paper then discusses five areas of concern about the use of ASBOs against young people in England and Wales: the readiness to resort to ASBOs; the forum for ASBO applications; the terms of ASBOs; publicising the details of ASBOs; and custodial net-widening. The paper ends by suggesting reforms to the ASBO regime in England and Wales insofar as it is used against young people.
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