Thursday, October 14, 2010

News from the UK


Two bits of news from England caught my attention today. The first was a report that the BBC is making a short-run daytime drama based on the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre.

The second was the news that the Youth Justice Board, a quasi-governmental body that was created during the Blair years to reengineer the juvenile justice system in England and Wales, is closing its doors. (Click here for an obituary of sorts by Max Chambers from Policy Exchange.)

I'm still trying to figure out what I think of both stories. The demise of the Youth Justice Board in particular has put me in a nostalgic mood. About a decade ago, with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation, we put together a US-UK exchange that brought together representatives of the Youth Justice Board with innovative American scholars and practitoners. While it was a one-time only event, it did have enduring reverberations for us as an institution. It was one of our first forays into the world of juvenile justice policymaking -- a field that now takes up a significant share of our time. Just as important, it helped us meet a range of influential people in England -- most namely the great prison reformer Rob Allen -- that continue to be our friends and partners to this day.