The Criminalisation of Social Policy? Janet Jamieson Loïc Wacquant’s Punishing the Poor Thesis There is a “new institutional machinery for managing poverty” wherein “the invisible hand of the market and the iron fist of the state combine and complement each other” (2001: 404) ‘Workfare’ and ‘prisonfare’ a response to the problems of the neoliberal state in post-modernity Wacquant observes that within the European context England has often served as the ‘Trojan horse’ and the ‘acclimation chamber’ (2001: 405) for a US inspired ‘penalisaton of poverty’ (ibid.: 401) Loïc Wacquant – lecture on the penal state available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Koum uRRwOqY The Special Case of Anti-Social Behaviour Boundary blurring: • Ambiguity of ASB definition • Reliance on civil as opposed to criminal law • Multi-agency endeavour. Displacement of goals: • Loss of the social in favour of social order and crime control objectives (Rodger, 2008). Lessons and Dangers Displacement Undermining civil rights of young people; Disproportionate to act Meaningless or unenforceable Targeted on vulnerable groups (In)Justice by geography Netwidening Alienating and exclusionary Promote intolerance Criminalisation of social policy Dispersal Powers in Merseyside I didn’t know anything of the restriction till that moment so… and then after it I was like “well that was wrong, we weren’t in the wrong, the police were in the wrong for that, we didn’t do nothing”. I could understand if I had drugs on me or weapons but we didn’t. I was quite peed off to be honest. I really care because I know it’s not alright especially when we’re not even doing anything wrong [...] So why should we care? Why should we care anyway yeah? Because who are they to tell us where we can and can’t go? Bang out of order. and the woman, oh my god I thought she was going to hit me. She was just so nasty and you know I mean my mates, we’ve never ever took drugs, we’ve never done anything wrong. All we were doing was singing you know that’s not an offence, alright yeah we were walking down, it was X Avenue and that’s got the one with is it a Section Thirty and she just bollocked us but she was so nasty. Enter the Coalition Government Big Society Spending Review Green Paper on ASB • • • • • Criminal Behaviour Orders Crime Prevention Injunctions Community Protection Notice (levels 1 &2) Police Direction Powers Community Trigger Riots 2011 PM describes the August riots as a ‘wake up call for the country’ which will necessitate a ‘security fightback’ of increased police presence on the streets and a ‘social fightback’ to improve parenting and get ‘families back on track’ (Cameron, 2011). “These riots were not about poverty” (Cameron, 2011) The Riots, Communities and Victims Panel (2012) “a lack of opportunities for young people, poor parenting, a failure of the justice system to rehabilitate offenders, materialism and suspicion of the police” Discussion What is the place of ASB measures in contemporary Youth Justice? Is a criminalisation of social policy evident in contemporary youth justice policy and practice? Is the contemporary policy preoccupation with ‘troubled families’ fit for purpose? Can the youth justice system help to give young people a ‘stake in society’?