Youth Justice as Justice for Children: Towards a Capabilities Approach

Kate Williams, Heddwen Daniel

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Children are often the forgotten or side-lined in any national or international provisions. Whilst the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development mentions children it does so not as World citizens but rather as subjects; this replicates their position in most constitutions around the world. This chapter considers an alternative approach, one set out in the Welsh attitude to children, where they are central to a sustainable future and embraced as citizens with full human and fundamental rights. This approach reaches out to children who offend where the Welsh Government’s emphasis on ‘universal’ entitlements places a moral and political imperative on the Youth Justice System to promote the well-being of those children in conflict with the law. The chapter considers this position against the backdrop of both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Amartya Sen’s position on evaluating social justice. Sen suggests the identification and removal of the socio-structural barriers which limit the life chances and impede the ability of many children to pursue legitimate and meaningful goals are fundamental to justice. The chapter thereby considers the delivery of human agency and capacity in an international framework for the regulation of human rights in a sustainable global environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmerald Handbook of Crime, Justice and Sustainable Development
EditorsJarrett Blaustein, Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Nathan W. Pino, Rob White
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Pages273 - 274
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)978-1787693562
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2020


  • Children
  • SEN
  • Capabilities
  • Justice
  • Citizens
  • Agency


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