Wild Arabs and savages

A history of juvenile justice in Ireland

Author: Paul Sargent

This book is the first history of juvenile justice in Ireland. Utilising a ‘governmentality’ framework, it charts the emergence of juvenile justice from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present. It unearths the underlying rationalities, technologies and forms of identity that are employed to govern the child and young person within the modern Irish juvenile justice system. In Ireland, the state was to a large extent absent from the practicalities of regulating children for most of the twentieth century, abdicating its responsibilities to religious and voluntary organisations. Also, for almost a century there was little in the way of legislative or policy development in this area. With this in mind, it makes little sense to concentrate primarily on the state in order to explain how we arrived at the youth justice system. By utilising a governmentality approach the book takes the focus away from an analysis of the ‘state’ and concentrates on an analysis of the ‘problematics’ of government. The book charts the changing mentalities or lines of government in a wide range of documents, including reports of inspectors of reformatory and industrial schools, reports from prison authorities, police reports, reports of commissions of inquiry, reports from lobbyists, individual testimonies, academic studies, policy or strategy documents, management guidelines and training and practice manuals.

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‘Wild Arabs and Savages is the first history of youth offending and the juvenile justice system in Ireland. Paul Sargent has made a real and substantial contribution to Irish legal scholarship, social history and criminology. For readers interested in juvenile justice, criminology, history and social policy in Ireland this book is an essential and invaluable resource to be revisited many times.'
Reviewed by Lena Timoney, Senior Probation Officer, Young Persons' Probation (YPP) Dublin.
Irish Probation Journal (Volume 12)
January 2016

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