Chair of Penology

Senior Tutor (Undergraduate)

MA, PhD
View my full research profile

Biography

Lesley McAra is an alumna of the University of Edinburgh and of the Open University. She began her career as a researcher in the Scottish Office where she led a major programme of research evaluating social work criminal justice services.She joined the University of Edinburgh in 1995 as Lecturer in Criminology, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2005, and to the Chair of Penology in 2009. Her inaugural lecture can be listened to here. In 2015 she was appointed Assistant Principal Community Engagement.

Lesley is a former Dean of the School of Law, the first woman to be appointed to that post. She is currently a member of the Centre for Law and Society and is on the management board of the Global Justice Academy. She was also the founder of the Empirical Legal Research Network, a cross-University initiative aimed at facilitating partnership-working across different disciplines, pooling expertise and functioning as a resource bank for researchers at all levels of career.

Lesley’s research interests lie in the general areas of the sociology of punishment and the sociology of law and deviance. Particular interests include: youth crime and juvenile justice; gender justice and community well-being; the politics of crime control; and comparative criminal justice. She is Co-Director (with Susan McVie and David Smith) of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a longitudinal programme of research on pathways into and out of offending for a cohort of around 4,300 young people. Funded by grants from the ESRC (R00237157, R000239150), the Nuffield Foundation and the Scottish Government, this study forms the evidence-base for the ‘Whole System Approach’ to juvenile justice which is currently being implemented across Scotland. Study findings have also been utilised in penal reform campaigns both nationally and internationally. Lesley is currently a member of the Justice and Safety Human Rights Action Group (led by the Scottish Human Rights Commission and aimed at taking forward the Scottish National Action Plan for Human Rights), and is a member of the Scottish Government’s Justice Leaders Network.

In her more recent research, The Old Town Story-telling Project, Lesley has been pioneering methods of co-production and exploring the role of the performance arts in promoting community safety and well-being. Her overall ethos is to conduct research with, on and for the community, a mode of knowledge infusion which involves partnering the University with the community, utilising the research evidence to promote and campaign for positive social and political change, and undertaking engagement and outreach work as a fundamental part of the research process. In 2013, Lesley was joint winner (with Susan McVie) of the Howard League for Penal Reform Research Medal which celebrates high quality research from new thinking and radical researchers who have changed penal policy and practice. In 2014, she was invited to give the Apex Annual Lecture in which she set out her vision for justice in modern Scotland:http://www.apexscotland.org.uk/resources/films/

Lesley is a member of the Editorial Boards of the British Journal of Criminology, Youth Justice and  European Journal of Criminology. Her previous teaching experience has covered several criminology courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level (see below) including the MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  She welcomes applications from doctoral candidates in any area of her expertise.

PhD Supervisees

Dinah Aitken  'In harm's way: the experience of young people with a family member in prison'

Louise Brangan  'A comparative study of penal politics in Ireland and Scotland'

Daniela Rodríguez Gutiérrez  'Socio-institutional responsibility attributions and visions of childhood in the Youth Justice System: A comparative study between Chile, England and Scotland.'

Kate Tobin  'Facts, lies and evidence: a crisis in decision-making across the public and voluntary sectors'

Edited Books

Lesley McAra, Sarah Armstrong Perspectives on Punishment: The Contours of Control (Oxford University Press, 2006)
Abstract: The book offers an incisive collection of contemporary research into the problems of crime control and punishment. It has three inter-related aims: to take stock of current thinking on punishment, regulation, and control in the early years of a new century and in the wake of a number of critical junctures, including 9/11, which have transformed the social, political, and cultural environment; to present a selection of the diverse epistemological and methodological frameworks which inform current research; and finally to set out some fruitful directions for the future study of punishment. The contributions to this collection cover some of the most exciting and challenging areas of current research including terrorism and the politics of fear, penalty in societies in transition, penal policy and the construction of political identity, the impact of digital culture on modes of compliance, the emergent hegemony of information and surveillance systems, and the evolving politics of victim hood. Taken together, this work draws connections between local problems of crime control, transnational forms of governance, and the ways in which certain political and jurisprudential discourses have come to dominate policy and practice in western penal systems.

Journal Articles

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'Negotiated order: The groundwork for a theory of offending pathways' (2012) Criminology and Criminal Justice 12 347-375

Alistair Henry, Lesley McAra 'Negotiated order: implications for theory and practice in criminology' (2012) Criminology and Criminal Justice 12(4) 341-346

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'Youth Crime and Justice: Key Messages from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime' (2010) Criminology and Criminal Justice 10 211-230
Abstract: Based on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, this article challenges the evidence-base which policy-makers have drawn on to justify the evolving models of youth justice across the UK (both in Scotland and England/Wales). It argues that to deliver justice, systems need to address four key facts about youth crime: serious offending is linked to a broad range of vulnerabilities and social adversity; early identification of at-risk children is not an exact science and runs the risk of labelling and stigmatizing; pathways out of offending are facilitated or impeded by critical moments in the early teenage years, in particular school exclusion; and diversionary strategies facilitate the desistance process.The article concludes that the Scottish system should be better placed than most other western systems to deliver justice for children (due to its founding commitment to decriminalization and destigmatization). However, as currently implemented, it appears to be failing many young people.

Lesley McAra 'Scottish Youth Justice: Convergent Pressures and Cultural Singularities' (2009) Déviance et Société 33 (3) 383-398
Abstract: This paper highlights the ways in which the formerly welfarist system of youth justice in Scotland has become infused with a set of competing and contradictory logics, including those of punitiveness, marketization, and managerialism. These changes have constructed a new set of audiences for youth justice (namely victims and communities) whose needs agencies must now strive to satisfy. All of this has been accompanied by a moral panic about youth offending started by Ministers and reinforced by the media. The paper argues that the key to understanding Scottish trends lies in an elision which has taken place between political capacity building (modalities of power) and a process of cultural drift (modalities of identity) in the post-devolutionary era. As such the Scottish case highlights the need to explore both convergent pressures and cultural singularities in building theories of penal transformation.

Lesley McAra 'Crime, Criminology and Criminal Justice in Scotland' (2008) European Journal of Criminology 5 (4) 481-504
Abstract: This survey of Scotland reviews: core Scottish criminal justice institutions; statistical trends in crime and punishment over the past forty years; the history and politics of Scottish criminal justice; and the emergence of a distinctively Scottish criminology. In particular, it highlights the cross-cutting modalities of power and identity that have shaped both institutional and policy development and made strong linkages between knowledge and politics.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'No Way Out?' (2007) Children in Scotland 73 8-9

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'Youth Justice? The Impact of System Contact on Patterns of Desistance from Offending' (2007) European Journal of Criminology 4 (3) 315-345
Abstract: This article assesses the effectiveness of the Scottish model of youth justice in the context of a growing body of international research which is challenging the 'evidence-base' of policy in many western jurisdictions. Drawing on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, it shows how labelling processes within agency working cultures serve to recycle certain categories of children into the youth justice system, whilst other serious offenders escape the tutelage of the formal system altogether. The deeper a child penetrates the formal system, the less likely they are to desist from offending. The article concludes that the key to reducing offending lies in minimal intervention and maximum diversion. While the Scottish system should be better placed than most other western systems at delivering such an agenda (due to its founding commitment to decriminalisation and destigmatisation), as currently implemented, it appears to be failing many young people.

Lesley McAra 'Negotiated Order: Gender, Youth Transitions and Crime' (2005) British Society of Criminology E-Journal Vol 6

Lesley McAra 'Modelling Penal Transformation' (2005) Punishment & Society Vol 7 No 3 pp277-302

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'The Usual Suspects? Street-life, young people and the police' (2005) Criminal Justice 5 (1) 5-36
Abstract: This article explores children's experience of policing. Drawing on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, it argues that the police may be unfairly targeting certain categories of young people. Evidence is presented on the ways in which police working rules serve to construct a population of permanent suspects among children. The article concludes that the police act less as legal subjects and more as class subjects in their interactions with young people and that the policing of children may serve to sustain and reproduce the very problems which the institution ostensibly attempts to contain or eradicate.

Lesley McAra 'The Cultural and Institutional Dynamics of Transformation: Youth Justice in Scotland and England and Wales"' (2004) Cambrian Law Review Vol 35 pp 23 - 54

Lesley McAra 'Plus Ça Change, Plus C'est La Même Chose: The Evolution Of Juvenile Justice In Scotland' (2002) Déviance et Société pp 367-386
Abstract: Cet article explique comment et pourquoi le systeme de justice pour les mineurs en Ecosse a suivi une trajectoire differente de celle suivie en Europe et aux États Unis. Il éclaire le fait que les valeurs de l'assistance pénale dominent touts les aspects de la politique et de la pratique alors que les mêmes processus sociaux et culturels ont été identifiés comme étant la source d'importants changements dans la nature et la fonction de la pénalité dans d'autres jurisdictions. L'argument de cet article est que ceci est le résultat de la constance et de l'influence des réseaux d'actuers en Ecosse, du charactère distinct de la culture civique ecossaise et de la petite taille du système lui même.

Lesley McAra, P. Young 'Juvenile Justice in Scotland' (1997) Criminal Justice Vol 15 No 3

Chapters

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'The Case for Diversion and Minimum Necessary Intervention' in Barry Goldson and John Muncie (eds) Youth Crime and Justice (Sage, 2015)

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'The Scottish Juvenile Justice System: Policy and Practice' in John A. Winterdyk (eds) Juvenile Justice: International Perspectives, Models and Trends (CRC Press, 2014) 263-294

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'Critical debates in developmental and life-course criminology' in M. Maguire, R. Morgan and R. Reiner (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology fifth edition (Oxford University Press, 2012) 531-562

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'Youth Justice? The Impact of Agency Contact on Desistance from Offending' in Richard Sparks, Stephen Farrall, Mike Hough, Shadd Maruna (eds) Escape Routes: Contemporary Perspectives on Life After Punishment (Routledge, 2011) 81-106
Abstract: This chapter assesses the effectiveness of the Scottish model of youth justice in the context of a growing body of international research that is challenging the `evidence base' of policy in many western jurisdictions. Drawing on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, it shows how labelling processes within agency working cultures serve to recycle certain categories of children into the youth justice system, whereas other serious offenders escape the tutelage of the formal system altogether. The deeper a child penetrates the formal system, the less likely he or she is to desist from offending. The article concludes that the key to reducing offending lies in minimal intervention and maximum diversion. Although the Scottish system should be better placed than most other western systems at delivering such an agenda (owing to its founding commitment to decriminalization and destigmatization), as currently implemented it appears to be failing many young people.

Lesley McAra 'The Impact of Multi-level Governance on Crime Control and Punishment' in Adam Crawford (eds) International and Comparative Criminal Justice and Urban Governance (Cambridge University Press, 2011) 276-303

Lesley McAra 'Scottish youth justice: convergent pressures and cultural singularities' in Francis Bailleau and Yves Cartuyvels (eds) The criminalisation of youth: juvenile justice in Europe, Turkey and Canada (VUB Press, 2011) 93-110

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'Youth Crime and Justice in Scotland' in Croall, H., Mooney, G. and Munro, M. (eds) Criminal Justice in Scotland (Willan, 2010) Ch 4, pp 67-89
Abstract: "Society is, we believe, seriously concerned to secure a more effective and discriminatory machinery for interventions for the avoidance and reduction of juvenile delinquency." (Kilbrandon, 1964) This quotation from the report of the Kilbrandon committee which set up the existing system of juvenile justice in Scotland gives a flavour of the Scottish civic culture which has shaped Scotland's unique institutions and processes for dealing with young offenders (McAra 2008). It highlights a sense of common-ownership of the problems posed by young offenders and a commitment to the development of effective practice. It also reflects a recurrent preoccupation of policy elites that extant structures of juvenile justice are inadequate to the task of reducing offending amongst children and young people and require to be reformed. This chapter on youth crime and justice overviews the historical development of Scottish juvenile justice and describes the operation of the current system. It also presents empirical data relating to the nature and pattern of youth crime in Scotland, including data from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime (the Edinburgh Study) and assesses the effectiveness of the system.

Lesley McAra 'Models of Youth Justice' in David J. Smith A New Response to Youth Crime (Willan, 2010) 287-317

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'Youth Justice? The Impact of Agency Contact on Desistance from Offending' in Michael Little, Barbara Maughan (eds) Effective Interventions for Children in Need (Ashgate Publishing, 2010) Pt II, Chapter 2
Abstract: This chapter assesses the effectiveness of the Scottish model of youth justice in the context of a growing body of international research which is challenging the 'evidence-base' of policy in many western jurisdictions. Drawing on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, it shows how labelling processes within agency working cultures serve to recycle certain categories of children into the youth justice system, whilst other serious offenders escape the tutelage of the formal system altogether. The deeper a child penetrates the formal system, the less likely they are to desist from offending. The article concludes that the key to reducing offending lies in minimal intervention and maximum diversion. While the Scottish system should be better placed than most other western systems at delivering such an agenda (due to its founding commitment to decriminalisation and destigmatisation), as currently implemented, it appears to be failing many young people.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'Youth Justice? The Impact of Agency Contact on Desistance from Offending' in Barry Goldson, John Muncie (eds) Youth Crime and Juvenile Justice (Sage Publications, 2009) Vol III, Part 11, Chapter 3
Abstract: This chapter assesses the effectiveness of the Scottish model of youth justice in the context of a growing body of international research which is challenging the 'evidence-base' of policy in many western jurisdictions. Drawing on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, it shows how labelling processes within agency working cultures serve to recycle certain categories of children into the youth justice system, whilst other serious offenders escape the tutelage of the formal system altogether. The deeper a child penetrates the formal system, the less likely they are to desist from offending. The article concludes that the key to reducing offending lies in minimal intervention and maximum diversion. While the Scottish system should be better placed than most other western systems at delivering such an agenda (due to its founding commitment to decriminalisation and destigmatisation), as currently implemented, it appears to be failing many young people.

Lesley McAra 'Welfarism in Crisis: Crime Control and Penal Practice in Post-devolution Scotland' in Michael Keating (eds) Scottish Social Democracy: Progressive Ideas for Politics (P.I.E. - Peter Lang, 2007) pp.115-158

Sarah Armstrong, Lesley McAra 'Audiences, Borders, Architecture: The Contours of Control' in Lesley McAra, Sarah Armstrong (eds) Perspectives on Punishment: The Contours of Control (Oxford University Press, 2006) pp. 1-30

Lesley McAra 'Welfarism in Crisis? Youth Justice in Scotland' in John Muncie and Barry Goldson (eds) Comparative Youth Justice: Critical Debates (Sage, 2006)

Lesley McAra 'The Scottish Juvenile Justice System: Policy and Practice' in John Winterdyk (eds) Juvenile Justice Systems: International Perspectives (Canadian Scholars' Press, 2002) pp 441-475

Lesley McAra 'The Politics of Penality: An Overview of the Development of Penal Policy in Scotland' in Peter Duff and Neil Hutton (eds) Criminal Justice in Scotland (Ashgate, 1999) pp.355-380

Reports

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie Criminal Justice Transitions (Edinburgh University, 2007) [Download]
Abstract: This report explores transitions into the adult criminal justice system amongst a large cohort of young people who were involved in the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime. It includes: a description of patterns of criminal convictions and disposals for young people up to age 19 (on average); an examination of the characteristics and institutional histories of cohort members with a criminal record as compared with youngsters with no such record; and an exploration of the profile of young people who make the transition from the children's hearings system to the adult criminal justice system as compared with youngsters with a hearings record but who have not made this transition by age 19.

Susan McVie, Lesley McAra, Palmer, J. Sample Safeguarding Exercise (University of Edinburgh, 2007)

Lesley McAra Patterns of Referral to the Children's Hearing System for Drug or Alchol Misuse (Centre for Law and Society, University of Edinburgh, 2005) [Download]

David J. Smith, Lesley McAra Gender and Youth Offending (Centre for Law and Society, University of Edinburgh, 2004) [Download]

Lesley McAra Truancy, School Exclusion and Substance Misuse (Centre for Law and Society, University of Edinburgh, 2004) [Download]

David J. Smith, Susan McVie, Lesley McAra, Rona Woodward, Jon Shute, and John Flint The Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime: Key Findings at Ages 12 and 13 (Centre for Law and Society, University of Edinburgh, 2001) [Download]
Abstract: The aim of this report is to present the key findings from the first three years of the Edinburgh Study, covering two sweeps of data collection. As the findings cover a broad range of topic areas, it is beyond the scope of this initial report to include an extensive review of the literature or a detailed discussion of theoretical issues. The content of the report is mainly descriptive, although relevant contextual information is referred to in each chapter. A concluding section is given at the end of each chapter, to sum up these findings, identify further areas of analysis and contemplate the issues for future stages of the Edinburgh.

Lesley McAra Social Work in the Criminal Justice System Volume 5: Parole Board Decision-making (The Stationery Office, 1998)

Lesley McAra Social Work in the Criminal Justice System Volume 2: Early Arrangements (The Stationery Office, 1998)

Papers and Presentations

Alistair Henry, Lesley McAra 'Politics and the negotiation of criminal justice policy in Scotland: the cases of policing and youth justice' presented at European Society of Criminology, 13th Annual Conference, Budapest, 2013
Abstract: This presentation will argue that important aspects of the negotiation of criminal justice policy and practice are revealed and given emphasis by analysing them as (concomitantly) cultural practice, political strategy and normative project. Examples will be taken from recent developments in policing and youth justice in Scotland, which demonstrate both similarities and differences from developments elsewhere in Europe, reflecting trends of centralisation, the increasing purchase of discourses around economic efficiency, austerity and the challenge of public service provision, the tension between local responsiveness and professional practices, and the role of research evidence in policy-making and implementation processes. Taken together, the character of emerging developments in policing and youth justice in Scotland also reflect the possibilities fashioned by the political (and cultural?) deconstruction of the UK girded by devolution and, in particular, their role in the (imagined) reconstruction of a newly independent nation and polity.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'A "Society of Captives": The Longer-term Impacts of Juvenile Justice on Pattens of Desistance from Offending' presented at 11th Annual European Society of Criminology Conference, Vilnius, 2011

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'Negotiated Order: Deviance, Identity and Desistance' presented at European Society of Criminology Conference, Liège, 2010
Abstract: Drawing on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, this paper explores the role which formal and informal regulatory orders play in the development of offender identity. It argues that such orders currently function in an exclusionary manner. Formal orders (especially policing) differentiate between categories of young people on the basis of class and suspiciousness. Informal orders (particularly in terms of regulations governing peer interactions) differentiate between individuals on the basis of territorial location, group affiliation and gender appropriate demeanour. Experience of exclusion, particularly multiple and repeated modes of exclusion, undermines the capacity of the individual to negotiate, limits autonomy and constrains choice. This renders the individual more likely to absorb identities ascribed to them with damaging consequences in terms of subsequent behaviour and the individual's sense of self.

Susan McVie, Lesley McAra 'The impact of youth justice on persistent offending' presented at Holyrood Conference on Persistent Offending, Edinburgh, 2006

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'Victims of justice? Young people, agency contact and deviancy amplification' presented at British Criminology Conference, Glasgow, 2006
Abstract: Over the past decade, youth justice discourse in many western jurisdictions has become dominated by the mantra of "evidence based" policy. Informed by the results of research on risk and protective factors and (more especially) the precepts underpinning the "what works" agenda, huge resources have been devoted to early intervention initiatives (for "at risk" children and their families) as well as to specialist programmes aimed at reducing re-offending amongst older, more persistent offenders. As a counterweight to this, however, there is a growing body of international comparative research which indicates that contact with agencies of youth justice and experience of more severe forms of sanctioning, in particular, are likely to result in enhanced rather than diminished offending risk (see labelling theory) that contact with any youth justice system of whatever ethos is inherently criminogenic. This paper presents findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, which show how early experience of adversarial police contact and involvement with (predominantly welfarist) institutions of juvenile justice, appear to amplify serious offending in the mid to late teenage years. It argues nonetheless that the principles on which the current Scottish juvenile justice system was originally based, offer the best model for delivering reductions in offending. However the effectiveness of the system has been undermined by biases in "gate-keeping" practices, failures of implementation and over-optimistic target-setting.

Lesley McAra 'Youth Justice in Comparative Context' presented at Queen's University Belfast, 2005

Lesley McAra 'The Future of Juvenile Justice' presented at NACRO Annual Youth Justice Conference, Loughborough, 2005

Lesley McAra 'The Cultural and Institutional Dynamics of Policy Change' presented at Edinburgh/Rennes Workshop on Regional Governance, Edinburgh, 2005

Lesley McAra 'Problem Girls? Key Findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime' presented at Moray House Education Conference: Problem Girls, Edinburgh, 2005

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'The Edinburgh Study: Theory and Method' presented at Edinburgh University: Childhood Studies Network, Edinburgh, 2005
Abstract: Internal paper looking at the theoretical development and methods of design of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime

Lesley McAra 'Small is Beautiful? Institutional Transformation and the Dynamics of Devolution' presented at British Criminology Conference, Leeds, 2005

Lesley McAra 'Criminal Justice in Post-Devolution Scotland' presented at Glasgow Workshop on Public Policy Post-Devolution, Glasgow, 2005

Lesley McAra 'The Dynamics of Devolution: Policy Divergence and Convergence' presented at Scottish Criminology Conference, Edinburgh, 2005

Lesley McAra 'Community Justice? Social Exclusion and the Limits of Participation' presented at NACRO Annual Conference, London, 2005

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'What Works Revisited: Youth Justice, Cultural Context and Deviancy Amplification' presented at British Criminology Conference, Leeds, 2005
Abstract: According to Muncie (2002), the search for consistently efficient and effective practice in a global context means that the dynamics of local contingencies are often overlooked. The youth justice system in Scotland is currently incorporating "what works" principles into dedicated programmes for child offenders and piloting fast track children's hearings for persistent offenders. These developments have the potential to undermine key elements of the Kilbrandon philosophy on which the current system was originally based, through their emphasis on specialist social work intervention focused on criminogenic need (rather than generic intervention based on the welfare needs of the child). The aim of this paper is to assess the relative merits of these alternative visions of youth justice in dealing with children and young people who offend, It is based on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a longitudinal study of pathways into and out of offending for a cohort of 4,300 young people who started secondary school in the city of Edinburgh in 1998. Drawing on self-report data and agency records from the first four sweeps of the study, we argue that (1) the model of offending which can be derived from the study findings is broadly supportive of the Kilbrandon philosophy, (2) current policies targeting persistent offenders are based on a spurious scientific rationale potentially damaging to the indigenous institutional ethos within the Scottish system and (3) such policies are likely to amplify the very problems which they were designed to contain or eradicate.

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'Culture in Practice: The Effectiveness of the Scottish Children's Hearings System' presented at World Societies of Criminology Key Issues Conference, Paris, 2004
Abstract: According to Muncie, the search for consistently efficient and effective practice in a global context means that the dynamics of local contingencies are often overlooked (Muncie 2003). The youth justice system in Scotland is currently incorporating "what works" principles into dedicated programmes for child offenders and piloting fast track children's hearings for persistent offenders. These developments have the potential to undermine key elements of the Kilbrandon philosophy on which the children's hearings system was originally based, through their emphasis on specialist social work intervention focused on criminogenic need (rather than generic intervention based on the welfare needs of the child). The aim of this paper is to assess the relative merits of these alternative visions of youth justice at dealing with children and young people who offend. It is based on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a longitudinal study of pathways into and out of offending for a cohort of 4,300 young people who started secondary school in the city of Edinburgh in 1998. A key objective of this study is to examine the impact of interactions with agencies of social control (including the hearings system) on the subsequent behaviour of young people. Drawing on self-report data and agency records from the first four sweeps of the study, we argue that the model of offending which can be derived from the study findings, is broadly supportive of the Kilbrandon philosophy and that current policies targeting persistent offenders are likely to have a deleterious impact on their behaviour in the longer term.

Lesley McAra 'Youth Crime and Justice in Scotland: Perceptions and Realities' presented at Fifth Biennial Conference on Children, Young People and Crime in Britain and Ireland, Cardiff, 2004

Lesley McAra 'Policing Subjectivities' presented at British Criminology Conference, Portsmouth, 2004

Lesley McAra 'Negotiated Order: Gender, Youth Transitions and Crime' presented at British Criminology Conference, 2003

Lesley McAra 'The Acculturation of Punishment: Theory and Method in Comparative Penology' presented at British Criminology Conference, 2003

Lesley McAra 'Patterns of Offending and Institutional Response: Key Findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime' presented at Edinburgh Common Purpose: Crime and Justice, Edinburgh, 2003

Lesley McAra 'Knowledge and Politics: A Response to Pat Carlen' presented at Scottish Criminology Conference, 2003

Lesley McAra 'Youth Justice in Scotland and England/Wales: Cultural and Institutional Dynamics' presented at University of Leeds: Seminar, Leeds, 2003

Lesley McAra 'The Inter-Relationships between Truancy, School Exclusion and Substance Misuse' presented at City of Edinburgh Council: Children's Services Strategy Group and Drug Action Team Seminar on Youth Transitions and Crime, Edinburgh, 2003

Lesley McAra 'Lay Participation in Juvenile Justice' presented at French Ministry of Justice: Colloquium on Youth Justice, Paris, 2002

Lesley McAra 'The Dynamics of Small-Scale Penal Systems, Inter-agency Working and Cross-Institutional Culture' presented at French Ministry of Justice: Colloquium on Youth Justice, Paris, 2002

Lesley McAra 'The Tutelary Complex, Parenting, Ethnicity And Crime' presented at Jacobs Foundation Conference: Ethnicity and Crime, 2002

Lesley McAra 'Truanting, Social Context and Institutional Response' presented at Edinburgh City Council/University of Edinburgh Conference on Key Findings from the Edinburgh Study, 2002

Lesley McAra 'Punishment, Crime Control and Social Change, Towards a Method for Comparative Penology' presented at European Society of Criminology Conference, 2002

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'The Vagaries of Penal Control, Gender and Juvenile Justice' presented at European Society of Criminology Conference, 2002

Lesley McAra 'Youth Justice in Transition,The Effectiveness of the Childrens Hearings System' presented at Sentencing and Society: Second international conference, Centre for Sentencing Research - University of Strathclyde, 2002

Lesley McAra, David J. Smith 'How Different are Girls, Testing the Need for a Gendered Theory of Offending' presented at Centre for Law and Society Seminar Series, 2001

Lesley McAra, Sarah Armstrong 'Modelling the Penal System, Systematicity and Transformation' presented at American Society of Criminology, 2001

Lesley McAra 'Gender and Crime, A Response to Catharine Mackinnon' presented at Scottish Criminology Conference, 2000

Lesley McAra, Susan McVie 'Violent Crime, Gender Issues' presented at Glasgow University/Children in Scotland Conference "Challenges of Violence in the Lives of Girls and Young Women", 2000

Lesley McAra 'Juvenile Crime and Criminal Justice' presented at The British Council, Special Conference on Juvenile Justice, 2000

Lesley McAra 'Social Work and Parole' presented at Scottish Office National Conference on Social Work and Criminal Justice, 1998