Youth justice is an umbrella term describing the intervention of the police, welfare agencies and courts seeking to control and reform children (10–13 years) and young persons (14–17) who commit criminal offences. When the Labour government came to power in 1997, reform of the youth justice system was a clear policy priority. In opposition, shadow ministers were convinced of the need for a radical reshaping on the basis of substantial evidence of expense, delay and ineffectiveness throughout the system (Audit Commission, 1996; Straw and Michael, 1996). They were also considerably influenced by a very substantial Home Office self-report study of all aspects of young peoples’ involvement in crime (Graham and Bowling, 1995). Once in power, the Home Secretary immediately established a Youth Justice Task Force to advise him on proposals for reform. The ensuing White Paper No More Excuses (Home Office, 1997), set out a new aim for the youth justice system and made proposals for its achievement through management of the system, new orders and restorative justice oriented strategies. These were subsequently enacted in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (CDA 1998) and the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (YJCEA 1999). At the same time new civil orders targeted at children below the age of criminal responsibility were introduced. (For more detail of the background and critiques of various aspects of the reforms, see: Fionda, 1999; Wonnacott, 1999; Gelsthorpe and Morris, 1999; Ball, McCormac and Stone, 2001: ch. 1; Ball, 2000.)