Young people and the criminal justice system: psychological research and practice

This module engages students in the key debates that arise when working psychologically with young people in the criminal justice system.


This module aims to provide you with a developmental perspective of understanding young people in the criminal justice system.

It will draw on psychological and criminological theories to understand young people’s journeys through the criminal justice system. The concepts of risk, power, safety, and vulnerability will be considered, alongside understanding the narrative of young people’s lives and how they are shaped by the multiple systems within which they interact (i.e. legal, health, social care, education).

Through taking a developmental lens to understand the needs and experience of young people this module will draw on attachment and trauma-informed frameworks.

Main topics include

  • From arrest to sentencing: an overview of the youth justice system
  • The developmental needs of young people: understanding models of risk and vulnerability
  • Attachment and trauma-informed perspectives
  • Policing and the youth courts
  • Young people and prison
  • Young people and secure mental health settings.


Coursework (100%)