Login | Register

Monday 11th of November 2019

Documentation Center

Juvenile Justice Systems: A Comparative Analysis

James Dignan
IJJO. First International Conference on Juvenile Justice. Salamanca 2004.


Communication submitted in the First International Conference of Juvenile Justice "Juvenile Justice and the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency in a Globalized World". Salamanca 2004.

This paper draws on an ongoing study of comparative penology that is being undertaken by Michael Cavadino and myself in collaboration with colleagues from a wide range of countries representing Western Europe (England and Wales, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden and Finland), the non-European English-speaking world (USA, Australia and New Zealand), an advanced industrialised but non-Western state (Japan) and the fascinating but rather special case of South Africa. At a theoretical level, the approach we have adopted is based on an analytical framework as we have previously developed for our book on the English Penal System (Cavadino and Dignan, 2002), which we call radical pluralism. We have tried to show how the radical pluralist framework applies to the realm of penality with the aid of a diagram (see Figure 1).

Radical pluralism conceives of society as containing a plurality of interest groups, such as business organisations, trade unions, and political parties, which contend to have power exerted in their favour. These interest groups include economic classes, but are not restricted to them, since race, nationality and gender relations are also critical to any adequate social analysis. The state mediates this contest between the various interest groups, but does not do so in an impartial manner since it is inherently biased towards groups which already possess wealth, established power and status. However, the relationship between the state and the various interest groups is likely to vary from one country to another. The social world in which all this contending and mediating activity takes place has both material and ideological aspects to it, and these components interact with one another reciprocally [refer to diagram]. And the way they interact is likely to have important consequences in the realm of penality. Naturally, however, the precise nature of the relationship between political, economic and cultural factors - and also the interplay between them - is likely to vary within different kinds of societies.



Year Language

2004 English

Category Type

Grey Literature Communication


Justice, Juvenile, Models, Penal, Systems


Pdf file

Download document

application/pdf iconPDF (English)Help

Search in Documentation Center


  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

    All rights reserved

  • Head Office: Rue Mercelis, nº 50. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience

You can change the settings or get more information here.