The recent riots in Britain have forced policy makers to look anew at a juvenile justice system that has historically focused on rehabilitation and diversion. An AP story details growing public outrage and frustration of officials within the system to what they see as a soft approach to juvenile crime. The change in tone has been set by Prime Minister David Cameron, who as recently as 2006 was celebrating programs aimed at understating marginalized youth, including one dubbed “Hug a Hoodie.”
Today, however, after major riots in London, Birmingham and Manchester and other U.K cities, the prime minister threatens not only jail but a loss of government support, including housing subsidies for young people participating in the disturbances. Thousands have been arrested during and after the riots with about half of them, police say, under the age of 18.