Young people, crime and school exclusion: a case of some surprises

Philip Hodgson, David Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the 1990s the number of young people being permanently excluded from schools in England and Wales increased dramatically from 2,910 (1990/91) to a peak of 12,700 (1996/97). Coinciding with this rise was a resurgence of the debate centring on lawless and delinquent youth. With the publication of Young People and Crime (Graham and Bowling 1995) and Misspent Youth (Audit Commission 1996) the ‘common sense assumption’ that exclusion from school inexorably promoted crime received wide support, with the school excludee portrayed as another latter day ‘folk devil’. This article explores the link between school exclusion and juvenile crime, and offers some key findings from a research study undertaken with 56 young people who had experience of being excluded from school. Self-report interview questions reveal that whilst 40 of the young people had offended, 90% (36) reported that the onset of their offending commenced prior to their first exclusion. Moreover, 50 (89.2% of the total number of young people in the sample), stated that they were no more likely to offend subsequent to being excluded and 31 (55.4%) stated that they were less likely to offend during their exclusion period. Often, this was because on being excluded, they were ‘grounded’ by their parents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-28
JournalHoward Journal of Crime and Justice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


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