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The first part of this remarkable book consists of interviews with young people (and sometimes their parents) who have committed criminal offences. They were selected for interview by local authority youth justice teams and were chosen for the crimes they had committed, rather than for their background or school record. Sarah Curtis interviewed 11 of them. Only one was a girl; five of them were white; six black or of mixed parentage. By chance, this more or less reflects the pattern of young offenders in urban areas.

Curtis is a skilled interviewer of young people, as you might expect from…

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