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What are persistent young offenders, children of 14 to 16 or even younger, really like? What do they think about when they steal or rob people? Why do they think they are always getting into trouble? In this vivid, compelling and combative work Sarah Curtis chronicles at first hand young people talking about all aspects of their chaotic lives, their hopes for the future and their anxieties - where possible recording their parents views also.Following an analysis of youth justice based on 20 years direct experience she points out that we do know how to prevent much juvenile offending through community projects of proven benefit and other tried and tested means of reintegrating children in trouble with the law into schools, colleges, communities and careers. To this end, she makes suggestions which go well beyond the reforms of successive governments (including those in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Bill) who have preferred the rhetoric of punishment rather than to direct adequate resources into more effective and constructive outcomes.