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Sports-Based Interventions and the Local Governance of Youth Crime and Antisocial Behavior

Drawing on analysis of youth crime and antisocial behavior reduction policies and a qualitative study of sports-based interventions (SBIs) in England, the article considers three ways in which SBI staff, managers, partners, and participants suggest projects contribute to youth crime reduction: encouraging young people’s “self-transformation” through the development of supportive and mentoring relationships (changing people), providing alternative activities and “sanctioned” spaces (changing environments), and influencing the ways in which transgressive behavior is dealt with by criminal justice agencies through multi agency relationships and partnerships (changing responses). Arguments developed in the criminological literature on the community governance of youth are applied to the interpretation of these findings to interrogate and expand current understandings of the role played by SBIs within broader strategies for governing young people and the professionals working with them.