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NCJ Number: 199785 Find in a Library
Title: Young Offenders and Diversionary Options
Author(s): Rowena Johns
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 39
Sponsoring Agency: Parliament of New South Wales
Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Sale Source: Parliament of New South Wales
Parliament House
Macqurie St.
Sydney, NSW 2000,
Document: HTML
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This briefing paper is a progress report on diversion options from court for juveniles who commit criminal offenses in New South Wales (Australia), with attention to the system of cautions, warnings, and youth justice conferences available under the Young Offenders Act 1997.
Abstract: An overview of the application of the criminal law to juvenile offenders notes that a child under 10 years old cannot be guilty of a criminal offense in New South Wales, and children who are from ages 10 to less than 14 are presumed to lack the criminal intent to commit an offense. Most criminal charges against children are heard in the Children's Court, but indictable offenses may be referred to the District Court or Supreme Court for trial or sentence when the Children's Court determines that the charge may not be properly disposed of summarily. An outline of the Young Offenders Act 1997 indicates that it formally recognizes warnings, cautions, and conferences as alternatives to conventional court proceedings for juveniles who commit crimes other than those that result in the death of a person, serious drug offenses, various sexual offenses, domestic violence, traffic offenses, and strictly indictable offenses. Police officers may issue warnings to juveniles who commit summary offenses that are covered by the Young Offenders Act and do not involve violence. A warning cannot be accompanied by conditions or additional sanctions. Cautions are available for an offense that is covered by the Act if the juvenile admits the offense, agrees to be cautioned, and has not previously been cautioned on three occasions. An investigating police officer who determines that a warning or a caution is inappropriate may refer the case to a specialist youth officer, who considers whether a youth justice conference should be held. Conferences are conducted by a conference convener, and the offender must be in attendance. Other attendees may include members of the offender's family, the offender's lawyer, police officers, community and school representatives, and the victim and support persons. The participants discuss an "outcome plan" that may involve the offender's apologizing, making reparation to the victim, receiving counseling, and completing a rehabilitation or educational program. Assessments of the effects of the Young Offenders Act show that the diversionary goals of the Act are being achieved. Only 18.5 percent of juvenile offenders were brought to court in the 2001-2002 fiscal year. Other diversionary options discussed in this paper are mentoring and the youth drug court pilot program. 155 notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile diversion programs
Index Term(s): Family conferencing; Foreign laws; Juvenile codes; Juvenile drug courts; Mentoring programs; Police discretion; Police juvenile diversion; Police warning
Note: Downloaded April 3, 2003.
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