skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 220658 Find in a Library
Title: Implementation of Youth Imprisonment and Constitutional Law in Germany
Journal: Punishment and Society  Volume:9  Issue:4  Dated:October 2007  Pages:347-369
Author(s): Frieder Dunkel; Dirk Van Zyl Smit
Date Published: October 2007
Page Count: 23
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the impact that constitutional law can have on penal policy through an analysis of current development in the law governing youth prisons in Germany.
Abstract: This article concludes that wider implications for penal policy of combining a formal rule that constitutionally guarantees rights of prisoners could only be restricted by primary legislation, with substantive constituted requirements for the objectives of penal legislation and for how these objectives should be met. It is argued that such a rule is potentially applicable not only in Germany but also in other countries with similar constitutional traditions. The article outlines the legislative stalemate that led indirectly to an application being brought. It describes the development of the law relating to the implementation of imprisonment generally since this increased the prospects of success of the application and also predicted the form that the response of the court would take. The article then focuses on the detail of the judgment. Fairly extensive passages of the judgment are quoted in order to convey the reasoning that led to the conclusion that a wide range of issues related to youth imprisonment were of such constitutional significance that the court could direct the legislature in considerable detail on how to deal with them. Next, the article turns to the implications of the judgment for future legislation about the implementation of youth imprisonment in Germany. Particular attention is paid to the importance given to international minimum standards in this regard and to the role research on treatment plays in setting limits to legislative discretion. In both of these respects, the intervention by the court has gone further than ever before. The conclusion considers the wider implications of the German experience for the constitutionalization of penal policy. Notes, references
Main Term(s): Germany; Juvenile courts
Index Term(s): Criminal justice ideologies; Effects of juvenile imprisonment; Incarceration; International; International law; Juvenile justice policies; Juvenile justice system; Legislation
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.