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NCJ Number: 68128 Find in a Library
Title: DECRIMINALIZATION - THE CANADIAN EXAMPLE (FROM CAPITULO CRIMINOLOGICO 5, P 93, 95-107, 1977)
Author(s): J M RICO
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: Spanish
Country: Venezuela
Annotation: CANADA'S SOLUTION TO A CRISIS IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE (CAUSED BY UNMANAGEABLE CASELOADS) CONSISTS OF THE DECRIMINALIZATION, DEPENALIZATION, AND DEJUDICIALIZATION OF CERTAIN ACTS.
Abstract: THE ARTICLE BEGINS WITH A RESTATEMENT OF THE CRIMINALIZATION CRITERIA WHICH LEGISLATORS SHOULD BEAR IN MIND WHEN ADDING NEW OFFENSES TO THE EXISTING CRIMINAL CODES (E.G., OBJECTIVE LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS RATHER THAN PERSONAL MORAL CONVICTIONS, AVOIDANCE OF ADDITIONS THAT WOULD GO BEYOND THE CAPABILITIES OF THE PANEL JUSTICE SYSTEM, AND REFRAINING FROM USING CRIMINALIZATION AS A PROBLEMSOLVING DEVICE). A LIST OF TYPES OF BEHAVIOR THAT SHOULD NOT BE CRIMINALIZED AND THOSE THAT SHOULD BE DECRIMINALIZED INCLUDES BEHAVIOR OCCURRING AMONG THE SOCIALLY HANDICAPPED OR MARGINAL GROUPS, ACTS USUALLY NOT REPORTED TO THE POLICE, AND ACTS COMMITTED ONLY IN SITUATIONS OF EXTREME PHYSICAL OR MORAL DISTRESS. TYPES OF CONDUCT WHICH ARE MORALLY OBJECTIONABLE RATHER THAN CRIMINAL, SUCH AS HOMOSEXUALITY, PROSTITUTION, PORNOGRAPHY; ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR SUCH AS BEGGING, VAGRANCY, AND DRUG USE; TRAFFIC-RELATED OFFENSES; AND SOME FORMS OF PROPERTY CRIMES INVOLVING ONLY THE TRANSFER OF SOCIAL COSTS (E.G., VEHICLE THEFT AND BANK ROBBERY) SHOULD ALSO BE DECRIMINALIZED BY DEPENALIZATION. CANADA IS CURRENTLY INTRODUCING CRIMINAL LAW REFORMS AIMED AT DEPENALIZING ACTS WHICH DO NOT THREATEN SOCIETY, OR WHICH CAN BE HANDLED WITH ALTERNATIVES TO INSTITUTIONALIZATION. CANADA FORMED A LAW REFORM COMMITTEE, WHICH IN 1975 PUBLISHED A LAW REFORM MODEL EMPHASIZING 'DEJUDICIALIZATION' (I.E., JUDICIAL DIVERSION) OF MANY CRIMINALIZED MINOR OFFENSES. THE OBJECTIVE OF THE PROPOSED REFORM WAS TO KEEP AS MANY INDIVIDUALS AS POSSIBLE OUT OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. DEJUDICIALIZATION, OR DISCRETIONARY DECISIONS INVOLVING NONJUDICIAL CASE HANDLING, COULD BE IMPLEMENTED BY THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE, BY THE POLICE, THE PROSECUTORS, AND THE TRIAL JUDGES. A SPECIAL CANADIAN DECRIMINALIZATION PROJECT INVOLVING JUVENILE OFFENDERS RELIES CHIEFLY ON INCLUDING CONSIDERATION OF OFFENDERS PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS, FAMILY AND SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT, LIFE HISTORY, AND THE AVAILABILITY OF ALTERNATIVES TO INSTITUTIONALIZATION IN THE COMMUNITY AND TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO BRING THE CASE TO COURT. HOWEVER, SUCH DECRIMINALIZATION PROJECTS HAVE BEEN HASTILY CONCEIVED, WITHOUT SUFFICIENT ADVANCE PLANNING OF THE ALTERNATIVE MEASURES SUPPOSED OF REPLACE COURT PROCEEDINGS. ALSO, THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE MEASURES HAS REMAINED WITH JUDICIAL AGENCIES. --IN SPANISH. (LGR)
Index Term(s): Administrative adjudication; Alternatives to institutionalization; Canada; Decriminalization; Discretionary decisions; Foreign juvenile justice systems; Judicial discretion; Judicial diversion; Juvenile court diversion; Law reform; Police discretion; Prosecutorial discretion; Socially challenged
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68128

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