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NCJ Number: 68828 Find in a Library
Title: JUVENILE CRIME AND THE CRIMINAL CODE
Journal: POLICE COLLEGE MAGAZINE  Volume:15  Issue:2  Dated:(SPRING 1979)  Pages:17-22
Author(s): M E SAUNDERS
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 6
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES THE HISTORY OF BRITISH JUVENILE JUSTICE, SHORTCOMINGS OF THE PRESENT CODE AND HOW TO RECTIFY THEM, AND JUVENILE JUSTICE IN SWEDEN, THE UNITED STATES, AND SCOTLAND.
Abstract: THE PRESENT BRITISH JUVENILE JUSTICE CODE, ENACTED IN 1969, DOES NOT SUFFICIENTLY DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THOSE CHILDREN WHO NEED CARE AND SUPPORT AND THOSE WHO REQUIRE PUNISHMENT. SOME REFORMERS ARE DISSATISFIED WITH ANY SYSTEM EXACTING CRIMINAL PENALTIES FROM JUVENILES, WHILE OTHERS CLAIM THE PRESENT SYSTEM IS TOO SOFT. IN THE PAST, BRITISH COURTS DID NOT DISTINGUISH BETWEEN ADULTS AND CHILDREN OVER 7 YEARS. FROM 1908-1933, HOWEVER, DELINQUENT CHILDREN BEGAN TO BE VIEWED UNDER THE LAW AS VICTIMS OF THEIR ENVIRONMENT NEEDING CARE RATHER THAN RESPONSIBLE CRIMINALS. SEPARATE JUVENILE COURTS FOR THOSE BETWEEN 10 AND 16 WERE CREATED, AND THESE COURTS SUBSEQUENTLY BECAME WELFARE AGENCIES. HOWEVER, SINCE RESEARCH INDICATES THAT HARDCORE JUVENILE DELINQUENTS ARE 15 TO 17 AND CRIMINAL SANCTIONS ARE INADVISABLE FOR THOSE UNDER 15, THE AGE OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY SHOULD BE RAISED TO 15, JUVENILE COURTS SHOULD BE ABOLISHED ALTOGETHER, AND DELINQUENTS UNDER 15 SHOULD BE SUPERVISED BY CHILD WELFARE AGENCIES. MAGISTRATES MIGHT THEN REMAND CHILDREN 15 TO 17 TO FAMILY COURTS, WHICH COULD ORDER FINES, INSTITUTIONALIZATION, PROBATION, OR TURN JUVENILES OVER TO ADULT COURTS IN VERY SERIOUS CASES. PARENTS SHOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF THEIR CHILDREN UNDER 15 THROUGH A COMPENSATION SYSTEM. SCOTLAND MAINTAINS A SYSTEM OF 'REPORTERS' TO REFER CHILDREN AGED 8 TO 16 TO VARIOUS TREATMENT OR TO PANELS TO CONSIDER MORE SERIOUS CASES; THE MOST SERIOUS CASES FALL UNDER THE CRIMINAL CODE. SWEDEN'S SYSTEM IS SIMILAR TO SCOTLAND'S, ALTHOUGH NO CHILD UNDER 15 MAY ENTER THE COURTS. IN THE UNITED STATES, JUVENILES BETWEEN 10 AND 18 FALL UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF JUVENILE COURTS, BUT MAY BE DIVERTED FROM THE COURTS INTO VARIOUS PROGRAMS. DIVERSION IS RECOMMENDED FOR BRITISH JUVENILES AS WELL, SINCE IT PERMITS THEM TO AVOID EARLY CRIMINAL STIGMAS,AND SAVES TIME AND MONEY. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF 9 PUBLICATIONS IS INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Great Britain/United Kingdom; History of juvenile justice; Juvenile codes; Juvenile court diversion; Juvenile dependency and neglect; Juvenile designated felonies; Sweden; United States of America
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68828

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