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NCJ Number: 70780 Find in a Library
Title: Law and Its Impact on the Social Reality in the Domain of Judicial Protection of Adolescents
Journal: Annales de Vaucresson  Issue:16  Dated:(1979)  Pages:199-222
Author(s): M Henry; H Girault; V Peyre; J Selosse
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 24
Type: Statistics
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: France
Annotation: Changing trends in juvenile delinquency in France and distortion of French laws which provide for educational measures to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents are discussed.
Abstract: Since a 1945 law called for special juvenile protective measures, problems in handling juvenile cases have become increasingly complex. The actual juvenile delinquency situation is not adequately represented statistically because of shortcomings of the statistical approach (e.g., inaccurate indirect estimates based on convictions, double counting of juveniles under prosecution and receiving special assistance, lack of statistics on recidivism). Authorities intervene more and more frequently in cases of juveniles from the low socioeconomic classes. At the same time, the ratio of juvenile judges to juveniles is becoming less favorable. From 1961 to 1977 the highest growth rate for juvenile delinquency has been among older adolescents. Property crimes have increased most rapidly, while auto thefts and sexual offenses have decreased. The number of referrals to examining magistrates, cases of provisional detention, provisional placements, and personality investigations has dropped since 1971, while disposition of cases by the prosecutor varies widely according to offender age, case jurisdiction, and nature of the crime. From 1961 and 1977 penal sanctions have increased (especially for juveniles over 16), use of educational measures has fallen off markedly, and reprimands have dropped slightly. The number of juveniles under guardianship has grown from 344,700 in 1961 to 520,000 in 1976. In general, there is a trend toward nonjudicial intervention in cases of juvenile delinquency. Assessment of intervention procedures at various levels (department store security, police, prosecutor's office, examining judges, juvenile judges) suggests that intervention itself can become a segregating force which creates a chronically marginal subculture rather than an integrative aid as was intended. The failure of judges to apply educative or protective measures may be attributed in part to the large number of cases to be handled by the justice system and to individual personality factors of judges. A more positive view is that nonintervention is the most effective means of keeping juveniles out of the vicious circle of judicial control. Special training for juvenile judges, clear definition of procedures and obligations, decriminalization of minor offenses, and education of juveniles and their families about their rights are recommended. --in French.
Index Term(s): Crime Statistics; European Juvenile Justice Codes; France; Intervention; Juvenile codes; Juvenile court procedures; Juvenile court statistics; Juvenile statistics; Rights of minors; Social classes
Note: Part of an international seminar held at Louvain-La-Neuve from May 18-20, 1978, on the theme of institutional placement. Report to the Pre-Planning Commission of the Ministry of Justice
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