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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77794 Find in a Library
Title: Police and the Very Young Offender
Journal: Police Review  Volume:89  Issue:4604  Dated:(May 1, 1981)  Pages:850-853
Author(s): S A M McLean; J P Grant
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The problem of dealing with offenders under 8 years of age in Scotland is discussed by two attorneys, who offer various strategies and suggest one solution.
Abstract: At present, the presumption exists that no child under the age of 8 years can commit an offense. Older youthful offenders may be placed before a Children's Hearing Board, constituted of laymen and permanent officials (Reporters), to determine if a need for compulsory measures of care is present, although children under the age of 13 can be prosecuted only with the consent of the Lord Advocate. To determine if the police came into contact with offenders under 8 years of age, a 2-year police survey was conducted in Glasgow. The results showed that the police had apprehended over 31 offenders in this age group. Furthermore, a survey of the Strathclyde police from September 1978 through February 1979 identified 17 such offenders, most of whom were 7 years old and were reported for shoplifting articles of low value. To ascertain whether children identified early as offenders are likely to continue in their criminal careers and subsequently come into the Children's Hearing System, a followup study was conducted with the 31 Glasgow children. The findings showed that 13 children were referred to the system and that 10 received hearings. All 10 were placed on supervision, and this 100 percent rate of compulsory intervention compared to a national average of only 60 percent. Thus, a group of children in need of treatment were not receiving it under the present system. This problem could be resolved by referring all children under the age of 16 to the Children's Hearings for a determination of whether or not action is appropriate. Under this system, the child would not be required to accept criminal responsibility but only acknowledge an understanding and acceptance of the nature and content of the allegations and of a need for some form of intervention. Tables and a 17-item reference list are included.
Index Term(s): Criminal responsibility; Juvenile delinquency prediction; Police responsibilities; Scotland; Young juvenile offenders
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