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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78590 Find in a Library
Title: International Summaries: Juvenile Delinquency in Belgium from 1971 to 1975.
Author(s): M Dechesne
Corporate Author: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
United States of America
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Contract Number: J-LEAA-023-77
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS Publication Sales
Box 6000 Department F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Statistics
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Statistics on juvenile delinquents referred to the public prosecutor and actually brought to trial in Belgium from 1971 to 1975 are presented.
Abstract: Figures show that the number of youths referred to the prosecutor's office for traffic and morals violations was small because of legal reforms, i.e., a 1972 law giving courts of common law jurisdiction in traffic cases and a 1973 law permitting minors 16 to 18 years old to go to cafes and discos. Referrals in other categories, e.g., offenses committed against persons, increased in number. Of the 24 million minors reported in 1975, most committed offenses in the course of their normal activities without malice or advanced planning. For this reason, the prosecutor's office made frequent use of its option not to prosecute cases. Twenty of 100 youths were brought to court, but the number varies widely from region to region. Only the most serious cases were tried, and even then the judge could require medical-psychological investigation of juvenile offenders' personalities. Placement in a suitable institution and probation were possible sentences; few more stringent measures were imposed. Age, sex, and type of crime committed all affected treatment of juvenile offenders by the courts, but the type of crime was the most significant (e.g., juveniles-at-risk and vagabonds were placed in homes while juveniles who committed qualified offenses were put on probation). Judges usually revised decisions at the request of the prosecutor rather than of the minor or his parents. Nevertheless, the statistics reflect how the juvenile court system functions rather than real juvenile delinquency rates: the law, not the number of delinquents, has changed. Before any further modifications are made in the juvenile law of 1965, a study of individual juvenile files rather than catch-all statistics is needed to establish what processes involve juveniles with the law and what the effects of existing interventions have been. Numerous tables and some notes are furnished.
Index Term(s): Belgium; Court statistics; Judicial discretion; Juvenile adjudication; Juvenile codes; Juvenile court diversion; Juvenile court intake; Juvenile courts; Juvenile justice system; Juvenile probation; Law reform; Prosecutorial screening
Note: This article, summarized and translated from French by Marianne Herr Paul, was originally published in Belgium in 1979. NIJ/NCJRS international summary of "La delinquance juvenile en Belgique de 1971 a 1975" (NCJ-64049).
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