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NCJ Number: 82101 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Penal Irresponsibility of Juvenile Delinquents and the Concept of 'Non-Discernment' - A Dated Notion?
Journal: Revue de l'institut de sociologie  Issue:2  Dated:(1976)  Pages:51-59
Author(s): C Somerhausen
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: French
Country: Belgium
Annotation: The study traces the development of the Belgian principle of non-discernment, i.e., the inability to differentiate right from wrong and to accept criminal responsibility, as applied to juveniles.
Abstract: The principle of non-discernment was officially established in 1912 to protect juveniles under age 16 and to justify new forms of intervention in their behalf. The later modifications of the law extended the principle to 18-year-olds who would benefit from educational intervention. A law of 1965 applied a principle of moral irresponsibility to any individual regardless of age who is incapable of making judgments and cannot control his or her actions. In 1965, a further law made it possible for judges to reverse the general presumption of non-discernment established by legislators for juveniles between ages 16 and 18, and then for all juveniles according to factors of personality, social conditions, and particular offenses. This reversal resulted from a growth in crime rates and the inadequacy of educational measures. The possibility of reversing the reversal was then made law in 1972. Because of the confusing exceptions, a number of critics favor resetting the age of criminal majority at 16, as in the law of 1912. Notes are supplied.
Index Term(s): Belgium; Criminal responsibility; Juvenile adjudication; Juvenile justice system; Laws and Statutes
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