Much research and debate revolves around the problem of juvenile delinquency in the US.
Juvenile Crime, Juvenile Justice. The National Academies Press. In England and Wales, about perto year-olds were convicted or cautioned by the police for violent crimes homicide, assault, robbery, and rape in In Germany, perto year-olds and in The Netherlands perto year-olds were suspects of violent crime in Pfeiffer, Comparing how different countries deal with juvenile offenders is equally challenging.
Countries differ in the ages of young people considered legal juveniles, in how juvenile courts are organized, and in the types of institution used to sanction juvenile offenders.
As Table shows, the minimum age for being considered criminally responsible varies from 7 years in Switzerland and the Australian state of Tasmania to 16 in Belgium and Russia. The age of full criminal responsibility i. In the United States, both minimum and maximum ages of juvenile court jurisdiction vary by state, with most states having no minimum age although in practice, children younger than 10 are seldom seen in juvenile courts.
The maximum age of juvenile court jurisdiction is younger in many U. At the same time that states and the federal government in the United States have been moving toward treating juvenile offenders more like adult criminals, many other countries retain a strong rehabilitative stance.
The Youth Court Law of Austria, for example, describes juvenile offending as a normal step in development for which restorative justice, not punishment, is the appropriate response. The Belgium Youth Court Protection Act specifies that the only measures that can be imposed on a juvenile are for his or her care, protection, and education.
In New Zealand, sinceFamily Group Conferences have been used to replace or supplement youth courts for most of the serious criminal cases. In the early s, England and Wales moved toward community-based sanctions for young offenders and away from institutional placements.
This trend was reversed in the s, however, when England and Wales reacted to the upswing in juvenile violence in a manner similar to the United States, focusing on the offense, rather than the offender.
Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of made it easier to place offenders younger than 15 years in juvenile correctional facilities and extended the maximum length of allowable sentences. Crime and Disorder Act of moved the English juvenile justice system even further toward a punitive, offense-based model.
Page 21 Share Cite Suggested Citation: In Denmark, maximum punishments well below those available for adults are specified in law for juveniles 15 and older; juveniles under the age of 15 may not be punished, but may be referred to a social welfare agency. In Sweden, imprisonment may only be imposed on juveniles under exceptional circumstances, and even then, the sentences imposed are shorter than for adults.
The United States has a very high overall rate of incarceration. At per , the U. Although adequate juvenile incarceration figures do not exist in the United States, the incarceration rate for homicides committed by juveniles is illustrative of the difference in incarceration rates.
Comparable numbers in other countries are 2. Some of the differences in juvenile homicide incarceration rates are likely to be due to differences in homicide commission rates.
In none of the 15 countries surveyed by Weitekamp et al. Prevention, Treatment, and Control was asked to identify and analyze the full range of research studies and datasets that bear on the nature of juvenile crime, highlighting key issues and data sources that can provide evidence of prevalence and seriousness; race, gender, and class bias; and impacts of deterrence, punishment, and prevention strategies.
The panel was further asked to analyze the factors that contribute to delinquent behavior, including a review of the knowledge on child and adolescent development and its implications for prevention and control; to assess the current practices of the juvenile justice system, including the implementation of constitutional safeguards; to examine adjudication, detention and waiver practices; to explore the role of community and institutional settings; to assess the quality of data sources on the clients of both public and private juvenile justice facilities; and to assess the impact of the deinstitutionalization mandates of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of on delinquency and community safety.
To meet this charge, the study panel and staff gathered information in a number of ways. The panel met six times between June and October to discuss data availability and research findings, identify critical issues, analyze the data and issues, seek additional information on specific concerns, formulate conclusions and recommendations, and develop this report.
Four of these meetings were preceded by workshops at which experts presented information on selected topics and engaged in discussions with panel members. Workshops were held on education and delinquency, juvenile justice system issues, developmental issues relevant to delinquency, and racial disparity in the juvenile justice system.
See Appendix E for workshop agendas. In addition to the workshops, Howard Snyder, research director of the National Center for Juvenile Justice, spent part of one meeting discussing relevant datasets with the panel members. The panel commissioned three papers:For a more thorough and detailed outline of juvenile delinquency law in the United States, please see the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention website.
 The United States federal government enacted legislation to unify the handling of juvenile delinquents, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Act of Oct 22, · The United States stands alone as the only nation that sentences people to life without parole for crimes committed before turning This briefing paper reviews the Supreme Court precedents that limited the use of JLWOP and the challenges that remain.
After decades of punitive “tough-on-crime” responses to youth crime and misbehavior, there has been a perceptible shift in recent years surrounding juvenile justice issues in the United States.
Policymakers are slowly returning to the first principles of juvenile justice by recognizing that young people are still developing and should be given . A historical overview of the juvenile justice system illustrates the view that juvenile justice policies in the United States follow a cyclical pattern in which political favor fluctuates from acting in the best interests of the child (rehabilitation) to protecting the rights of adults.
State juvenile justice legislation in focused on broad, sweeping reform measures, raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, sealing and expungement of juvenile records, addressing due process and rights of juveniles, and limiting the use of restraints and solitary confinement.
A separate juvenile justice system was established in the United States about years ago with the goal of diverting youthful offenders from the destructive punishments of criminal courts and encouraging rehabilitation based on the individual juvenile's needs.