Comparative Criminal Justice Systems An International Perspective on Juvenile Justice Chapter Nine Reichel
Question The universal nature of delinquency everywhere is “that young people seem to engage in similar kinds of behavior with strikingly similar demographic distributions.” What is the best way to respond to the “problem youth” of society? Welfare and protection of the juvenile, or Welfare and protection of society?
Similarities in Delinquency* • Boys are more likely than girls to commit both property offenses and violent offenses. • Peak ages are similar in most countries: 14-15 vandalism, 16-17 property crimes, 18-20 violent crimes. • Parental supervision is a powerful predictor of delinquency in all the countries – the less supervision, the more delinquent behavior. * International Self-Report Delinquency Study in 12 countries (Junger-Tas, 1996).
Global Response to Juvenile Delinquency Response to crime by young people varies significantly by countries around the globe. Variation reflects the history and culture of its citizens. One consistent feature is the idea that young people should be responded to differently than adults.
Delinquency as a Worldwide Problem(Major Issues) • Differing definitions of age that represent the minimum age of criminal responsibility. • Differing definitions of age that represent the age that juvenile standards should apply. • Variation in record keeping by countries. • Differences in acts counted as offenses.
International Standards United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) • Treaty based binding document: standards for national laws, procedures, and policies. • Minimum standards for juvenile justice. • Standards include: fair trial guarantees; procedural safeguards; promote rehabilitation and reintegration policies. • Only broad statements and general guidelines outline the age of criminal responsibility or the age in which juvenile justice should apply – in other words, no specific age is referenced. • Currently, the age of criminal responsibility ranges from 7 to 18 throughout the world.
Welfare Model Emphasis is on the child’s well-being. • Key personnel: child-care experts. • Use of formal process: partial; prefers nonjudicial process. • Prime objective: protection and well-being of the juvenile is emphasized, with treatment take priority over due process. • Examples: Australia (police cautioning, family group conferencing, juvenile justice teams); New Zealand (restorative justice and family group conferencing).
Legalistic Model Emphasis is on applying the law over treating the juvenile. Stresses when and how the law is used if a juvenile is involved. • Key personnel: lawyers • Use of formal process: full • Prime objective: due process and formal action take priority over treatment because the emphasis is on applying the law. • Examples: Indonesia (no juvenile court structure); Italy (prescribed legal procedures with modifications for the accused’s age).
Corporatist Model A model that incorporates a range of sanctions to unite “just deserts” and restorative justice principles. • Key personnel: administrators and bureaucrats • Use of formal process: partial; prefers nonjudicial process. • Prime objective: emphasis is on operating an effective juvenile justice system with increased efficiency and decreased delays. • Example: England and Wales (order sanctions; youth offending teams and Youth Justice Board; government intervention and cooperation of various professional and interest groups).
Participatory Model Emphasis is on active participation by community agencies and citizens in an effort to contain the harmful behavior of young people. • Key personnel: community members • Use of formal process: scarce; prefers extralegal process. • Prime objective: education of all citizens and the full integration of misbehaving youth into law-abiding society without any significant of formal legal intervention. • Examples: Cuba (education and treatment as opposed to criminal law and the court system); China (education is the tool for young offenders – “help and cooperation teams,” labor is the device used by surveillance and rehabilitation centers to reform the older delinquents).
Questions What model best describes the juvenile system in the United States? Why? What part should parents play with regard to their misbehaving children? How has England responded to the parental challenge?