Author Topic: The dystopian Denmark: juvenile punished worse than adults  (Read 472 times)

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Offline Oscar

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The dystopian Denmark: juvenile punished worse than adults
« on: April 27, 2011, 05:21:54 AM »
I found this blog: Juvenile offenders are punished harder in Denmark than adults

Quote
Our Supreme court is reviewing the sentence system for juvenile offenders, because something is wrong with our system.

In a number of cases there have been teens and adults charged with the same crime.

Those who were over 18 then got away with a couple of months while the underaged offenders were given a two year youth sanction. Considering the fact that all may have served time in detention up to the trial the adults could just go free after the trial with time served.

The youth sanction consist of three phases:
About 2 month in a secure detention center
12 months in a open residential treatment center or in a group home based on the economy at the local department of social services
10 months with supervision from the local department of social services

There is a lot difference between being locked up for over a year before returning to the local community and then being able to walk right home after the trial.

Fact is that it should be totally opposite. All research states that the brains by teenagers are not fully developed. They are not able to plan long-term like adults. Their crimes are impulse driven.

A country like Denmark should be in the frontline when it comes to both crime prevention and punishing people where it would work.

Warehousing young people for that amount of time in secure detention centers and group homes is not only wrong. It could actually worsen the situation for the teenagers because the teenager may end up being both institutionalized and learning from the other offenders. It is no secret that the Danish penal system is a recruiting base for the gangs responsible for the majority of the armed crime spree which have hit the Danish streets in recent years.

Being tough on crime is not a question of how long we can lock these young people away. It is a matter of stepping in with short but efficient sanctions for anti-social behavior and let the department of social services deal with the long-term treatment in the local community. Warnings don't work. Scared straight don't work. Boot camps don't work. Cooperation between courts and department of social services where the focus is restorative justice is the only path with proven results.

I hope that the state loses in court so the youth sanction can go away and we can start helping the juvenile offenders so the number of victims will be lowered too.

All too often the teenagers who have been through this sanction ends up in adult prison and then the road to recovery will be expensive, hard and long.

Sources:
Højesteret får første sag med 14-årige - Denmarks Radio (In Danish)
Restorative justice - Wikipedia
Examining the Research on Juvenile Programs - Juvenile Justice Bulletin

I have seen something similar about Pennsylvania and Florida before.
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