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Rap, S. & Weijers, I. (2014) The Effective Youth Court. Juvenile Justice Procedures in Europe



This book is purpose-made for professionals and academics working in the field of juvenile justice to inform them about a new interdisciplinary perspective .The book explores the way juvenile defendants are involved in the courtroom. The leading idea of the book is that a combination of two perspectives is required to be able to react legally correct and adequately to youth delinquency. Knowledge of the legal framework that has been developed in the past decades in the area of human rights, particularly the procedural rights of the child, has to be enriched with social scientific insights in the development and treatment of the child. First, the book develops a normative framework for the application of the right to be heard in the youth court. Then it offers a comparative analysis of the actual practice of participation of juvenile defendants in Europe. In total 50 youth courts have been visited, involving more than 3000 cases of juvenile defendants. Finally, best practices in the youth court procedure are designated regarding the actual participation of juvenile defendants.
... Before describing the method and results of our study, we will give a brief description of the Dutch situation in the context of that of other European countries. 2 It is not our intention to give an exhaustive comparison of juvenile justice systems (see Matthews et al., 2018;Pruin and Dünkel, 2015;Rap and Weijers, 2014;Weijers, 2017). Our international comparison is limited to the special treatment of young adults in the criminal (juvenile) law system. ...
... Second, there are countries in which young adults are eligible for the mitigation of punitive sentences, such as in most Scandinavian countries (Finland, Sweden and Denmark). Third, there are countries where no special sanctioning of young adults in criminal law exists, such as Spain (Dünkel and Pruin, 2012;Pruin and Dünkel, 2015) or England and Wales (Rap and Weijers, 2014). However, England and Wales do form a special group on their own. ...
... Supervision by probation services can be ordered in conjunction with suspended sentences. The duration and content of the sanctions that young adults can receive, however, may differ from that of minors in these countries (see, for example, Pruin and Dünkel, 2015;Rap and Weijers, 2014). ...
Since 2014 it has been possible to apply juvenile criminal law to young adults aged from 18 up to and including 22 years old in the Netherlands. This policy change is referred to as the Adolescent Criminal Law (ACL). According to the theory behind ACL, providing special treatment within the juvenile justice system to young adults during their transition into adulthood could reduce recidivism. In order to determine the relevance and impact of ACL regarding the application of juvenile sanctions to young adults, in this study a ‘Recently Introduced Policy instrument’ (RIPI) evaluation was conducted. The results suggest that applying juvenile justice sanctions to young adults could offer opportunities to cut short criminal careers and reduce crime amongst young adults. In addition, we found that the proportion of juvenile sanctions applied to young adults has increased despite the overall crime drop amongst young adults. Implications of our findings are discussed.
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There is a growing awareness, in the United States and Europe, that emerging adults – those ages 18–25 – are a developmentally distinct group worth special treatment at the hands of the justice system. Four US states have proposed raising the age of their juvenile courts’ jurisdiction beyond age 18 within the last year, while four out of five European countries have special laws affecting emerging adults. Three European nations – Croatia, Germany, and the Netherlands – allow youth over age 18 to be sanctioned in the same manner as younger youth in the juvenile justice system, including the possibility of being housed in juvenile facilities. In March 2018, the Columbia University Justice Lab sponsored an educational delegation of 20 elected and appointed officials, legal system stakeholders, service providers, and advocates to Germany to learn more about the German approach to emerging adults. In advance of that delegation, the authors in this article examined the law and practice regarding court-involved emerging adults in Croatia, Germany, and the Netherlands to glean potential lessons for US policy-makers considering a developmentally distinct approach to emerging adults in their justice systems.
This article explores how the idea of procedural justice can help us to rethink juvenile justice and research children’s rights in Europe differently. To frame the following argument, we will question four implications of the procedural justice perspective: 1) the need to implement rights and not just proclaim them, 2) the need to investigate a ‘double perspective’ on children’s rights implying both juvenile justice professionals and children in conflict with the law, 3) the child’s right to effectively participate and be involved in the process and 4) the idea that age matters in the judicial reaction to crime. The resulting conclusions and discussions revolve around the scientific consequences and challenges we must face when we take procedural justice perspective seriously.
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