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Crime and Justice: A Review of Research, Volume 31 (Youth Crime and Youth Justice: Comparative and Cross-National Peerspectives)

NCJ Number
Michael Tonry, Anthony N. Doob
Date Published
642 pages
This volume documents the variations in current and past juvenile justice practices and institutions in selected Western countries, identifying differences in practices and outcomes of the various juvenile justice systems surveyed.
The juvenile justice policies are reviewed for Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany. England and the United States operate juvenile justice systems that are, in effect, criminal courts for youth. Other countries have systems that feature the child welfare system as a means of addressing youths' problem behaviors; Scotland is a notable example of this approach. Scandinavian countries (Sweden and Denmark), on the other hand, do not have special courts that process young offenders; instead, they are processed in adult criminal courts, where they are managed under policies that involve less punitive dispositions than those received by adults. New Zealand operates a youth justice system in which family conferencing is a major emphasis. This system has attracted attention throughout the world because it reflects the principles of restorative justice. Age ranges that define who can be processed as a juvenile vary significantly among the countries surveyed. In some countries, the age of criminal responsibility is 15, which means that intentional harms committed by youth under age 15 are not legally crimes. In common-law countries, the age of criminal responsibility may be as young as 7 years old. In New Zealand, the youngest age of criminal responsibility is 10 years old; however, the minimum age of juvenile court jurisdiction is 14 years old. One of the last two chapters addresses the findings of public-opinion surveys about juvenile crime and juvenile justice. The concluding chapter reviews the research on outcomes of restorative justice applications in juvenile processing. Chapter references and author and subject indexes