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Le Droit Penal des Mineurs en Allemagne: Entre un Systeme de Protection et de Justice (Juvenile Justice in Germany: Between a System of Care and Justice)

NCJ Number
Deviance et societe Volume: 26 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2002 Pages: 297-313
F. Dunkel
Date Published
September 2002
17 pages
This article describes the German juvenile justice system.
Following the continental European model of justice, juvenile justice interventions are restricted to behavior violating the penal code. Interventions are oriented to the idea of education rather than punishment. In the 1980's and 1990's, diversion achieved major importance. In 1999, prosecutors or judges dismissed 69 percent of cases on the grounds of their discretionary power. Custodial sanctions have been reduced, with short-term detention and youth custody of 6 months up to 5 or 10 years. The crime rate, particularly violent crime, increased in the 1990's. Young adults, age 18- to 21- years-old, are dealt with by juvenile courts, according to the German juvenile justice system. They are sentenced according to milder sanctions of the juvenile justice act, particularly in serious cases of violent crimes. The development of the sentencing practice and the problems of an unequal practice when comparing regional disparities are described. The conservative parties in opposition to the government are promoting increased penalties in juvenile crime policy. But the practice has maintained its moderate style by refusing to adopt “getting tough” policies. 5 figures, 4 tables, 16 footnotes, 28 references