Juvenile criminal law too focused on punishment: advice group

Criminal law relating to juveniles needs to be overhauled because it has too much emphasis on punishment alone, a government advisory committee said on Monday.

The criminal law and youth protection council said in a report that a focus on punishing juvenile offenders without measures to improve their behaviour is largely pointless.
In addition, between 70% and 80% of young people only commit one crime and do not offend again, the committee pointed out. The committee admits its recommendations go against the current trend towards tough punishment.
‘The entire criminal justice system has become more repressive in the Netherlands,’ committee member Roelie van Rossum told the Telegraaf. ‘But the starting point has always been that the educational element should be primary.’
The committee also suggests the setting up of an intermediate criminal law system between juvenile and adult law. This would cover 18 to 24-year-olds who are not yet fully mature adults.

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