Some juvenile deliquents should face school, not jail, says minister

Judges may be given the power to send some juvenile delinquents back to school rather than give them a custodial sentence, if new justice ministry proposals become law.

Junior justice minister Fred Teeven says the measure should apply to youngsters convicted of minor offences such as shoplifting and vandalism.

Teenagers convicted of serious offences should always be locked up, the minister said in a briefing to parliament on the proposals.

The ‘return to school’ policy would apply to some 375 to 500 12 to 23-year-olds a year. The aim is to help them earn qualifications and keep out of further trouble, the minister said.

The original proposal comes from Labour MP Ahmed Marcouch who was a youth worker before becoming a politician and the plans have been worked out with schools and the probation services, Nos television said.

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