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At what age should children be held responsible for their criminal acts?

 
 
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 03:07 am
The former head of the (English) Youth Justice Board, Professor Rod Morgan, has called for the age at which children can be locked up to be raised in Britain.
The age at which children can be prosecuted is far lower in Britain than it is in our nearest European neighbours.
The minimum age is 12 in the Netherlands, 13 in France, 14 in Germany, 15 in Sweden and Italy, 16 in Spain and 18 in Belgium.
In Scotland where the (UK) PM grew up it is only 8 years. [Brown recognises that such a shift would not necessarily attract political support as media focus on youth disorder remains high, particularly in local papers.]

http://i40.tinypic.com/sfihbq.jpg


Report in the Independent >HERE<
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OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 03:24 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

Quote:
The former head of the (English) Youth Justice Board, Professor Rod Morgan,
has called for the age at which children can be locked up to be raised in Britain.
The age at which children can be prosecuted is far lower in Britain than it is in
our nearest European neighbours. The minimum age is 12 in the Netherlands,
13 in France, 14 in Germany, 15 in Sweden and Italy, 16 in Spain and 18 in Belgium.
In Scotland where the (UK) PM grew up it is only 8 years.
[Brown recognises that such a shift would not necessarily attract political support
as media focus on youth disorder remains high, particularly in local papers.]

For violent crime, in my opinion it shud remain the same.
Suppose, for example, that an 8 year old takes a cement block
or a wooden club and bashes his victim 's head in with many strokes
or if he surgically removes it with a scythe (without the victim's consent).
There is no room for doubt that he understands
that he is destroying that person and he cannot be expected to survive without a head.

Such a person shud be dealt with the same as an adult.
There is no logical reason to differ in the treatment.

I venture to opine that if u took a survay of 8 year olds, thay 'd agree.





David
Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 05:31 am
@Walter Hinteler,
In Canada, the Young Offenders Act was amended with the Youth Criminal Justice Act.


The Young Offenders Act
The highly controversial Young Offenders Act was passed by Trudeau’s Liberal government in 1982, replacing the Juvenile Delinquents Act of 1908.

The Young Offenders Act applied to those between the ages of 12 and 17, protecting offenders under the age of 12 from any threat of prosecution (under the previous Act offenders as young as seven could be charged). The act specified a maximum sentence of two years except in cases where an adult could face life imprisonment. In such cases the young offender could be subject to a maximum sentence of three years. The act also called for identity protection for the offender throughout the court proceedings.

Canadians took issue with several aspects of the act including the minimum age it created, the light maximum sentences, and conflicting interests guiding the decision to transfer a youth to adult court (the needs of the youth were to be considered alongside the public’s safety).

After the adoption of the Young Offenders Act the number of violent juvenile crimes skyrocketed in Canada, with a large number of repeat youth offenders. Violent crime rates climbed steadily throughout the 1980s, remained stable (at the same high levels) in the 90s, and have been increasing since 1999 . (Source Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics)

Amendments to the Young Offenders Act
Faced with criticism, the government attempted to restore credibility to the youth justice system by introducing several amendments:
1986 - Established that a young offender could be detained longer than three years if he/she committed another offence in the interim of a sentence. Furthermore, that sentence could continue once he/she became an adult.
1992 - Extended the maximum penalty for first or second-degree murder from three to five years. In addition, revised the section dealing with transfers to adult court to give greater weight to the need to protect society, as opposed to the needs of the youth
1995 - Extended the maximum penalty for first or second degree murder to ten years. In addition, created a presumption that youth aged sixteen years and over who committed serious violent offences would be transferred to adult court. If the Crown requested a transfer, it was up to the youth or defense counsel to establish why the case should remain in youth court.
1995 - Allowed victims to present victim impact statements in court
In spite of these amendments, a 1998 study found that seventy-seven percent of Canadians believed sentences handed down to young offenders were still too lenient. (Source: Statistics Canada).
In light of mounting pressure from both sides of the youth justice debate, those who felt youth sentencing was too lenient, and those who felt that youth incarceration rates were too high, the Liberal Minister of Justice, Anne McLellan, brought forward legislation in 2002 that replaced the Young Offenders Act with the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act is the legislation currently in effect in Canada. There are many similarities between the Young Offenders Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The major difference is that the present act gives clear principles to govern youth prosecution and sentencing. The goal of the Youth Criminal Justice Act is defined in its Declaration of Principle statement:
“The purpose of the youth criminal justice system is to prevent crime by addressing the circumstances underlying a young person’s offending behavior, rehabilitate young persons who commit offences and reintegrate them back into society, and ensure that a young person is subject to meaningful consequences for his or her offences, in order to promote the long-term protection of the public.”

The Youth Criminal Justice Act states that youth sentencing must be governed by a set of explicit principles. These principles are summarized in the Declaration of Principle Statement (above) and are highlighted throughout the act. For example clause 38,2,d of the act states " “all reasonable alternatives to custody should be considered, particularly in the case of aboriginal youth…” , Clause 38,e,i states a sentence should " “be the least restrictive sentence that is consistent with the overall goal of youth sentencing”.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act places more emphasis on treatment for young offenders than the Young Offenders Act did. Also, in order to address the perception that incarceration rates were too high under the Young Offenders Act, the new law states that the court system is to be used only for serious offences. Police officers are instructed to consider alternatives to charges, including issuing verbal warnings. When the court system is used, alternatives to custody are encouraged.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act does not change the age at which a youth can be issued an adult sentence (age 14). What the YCJA does do is eliminate the transfer hearing process by empowering youth courts to impose adult sentences if considered appropriate.

The Act also introduced graduated sentencing. When a graduated sentence is given, a convicted youth will spend two-thirds of his/her time in custody, and one-third in the community under supervision. The act states that graduated sentencing is to be used as the norm in custodial sentencing
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 06:08 am
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:
Such a person shud be dealt with the same as an adult.
There is no logical reason to differ in the treatment.


Like in most other we think exactly the opposite: there is a strong logic that children (and youth) are treated by law differently.
(Children under the age of 14 can't be treated by criminal law, youth up to 18/21 are dealt with the Juvenile Criminal Law [10 years prison the most].)


I do agree, however, that different law systems, different culture, different politics, different ... can come to different opinions.
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 07:50 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

OmSigDAVID wrote:
Such a person shud be dealt with the same as an adult.
There is no logical reason to differ in the treatment.


Like in most other we think exactly the opposite: there is a strong logic that children (and youth) are treated by law differently.
(Children under the age of 14 can't be treated by criminal law, youth up to 18/21 are dealt with the Juvenile Criminal Law [10 years prison the most].)
I do agree, however, that different law systems, different culture, different politics, different ... can come to different opinions.

U do not explain your reasoning.
I remember being 8.
I know that if I had then intentionally murdered someone
I 'd have understood it with equal clarity as yesterday.

I fail to understand by WHAT reasoning
a distinction shoud be made. As I understand the contrary
position, it is alleged that 8 year olds are too stupid
to understand what murder is. That is factually false.
The legislators were correct in enacting the statute as thay did.

0 Replies
 
Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 01:10 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Whether a person is killed by an eight year old or eighty year old.... the person is still dead.
Walter Hinteler
 
  0  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 01:12 pm
@Intrepid,
That's correct, but I don't/did't question that.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 01:13 pm
at what age should children be held responsible for their criminal acts?

6 months
0 Replies
 
Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 01:14 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

That's correct, but I don't/did't question that.


Well, you did question that the punishment should be different.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 01:21 pm
@Intrepid,
The question was "At would age should children be held RESPONSIBLE for their criminal acts?"

I didn't use the term 'punishment' at all because for instance our juvenile criminal law is exclusively rehabilitation-oriented.

We don't "punish" mentally either. As said, different culture, different ethics - whatever.
Intrepid
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 02:28 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
In that case, I would say 12. The parents should be held responsible for less.
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 07:56 pm
@Intrepid,
Intrepid wrote:

In that case, I would say 12. The parents should be held responsible for less.

OK;
let 's try this for an example:
2 English boys aged around maybe 10,
kidnap a 2 year old toddler, let 's say from a store,
and thay torture their kidnap victim to death.

Suppose that thay were recorded in their kidnapping
by a security camera showing them dragging him over the horizon.

http://www.justicejunction.com/innocence_lost_murder_james_buglar.htm

Shoud the fathers n mothers of the kidnappers be hanged ?
or mercifully only incarcerated for 20 or 30 years ?

because thay were insufficiently persuasive
in their anti-kidnap advice,
and in their anti-murder advice to the kidnappers ?

If THAT becomes the law, I 'm glad I have no children !!!
(If that does not become the law, I m glad I have no children anyway)

Holding any person vicariously liable for the crimes
of another person is abomination.

Shoud all sane women have abortions ?
or only the pregnant ones ?

Intrepid
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 08:04 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
My answer was for petty criminal activity as my reply to Walter. NOT kidnap and murder.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 09:28 pm
@Intrepid,
Intrepid wrote:

My answer was for petty criminal activity as my reply to Walter.

NOT kidnap and murder.

Do u discern a distinction in principle ?

If so, will u share it with us ?





David
Intrepid
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 09:33 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
If you do not discern a difference between petty theft and murder then you would probably not understand.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 09:41 pm
@Intrepid,
Boy oh boy, our Canadian system is just such a mess.

I'd definitely lower the age at which people are held responsible. They've certainly proven that kids know exactly how much more they can get away with at 14 than they'd be able to at 18.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 09:53 pm
@Intrepid,
Intrepid wrote:

If you do not discern a difference between petty theft and murder
then you would probably not understand.

I woud not understand WHAT ?

I think u understand my question; Y r u being evasive ?

In BOTH cases we examine the issue of vicarious criminal liability
for conduct beyond the defendant 's knowledge and control,
be it theft of $1, or pickpocketing a gold watch,
or rape or murder; in ALL of those cases, a citizen had his rights violated
and therefore, the same principle applies,
be the penalty great or small.

That shud not be hard to understand.





David
Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Feb, 2009 04:33 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
It wouldn't be if it was logical and made sense.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Feb, 2009 01:14 am
@Intrepid,
Intrepid wrote:

It wouldn't be if it was logical and made sense.

1 ) Where was the flaw in my logic ?

2 ) OK.
We 've established that u don t wish to hold parents criminally
liable for the homicides and the kidnappings of their children.
Where do u wish to draw the line
at which we shoud hold them vicariously responsible ?

If a kid steals a car,
shoud his mom go up the river for 5 years ?



David
0 Replies
 
WaltonR
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Mar, 2013 06:20 am
@Walter Hinteler,
I believe that children should be held responsible for their act at an age what they know what they are doing but is also depends upon the crime that is committed for example say an 13 year old were to steal a bicycle they should be treated the same as someone who steals money from someone but perhaps a differ in sentences. I think that this a problem for us in today’s society as many young people feel that they can get away with a lot in today’s society and maybe it’s about time we think about a better justice system for young people as perhaps we can set deterrents for other young people to sort themselves out from their criminal ways.
But on the other hand, perhaps being too tough on young people would be a bad thing and perhaps parents should take some responsibility for their son or daughter acts but perhaps it should be a shared sentence so that young people will think twice before committing a crime as it could have consequences on their parents rather than just themselves. But this only my opinion.
0 Replies
 
 

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