What makes juvenile offenders different from adult offenders?

Richards, Kelly (2011) What makes juvenile offenders different from adult offenders? Trends and issues in crime and criminal justice, 409.

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Abstract

Historically, children in criminal justice proceedings were treated much the same as adults and subject to the same criminal justice processes as adults. Until the early twentieth century, children in Australia were even subjected to the same penalties as adults, including hard labour and corporal and capital punishment (Carrington & Pereira 2009).

Until the mid-nineteenth century, there was no separate category of ’juvenile offender’ in Western legal systems and children as young as six years of age were incarcerated in Australian prisons (Cunneen & White 2007). It is widely acknowledged today, however, both in Australia and internationally, that juveniles should be subject to a system of criminal justice that is separate from the adult system and that recognises their inexperience and immaturity. As such, juveniles are typically dealt with separately from adults and treated less harshly than their adult counterparts. The United Nations’ (1985: 2) Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the ‘Beijing Rules’) stress the importance of nations establishing

a set of laws, rules and provisions specifically applicable to juvenile offenders and institutions and bodies entrusted with the functions of the administration of juvenile justice and designed to meet the varying needs of juvenile offenders, while protecting their basic rights.

In each Australian jurisdiction, except Queensland, a juvenile is defined as a person aged between 10 and 17 years of age, inclusive. In Queensland, a juvenile is defined as a person aged between 10 and 16 years, inclusive. In all jurisdictions, the minimum age of criminal responsibility is 10 years. That is, children under 10 years of age cannot be held legally responsible for their actions.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 65093
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Australian Institute of Criminology
Deposited On: 04 Dec 2013 05:06
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 06:32

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