Young offenders commit new crimes while awaiting penalty

Justice Minister, Per-Willy AmundsenJustice Minister, Per-Willy Amundsen(Progress Party) .Photo: regjeringen.no

Offenders awaiting their ‘ Youth criminal justice’ sentence often  commit new, and often worse, crimes because the police and correctional units take too long.

– Long delays before implementation commences, has often resulted in the problems that the young offenders are struggling with have deteriorated and further offenses have been committed, write the researchers who have examined how the youth criminal system works.

The report from ‘Nordlandsforskning’ is  based on 13 specific case studies, where the research team followed the criminal process from start to finish.

It can take up to 16 months from an offense becomming evident until the matter has been fully investigated, prosecuted and Correctional Services has made its citizens checks before the atonement. Scarce resources slow down the progress even in matters relating to Youth offenders penalties.

Amundsen: Helps Many
105 youngsters have received Youth incaseration and 648 were under Youth supervision orders between the start of July 2014 and the end of 2016. Offenders between the age of 15 and 18 can receive specially adapted sentences in lieu of ordinary imprisonment or community service, if they agree to it.

– Youth Criminal penalties and Youth supervision are tools that are better able to “flip” young offenders at an earlier stage than the prison does. This will save our society huge economic and human costs, says Justice Minister Per-Willy Amundsen.

He believes the report shows that many have received good help, but promises that the Ministry will address the problem of long processing times.

– The report gives us  good knowledge of the actual implementation process.  We will use this to put improvements into action and make adjustments, he said.

Do not understand
Many of those who accept the Youth penalty does so on a faulty basis. Both the offender and guardian must consent, but informed consent requires that those who  sign have understood what they agree to.

This is nowhere near the case for everyone, as revealed in the report.
– Many professionals doubt that all young people understand what they are agreeing to, especially young people with an immigrant background the researchers wrote, stressing that the picture is mixed, although many youths and guardians attested that information was lacking. Some knew what they were giving  consent to however.

Some also say that they signed the consent in panic to avoid jail, and / or that they were in an intoxicated condition when they signed, the report said.

The final report from Nordlandsforskning will be ready in 2018.

 

Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today

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