Child Ombudsman critical to prison for teens

Nina Beier Engh is the Norwegian Child Ombudsman Juvvenile punishmentNina Beier Engh is the Norwegian Child Ombudsman. Photo:barneombudet-

Child Ombudsman critical to juvenile punishment

Child Ombudsman, Inga Bejer Engh, believes that the scheme involving sentencing young offenders to juvenile punishment is not adequate. She implores the Government to improve the scheme.

At a seminar on juvenile delinquency in Oslo, Inga Bejer Engh warns those who have spoken to lower the threshold to place young offenders in prison. At the same time, she criticises the current scheme, where young offenders instead of prison, can be sentenced to juvenile punishment. She believes that this does not work according to the intention.

“Children must get a punishment with good content. In my opinion, we do not possess good enough measures in the juvenile penalty scheme at present. It is only in very serious cases that it is right to send children to prison. We must then put in place measures that work good for those who are not sent to jail,” the Child Ombudsman speaks at the seminar.

Introduced in 2014

Juvenile punishment was introduced in 2014 as an alternative to prison for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18. The youngsters are meant, among other things, to attend meetings with the affected parties, the police, child welfare and other relevant bodies. They should also be offered crime prevention measures.

Bejer Engh further states that the conditions that were set when the scheme of juvenile punishment was introduced, have not been met. Among other conditions, the child welfare service has not been adequately equipped to accommodate the teenagers who were imprisoned before that.

“The Government must get a handle on this. We must not go back to a system that everyone wished to abandon,” the Child Ombudsman asserts.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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