Restart, White Ring: – Prisons “the worst possible place for children”

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The Criminal Policy Network has now spoken out in the debate on the fourteen-year age limit for criminal liability. This has proven itself so far. Furthermore, prisons are ‘the worst possible place for children’.

“Criminal law, with its punishment-oriented tools, is not an appropriate tool to respond to crimes committed by young people under the age of 14,” the Crime Policy Network said on Wednesday. Members include the Judges Association, the Neustart Probation Association and the White Ring Crime Victim Support Association. What is needed instead is an “intensive investigation into the background of the crime and living situation.” This cannot be done in criminal proceedings.

Children will not be deterred by this
The network also said there was no evidence that the threat of prison sentences had a general preventive effect and could deter children and young people. Those under the age of 14 are much less likely to think about the possible consequences of their actions than adults. “Accordingly, criminological studies also show that a reduction in criminal liability does not lead to a reduction in the number of crimes committed by young people.”

The experts propose, among other things, youth care measures and civil law measures for ten to thirteen year olds. In most EU countries, the threshold for criminal liability is also reported to be 14 to 15 years. According to the network, criminal liability from the age of ten in Switzerland is characterized by a consistent educational approach: this may include placement with individuals or in socio-educational/therapeutic institutions. In Switzerland, persons over the age of 15 can be jailed for up to one year, and those over 16 can receive a maximum of four years. In Austria this has been a maximum of ten to fifteen years.

More ads in all age groups
More and more minors have been reported over the past ten years. In 2022 there were 10,428 in all of Austria. The experts explain this by saying that there are more ten to thirteen year olds overall, for example in Vienna, and that advertising has increased in all age groups. The willingness to report someone has also increased.

The current limit on criminal liability has existed since 1929. Crimes such as the alleged abuse of a twelve-year-old by some people who are still criminally minors have encouraged calls for toughness and action.

Source: Krone

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