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Youth Justice in the Netherlands

Junger-Tas, Josine
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Crime and Justice. 31: 293-347.

Youth justice in the Netherlands has been riven with ambivalences since the early 1980s. Juvenile involvement in property crime has been stable and in violent crime has increased somewhat, though less than is shown by police data. Nonetheless, the public and politicians respond as if the problems were worse. Policies and laws have shifted toward greater emphasis on young offenders’ rights and on more use of repressive measures than earlier when welfare values were more dominant. In practice, however, commitment to welfare values remains strong, and welfare institutions play active roles responding to young offenders. Changed criteria make waiver of young offenders to adult courts easier, but the numbers waived have fallen, and most who are waived receive community penalties. Statutes have authorized longer confinement terms for young offenders, but the use of long sentences has declined. There has been a substantial increase in the use of community penalties, including community service and victim compensation, and new programs have given the police greater powers to take action against alleged offenders. International conventions and treaties are taken seriously in the Netherlands and have affected the youth justice system in important ways. Author’s abstract.


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