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Juvenile Justice System of the Federal Republic of Germany (From European and North-American Juvenile Justice System, P 23-40, 1986, Hans-Jurgen Kerner, et al, eds.)

NCJ Number
H F Janssen; H J Plewig
Date Published
18 pages
After reviewing the type and extent of crime by juveniles as reported in police statistics of the Federal Republic of Germany, this paper reviews the juvenile statutes, their application in the civil and juvenile court systems, and trends and reforms in juvenile justice.
The primary statutes dealing with 'children at risk' and juvenile delinquents are the Juvenile Welfare Act (JWA) and the Juvenile Criminal Justice Act (JCJA). The JWA applies to children at risk who are managed through the civil court. Dispositions focus on educational guidance, supervision, and placement deemed to be in the best interests of the child (under 17 years old). The JCJA defines delinquent acts and provides for processing and disposition through juvenile courts. Court jurisdiction is over juveniles aged 14-17. The juvenile prosecutor has the discretion to dismiss a case without condition, to divert a juvenile to various programs, to ask for a 'speedy' trial, and to prosecute in the normal manner. The law requires juvenile defense attorneys in felony cases, cases in which the accused has been held in pretrial detention longer than 3 months, when the defendant is handicapped, and when the case is too complex to permit the juvenile to defend himself/herself. Court dispositions include educational measures, quasipunitive measures (reprimand, restitution, etc.), custody (detention under 6 months), and imprisonment (over 6 months). Reforms and trends are focusing on the reduction of institutional confinement and the expansion of community-based program. 9-item bibliography.