October 25, 2021

France’s penal code for minors is the first major change since 1945.


Newly amended criminal justice laws for minors go into effect on Thursday. One of the changes to the law, made in 1945, is the emphasis on education and the reduction of court cases.

Although it is considered a victory by the Minister of Justice, not everyone is convinced.

The plan to change the penal code for juvenile offenders was enacted by former Justice Minister Nicole Belobet, who held the post from 2017 to 2020. .

The code “reinforces the importance of education” and “is clear and effective,” Moriti said Thursday of the new law.

The reform proposal was voted on by parliament in February and came into force on September 30.

The two-step legal process, reduced waiting times, judicial education programs and the assessment of penal irresponsibility for children under 13 are just a few of the measures that represent the end of an era, following the rules. It has not been revised since February 2, 1945

“This is a new era where we are changing the way we deal with minors,” the Cote d’Ivoire state deputy attorney told a news conference.

French Justice Minister Dupont Moriti said the reforms were aimed at “giving these young people a chance to be something other than criminals, designed to protect them and society.”

Reforms include two hearings: one to decide on the level of responsibility of a minor.

This will be between 10 days and three months after the complaint is lodged. At this point, compensation for affected people can also be decided.

The minor will then be ‘tested’ in an educational environment, which will be reviewed by an academic team over time.

There will be a second hearing between six and nine months to determine the level of punishment, depending on whether the youngsters have improved their behavior.

However, in some cases only one hearing may be required, if the action is considered less serious, or if the young person has already gone through the educational process.

Educational framework

One goal of the reforms is to reduce the long wait time for cases to be treated, which can be up to 18 months on average, which means that about 45% of cases are heard after the mediocre 18 years of age. ۔

Most of the reforms focus on educational initiatives that can be implemented at many levels and are renewed over a five-year period until a young person reaches the age of 21.

These measures include re-entering the school, compensating the victim or doing community work, being reviewed by medical professionals, or being placed in the children’s home or host family.

The new text also provides for stricter rules for juvenile detention.

In recent years, the number of children detained before their case has risen to 80 percent.

The law allows for detention only for serious crimes, for recurring offenders, or once a hearing has been planned.

Finally, the age for legal liability is 18. However, a clause has been added for children under the age of 13 who are not legally liable for their actions.

Bad time

Several protest rallies were held in front of the courthouse on Thursday, organized by a gathering of unions representing youth legal protection workers, magistrates and lawyers.

One of the problems is with the implementation time, which has already been postponed. Covid Global epidemic.

Many large courts in Paris, Bobigny, Lille, Lyon and Marseille are still struggling with backlog of cases.

“The juvenile justice system is not working properly today,” said Sophie Legrand, secretary of the union representing judges at the Tours.

“It’s affected by two inmates, and educational follow-up meetings are canceled or sometimes just on the phone. Our families are in trouble and we need to compensate,” he said. ۔ “

Despite the recruitment of 72 judges, 100 legal clerks and teachers, many in the justice system worry that this will not be enough.

“The concern is that meeting this new timeline will be so difficult that we will have to manage ourselves in a robotic way. Will be bound, “Briston, president of the Pascal Paris Children’s Court, told AFP.


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