Lowering the Age of Legal Responsibility
Public requests to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 10 years or below usually follow the reporting of such cases. But the calls are misdirected and the goal is out of place. The minimum age of criminal responsibility continues to divide opinions. (2017, March 15). Excerpt from www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2017/03/15/the-minimum-age-of-criminal-responsibility-continues-to-divide-opinion. Hungary adopted a new penal code in 2012, which lowers the minimum age of criminal responsibility for homicide, intentional homicide, assault, robbery and pillage from 14 to 12, provided that the child has the capacity to understand the nature and consequences of his or her actions. For all other crimes, children from the age of 14 can be held responsible. Punitive measures and lowering the age of criminal responsibility are not the answer to violence involving young people. Focusing on prevention and rehabilitation would be a much better legacy for Lee Bonneau. Similarly, lowering the age can be seen as a form of inaction by the country`s judicial system.
With regard to juvenile offenders, the purpose of the justice system is not to punish their behaviour, but to correct it. To a large extent, their family background, and indeed society as a whole, should bear greater responsibility for their crimes at such an early age. It makes sense to improve the environment in which young offenders grow up. Many countries have juvenile courts and prosecutors, but juvenile justice in China is obviously nothing in comparison. As a result, the justice system has a lot of urgent work to do to help minors correct themselves instead of focusing on age. As of January 2022, more than half of the 26 states in the United States did not yet have a minimum age to prosecute children. The United States is a global exception in the practice of prosecuting young children; 14 is the most common minimum age for criminal responsibility internationally. MANILA, Jan. 18, 2019 /PRNW/ — UNICEF is deeply concerned about Congress` ongoing efforts to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility in the Philippines to below 15. The proposed reduction varies between the ages of 9 and 12 and is contrary to the letter and spirit of children`s rights. In the June 2010 CRC Concluding Observations, the reduction of the MACR was not mentioned.
What is a child? There are differences around the world in how a “child” is defined differently from an “adult.” The factors considered in developing this definition differ even more (Morgan, 2010). Different cultures, social norms, histories, economies and political climates pose challenges for the development of a globally accepted juvenile justice system. There is a societal understanding that children should be different from adults and therefore receive different and distinct treatment (Morgan, 2010). Juvenile justice systems, child protection systems and other juvenile protection services were created on the basis that children lack the maturity, rights, responsibilities and capacities of adults. The common goal in treating adolescent behaviour is for systems to focus on the rehabilitation and support of the child and family. In this context, the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR) and the Age of Majority in Criminal Law (ACM) set the limits for entry into juvenile justice. Finally, U.S. jurisprudence, which does not directly alter MACR but affects the same population, includes Dusky v.
United States (1960), which established a basic understanding of trials for all defendants, and In re Gault (1967), which guaranteed young people a right to a fair trial. In addition, some states have recently removed status violations from the juvenile court system, instantly redirecting absenteeists or runaways to other systems and services (Abrams et al., 2019a). Armed with years of treatment and treatment of children, the experts said lowering MACR goes against science and evidence, proving that CICLs face harmful risks whenever they come into contact with the juvenile justice system. Simply lowering the age of criminal responsibility will not eliminate crimes committed by minors or prevent minors from reoffending. Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child of 2011: “The Committee expresses its deep concern about. lowering the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 14 years” (para. 49(b). “Lowering the age of criminal responsibility results in more children coming into contact with the criminal justice system, increasing incarceration rates and increasing the risk of reoffending,” said Pais. Scientific studies show that brain function is not mature until about the age of 16, which impairs children`s thinking and impulse control.
Proposals to lower the age of criminal responsibility argue that children at the age of 9 are criminally mature and already capable of trial. If so, why is the legal age of marriage, legal contracts and employment in the Philippines 18? A 9-year-old child has not even reached the age of puberty, and his brain is not developed to understand the consequences of actions. CRIN has compiled information on the minimum age of criminal responsibility around the world, including an interactive map and legislation. As to the reason for lowering the criminal age, some lawyers have argued that analyses of many crimes show that the judgment and mental maturity of juvenile offenders generally exceed those of ordinary juveniles of the same age. However, this explanation is not sufficiently convincing to justify a change in the age of sentence. These lawyers` understanding is based solely on their own subjective judgment and not on the objective facts and evidence on which the judicial system should be based. It is therefore unscientific and contrary to the legal spirit to arbitrarily change age. Some people believe that crimes committed by offenders result from their mental immaturity or error in judgment.
Contemporary research conducted by Abrams and colleagues between 2018 and 2019 has led to a better understanding of juvenile justice and minimum age limits in the United States and around the world. To begin, Abrams and colleagues (2019a) conducted a comparative study of the major metropolitan areas of the six largest states in the Americas, California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Separately, Abrams et al. (2019b) focused specifically on California, due to the recent legislative proposal to establish a 12-year MACR. This study selected three California counties that would offer geographic, demographic, poverty rate and population diversity.