Ung och kriminell, men även mänsklig och sanktionskänslig - En straffteoretisk analys av huruvida särbehandlingen bör minska för de unga omyndiga lagöverträdarna vid allvarlig brottslighet
Sammanfattning: Juvenile delinquency is a much debated topic. In the Swedish penal system, young offenders aged 15-20 are treated differently in sentencing and the choice of sanction. This means that crimes committed by young people are punshied less severely than if a corresponding crime is committed by someone who has reached the age of 21. There are also special forms of sanctions that can only be imposed on young people. Earlier this year, however, the penalty provision for juvenile offenders who have reached the age of majority was changed. This means that everyone over the age of 18 who commits serious crimes will be sentenced to the same severe punishment and the same penalties. Against this background, and the fact that the current mass media image is that juvenile delinquency is increasing, the question arises to whether the special treatment of underaged juvenile offenders should also be reduced. This question is answered in this essay from a perspective of penal theory and based on the legal regulation of, and the underlying reasons for, the special treatment of these young offenders and what today´s juvenile delinquency looks like. In the Swedish penal system the interest with the greatest influence is that the severity of the punishment should be in proportion to the severity of the crime. However, there are also elements of, for example, individual prevention and humanity, not least when it comes to punishing young offenders. In addition to taking into account the human nature of error and that punishment should be humane, among other things, special tolerance must be shown for the young offenders as they are considered to bear less personal guilt and be particularly sensitive to sanctions. These assumptions are based on young people being biologically and psychosocially different from adults. For example, young people have typically a lack of maturity, undeveloped ability to take responsibility, increased sensation seeking and risk-taking and an inability to withstand peer pressure. Furthermore, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, people under the age of 18 may only be deprived of their liberty as a last resort and for the shortest possible time. The study of what today´s juvenile delinquency looks like shows that juvenile delinquency is generally extensive, while serious juvenile delinquency is considerably less common. However, statistics show that several serious crimes committed by 15-17-year-olds have increased in number over the past five years. Furthermore, the recidivism rate is high among young offenders and during the last ten years the proportion has increased the most among these. The sanction where recidivism rate is greatest is closed institutional youth care, followed by imprisonment. Through an analysis of the material in this essay, a number of problem areas are identified where the special treatment does not satisfy the punitive ideologies and interests behind the Swedish penal system. For example, based on the interests of equal treatment and justice there are problems with the ”juvenile discount” and the sanction called juvenile supervision. Furthermore, based on the interest of social protection, there are problems with the closed institutional youth care and, based on the interest of justice, there are problems with the threshold effects arising from the reduced special treatment for juvenile offenders who have reached the age of majority. In the final analysis, however, it is stated that a reduced special treatment for the underaged juvenile offenders would probably not lead to the various interests generally being better met. Therefore the conclusion that the special treatment should not be reduced is drawn. Nevertheless, it appears in the thesis that other measures against serious juvenile delinquency may become relevant in the near future. If the interests behind the penal system and the special treatment can be met to a greater extent through these, there should be no obstacles to their implementation.
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