Why should a child commit a crime
Hanisauland: Lexicon @todo: from Preprocess
No person should be cruelly punished, tortured or treated in a degrading way - no matter what they did. This also applies to children and young people who have become criminals! That is what this law is about.
Children and young people also commit crimes - sometimes these are very bad. For this, however, they may not be locked up for life or even punished with death. If children or young people end up in prison, they must be given special protection there.
Children as criminals - worldwide
Over a million children and young people worldwide are in jail - mostly for minor offenses: for example, they have begged or committed theft (source: United Nations / Zeit, 2019). What you are punished for is regulated very differently from country to country.
The form of punishment also differs from country to country. In a few states, children are even punished with death. In 2014, 14 young people were executed in Iran - even though the country signed the children's rights treaty (source: Amnesty International, 2019).
In many countries, young people are locked up together with adults (source: Amnesty International, 2019). That is often dangerous for them. They do not get enough to eat, are abused, and experience things that are not good for their further development.
Children as criminals - in Germany
In Germany, children come of age at the age of 14. From this age onwards they have to answer in court if they have committed a crime - for example stealing, beating someone up or spraying graffiti.
Educate instead of punish
If children and young people have done something that is forbidden, they usually do not go straight to jail. First of all, the court tries not to punish, but to take measures so that the young people learn not to commit criminal offenses again. For example, the young people have to attend courses and do anti-violence training. Or they are condemned to do certain charitable work: for example, cleaning up a playground or helping in a retirement home.
A judge can also decide that the offender must make good the damage. This can be an apology to the victim or a cash payment. Young people are only sent to prison for very serious crimes.
Serious theft, grievous bodily harm, drug trafficking, manslaughter and murder - even as a teenager in Germany you can end up in prison for this. This is called "youth enforcement".
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