Politics. What the reform of the juvenile justice system entails

Reform of juvenile justice, that sea serpent of French politics.

The 1945 regulation on juvenile delinquency has been revised 39 times … until it became illegible. It needs to be replaced by a new regulation that was passed in Parliament this Tuesday evening.

This is what this new criminal code for minors contains.

“Assumption of the distinction” at the age of 13

The text sets a threshold for criminal liability of 13 years. A measure that is criticized as negligent on the right. However, this measure is largely symbolic, as it is currently not possible to pronounce a judgment against a minor under the age of 13.

Beyond 13 years of age, there will be a “presumption of discrimination”, which means that the minor “understood and willed his act.”

The “caesura” of the criminal proceedings

Another innovation, the regulation, provides for a two-stage criminal procedure with the clear aim of giving educational penalties priority over repressive penalties.

A first hearing has to decide on the guilt within three months (compared to the current average of 18 months). A second hearing must take place within six to nine months to issue the sanction (punishment or educational measure). In the meantime, the minor will undergo a “probationary period” which may include educational and security measures.

“In relation to minors, the education-free sanction is just a relapse machine. This reform will shorten the timeframe to bring judicial intervention closer to the law,” said Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti.

Christiane Taubira, the socialist predecessor of Eric Dupond-Moretti, particularly wanted this “turning point” in criminal proceedings.