Sylwetki nieletnich sprawców, wobec których sąd orzekł umieszczenie w młodzieżowym ośrodku wychowawczym lub zakładzie poprawczym
Profiles of Juvenile Offenders Placed in a Youth Care Centre or Youth Correctional Facility by the Court
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The article analyses the profiles of youth offenders with regard to whom courts in 2014 ruled one of the most severe penal measures specified in art. 6 of the Law on juvenile justice of 26 October 1982, i.e. placement in a youth care centre or youth correctional facility. The analysis was carried out using materials collected in the course of research at the National Institute of Justice for the Ministry of Justice within the framework of the project ‘Application of educational measures in the form of placement in youth care facilities and of correctional measures by family and youth courts in light of statistical data and court record research’. The research sample consisted of 397 juveniles (319 boys and 78 girls), who had been brought before a court for criminal offenses (demoralisation was indicated only in 75 of the cases). Information was also collected on 60 other juveniles with regard to whom the court had ruled non-isolation education measures or had discontinued proceedings. Due to the sizable disproportion between the two groups, the latter group was only used for comparative purposes at the stage of compiling the final report. It is not discussed in the article.For the purposes of the study, the notion of ‘juvenile profile’ was defined using the following variables: sex, age, school level, place of residence, problem behaviour at school and outside school, previous interaction with the system of justice, previously applied education measures and the nature of the offense. This ‘profile’ was supplemented by a description of the juvenile’s environment, including family structure, parents’ education and employment status, living conditions and occurring problems. A brief overview of Polish and international literature concerning the risk and protective factors when it comes to youth offenders confirms that it is useful to consider these two elements together. The aim of the analysis was to find out who were the offenders with regard to whom courts had ruled one of the most severe measures under art. 6 of the Juvenile law. Eight detailed research questions were formulated. Most of them came down to determining whether variables such as sex, age, school level, place of residence, negative behaviour in school or outside of school, previous experiences with juvenile courts and problems in the family had any influence on a higher incidence of offending. One of the questions was related to whether certain risk factors in the subjects’ family environment occurred more frequently depending on sex. Correlation between the variables was tested using cross tables and Cramer’s V and Phi statistical measures. Also included is a statistical analysis of juvenile delinquency based on the data of the Polish National Police Headquarters and of the Ministry of Justice.It was found that the juveniles with regard to whom the most severe measures had been ruled in 2014 were mostly boys who had committed criminal offenses, mostly property crimes, at the age of 15-16. They were middle school (gimnazjum) students, living in cities, causing problems both in school and beyond. More than half had previously come into conflict with the law and had previously been sentenced to different education measures. On average, one in two was growing up in a full family (whether biological, adoptive or reconstructed), in which the income did not exceed the national average. The living conditions of around half of them were average, while the family environment was characterised by various problems, ranging from substance abuse, criminality and prison sentences to domestic violence. Although the studied boys and girls presented a similar picture, a more detailed analysis of certain variables made it possible to bring out significant differences. These differences are visible when it comes to the reasons for launching proceedings before a court, the age at which the offense was committed, the problems caused, previous contacts with the law, as well as the type and frequency of previously applied education measures. The risk factors in the family environments of boys and girls were also largely the same. The only difference was the intensity of their occurrence – decidedly higher in the families of juvenile boys. This means that the boys had grown up in worse living conditions, their parents were less educated were rarely employed. The intensity of problems related to substance abuse, a criminal record and domestic violence in their homes was also higher.
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