Juvenile delinquency is a sad part of the legal system. When youth start down the wrong path it is imperative that steps are taken to get them back on track. Juvenile delinquents miss important experiences that their crime-free peers will enjoy, such as completing school in a timely manner and other staples of youth.
What leads young people to commit crimes? The most common theories are that youth commit these offenses when they are bored, and especially when they are influenced negatively by peer pressure. Some studies look to influences from their parents and older siblings as possibly influencing youth to perform illegal acts.
No matter the cause, when a youth commits a crime and is punished for it, they suffer. While almost any crime can be committed by someone underage, there are quite a few crimes that stand out as those that are most often the reason a young person is being referred to the juvenile court. These crimes are usually addressed with a service requirement, a fine, or possibly detainment within a juvenile facility.
Law is no exception from the above concepts. If we take a look at the ordinances concerning crimes related to juvenile offenders, we may be easily impressed by the relatively lenient treatments or punishments for these offenders.
So who can be called as a child or young person? And whom the Juvenile Offenders Ordinance will affect? According to Juvenile Offenders Ordinance (Cap. 226 Sec. 2), a “child” means a person who is, in the opinion of the court having cognizance of any case in relation to such person, under the age of 14 years. A “young person” means a person who is 14 years of age or upwards and under the age of 16 years and it is clearly stated that no child under the age of 7 years can be guilty of an offence.
If a young person has violated the law, they will generally be trial in the Juvenile Court; no person shall be present at any sitting of the Juvenile Court except officers or any persons directly related to the case concerned. We can see clearly the juvenile are better protected from other or outside disturbances and any things do are trying to minimize the psychological impacts on them.
There is special separation of children and young persons in police stations, courts and procedure in the Juvenile Courts too. Some restrictions are imposed on the punishments of the children and young persons; for example, no child shall be sentenced to imprisonment or committed to prison in default of payment of a fine, damages, or costs. No young person shall be sentenced to imprisonment if he can be suitably dealt within any other way and even if he should be sentenced to imprisonment, he shall not be allowed to associate with adult prisoners.