Home Law International Handbook of Juvenile Justice
DIFFERENCES IN TREATMENT OF BOYS AND GIRLS
In Austria, boys and girls are imprisoned in different wings of the prison; in Schwarzau prison, there is also one building only for female prisoners (see above p. 233).
Moreover, there are no differences in treatment between boys and girls in court or in prison.
The Austrian approach to handle a young person, who came in conflict with criminal law, is more a protective than a punitive one. Therefore prosecutors and judges should predominantly use non-intervention or diversion measures like suspending prosecution for a probation period, training, community service, or victim-offender mediation instead of fines and imprisonment. Rehabilitation has proven more successful if the young offender is not sentenced. Moreover, by using mediation with the victim the juvenile delinquent is encouraged to reflect about his offence. Hence young offenders also have a higher level of suspects’ rights than adults.
That the idea of protection is still a key issue in juvenile criminal law can be seen in the last amendment to the Juvenile Court Act in 2015. With the new regulations pretrial detention should be further reduced; instead of the arrest a “social conference” under the supervision of a social worker can be ordered. Additionally the sanction possibilities for young adults were expanded. Now they are nearly equal to juveniles in criminal proceedings.
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