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Custodial Rules After Conviction

Once convicted, juvenile delinquents can only be placed in the traditional welfare-oriented community institutions (the “Flemish” penal-oriented exception only count during pretrial phase). The same legal criteria as mentioned above (regarding the seriousness of the offence, the age of the juvenile, etc.) must be taken into account. Moreover, placing a juvenile in a community institution is prescribed in the Youth Protection Act of 2006 as a measure of last resort (see also art. 40 of the UN CRC). As mentioned above, convicted juvenile delinquents end up in the same community institutions as juveniles awaiting their trial (with the exception of the penal-oriented community institution in Flanders that only functions as a “detention-on-remand” institution for delinquent boys). Moreover, pursuant to Flemish legislation, minors who grow up in a “problematic educational situation” (verontrustende situtatie) can also be placed in (Flemish) community institutions. Hence the Flemish community institutions can have a mixed population of delinquent and non-delinquent minors. In practice this situation especially occurs in the community institution for girls at Beernem (Flanders).

When, at trial, the juvenile justice judge wants to order a placement in a community institution, he or she has to specify the duration of the placement. This duration however can, later on, be prolonged by the juvenile justice judge in the exceptional case of “continuously bad behaviour” of the youngster or “dangerous behaviour towards himself or herself or others” (see Table 12.1).

Table 12.1. Number of places in institutions, girls-boys, French-Flemish

community

French community

Flemish community

Boys

Girls

Total

Boys

Girls

Total

Open places

214

44

258

126

10

136

Closed places

64

5

69

66

46

112

Federal centrea

37

0

37

52

0

52

Total

315

49

364

244

56

300

Source: Gilbert et al. 2012: 63

aWith the recent state reform of 2014 these federal centres became community institutions

 
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