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Juvenile delinquency in Germany is declining in the past 10 years and therefore not a major social problem. There has been empirical research on the increase and causes of juvenile crime in the 1990s, but the recent development is not yet clearly understood. One explanation could be that crime prevention projects have been effective, another, that the economic situation in particular for young people has improved and is rather favorable. The German economy is booming and youth unemployment is not a serious problem. In addition, young people have optimistic views on their future and the social climate in general is positive.

The youth justice system in Germany is strictly based on the idea of education and positive special prevention. The organization of specialized youth prosecution and courts and the sanctions system can be characterized as a mixed justice and welfare model integrating minimum intervention and restorative justice measures. The sentencing practice is moderate and stable over the last decades, more than 70 % of all juvenile and young adult offences are diverted, youth imprisonment is the very “last resort.”

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