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Enforcement of Custodial Protective Measures

Custodial protective measures are normally carried out in an open facility. The placement of a juvenile in the framework of a protective measure in a closed facility is considered absolutely as ultima ratio and requires a medical and psychological evaluation. Mindful of the circumstances here, i.e., this restraint is justified for reasons of proportionality. Up to now the measures end when the juvenile reaches his or her 22nd birthday; but according to the last amendment of the law the upper age limit will be raised to the 25th birthday on July 1 2016. The enforcement authorities must examine annually if and when the measure can be lifted.

For the execution of measures, there exists—primarily in German-speaking areas of Switzerland, less so in the French-speaking areas, and not at all in the small Italian-speaking area of Switzerland—a wide and varied range of predominantly open juvenile youth homes (formerly “youth correctional facilities,” Cottier 2006). These are monitored and financially supported by the Federal Ministry of Justice. They are principally supported by private beneficent foundations or societies. The youth homes accept juveniles with criminal as well as civil legal status in the same system. The youth homes place juveniles in supervised group homes with family-like environments, often in stand-alone homes and in rural settings. They offer individualized schooling and fully fledged vocational training opportunities with accredited degree programs and have qualified therapy programs if needed. The cost for such a stay ranges from 500 to 1050 CHF per day. In 2014, 75 juvenile offenders were newly placed in such facilities; of that number, 10 juveniles were placed in closed sections (Bundesamt fhr Statistik 2015a). On one reporting date for Switzerland as a whole, 433[1] juveniles who had committed a criminal act were placed in facilities outside their homes (Bundesamt fhr Statistik 2015a). Since 2010, the placement of juvenile offenders outside their homes has decreased by half (Bundesamt fhr Statistik 2015b). The largest closed facility, the youth home Preles in the canton Bern, will close at the end of 2016.

  • [1] This number is somewhat astonishing in light of the 34 measures mentioned in Table 3. The explanation might be that most juveniles that are placed outside their homes are additionally sanctionedwith a criminal sanction that precedes within the counting of JUSUS.
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