Home Law International Handbook of Juvenile Justice
According to an investigation ordered by the Zhrich government in 2012, 7356 juveniles were convicted of crimes. Within 3 years, 35 % of them were convicted again. Admittedly, a small group that was sentenced to unconditional imprisonment drove up the statistical average to a rate of 84 %>. The recidivism rates for other types of sanctions are 37 % for community service and 29 % for reprimand (Regierungsratsbeschluss des Kantons Zhrich Nr. 930/2012). According to the latest analyses by the FSO, the recidivism rate of convicted juveniles for Switzerland as a whole is 32 % (Bundesamt fhr Statistik 2015a) compared to 41 % in Germany (Jehle et al. 2010) and 60 % in Austria. The higher rates in these countries can be traced to larger numbers and a longer period of placement in prison.
Pretrial detention can be mandated only in exceptional cases and only after all possible contingency measures have been examined. Compared to cases of adults where a special pretrial sanctions court (“ Zwangsmassnahmengericht”)
orders pretrial custody, it is the investigative authorities who are responsible for the pretrial custody order for juveniles. The individual cantons can designate one or several juvenile judges or one or more juvenile counsels as the investigative authorities. The investigative authorities have up to 7 days to provide to the pretrial sanctions court a request for extension. In turn, the sanctions court must decide without delay, at the latest within 48 h after receipt of the request.
The JCPC does not cite any specific provisions regarding the rules of detention, so the reasons for detention that apply to adults are applied to juveniles. The pretrial detention order must take into account the age and level of development of the juvenile. The accepted view is that an absolute minimum age limit of 15 years for the order is required (Queloz 2011). There are provisions for giving instructions and for the rights of appeal, as well as several fundamental maxims relating to the enforcement of a pretrial detention. The enforcement of the pretrial detention is in turn regulated by each canton. There are some cantonal laws or at least regulations at the cantonal level, but in some cantons no regulation of pretrial detention exists (KUnzli et al. 2015). Analyses of pretrial detentions by the Swiss Competence Centre for Human Rights (SCHR) reveal large differences in the enforcement of conditions. Whereas certain institutions designate several half-days per week for school instruction, juveniles in other institutions spend up to 23 h in a cell (Kunzli et al. 2015). On a given day in 2014, four juveniles were in pretrial detention in Zurich, one in Bern, two in Basel-Stadt, and six in Basel- Land (KUnzli et al. 2015).
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