quinta-feira, 19 de junho de 2008

Prison Nation -- young offenders edition

Depois do ótimo editorial Prison Nation, de 10 de março de 2008, agora o editorial do New York Times enfoca os adolescentes infratores. A tônica é a mesma: prendemos demais (EUA), e desnecessariamente. Neste editorial eles são ainda mais enfáticos em dizer que muitas dessas prisões aumentam, em vez de diminuir, as chances de reincidência, dizendo haver evidências/dados que dão suporte a esta tese (não as cita, infelizmente).

Também o há no caso dos criminosos adultos, diga-se de passagem: há uma meta-análise interessante, que analisa 111 estudos empíricos sobre o tema, feita por Smith, Goggin, & Gendreau (2002) e referenciado pela polícia do Canadá (download do trabalho aqui).

Ver o post anterior, em que trato do mesmo assunto, mas focando a situação brasileira.

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The New York TimesJune 17, 2008

A Better System for Young Offenders

The New York City courts that process arrested adults have long been open seven days a week. But until just recently, the courts that process arrested children were closed on weekends, making it necessary for children taken into custody to be detained for 48 hours or even longer before seeing a judge.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has set a welcome national example by opening a juvenile court that sits on Saturdays and Sundays and creating procedures that have already begun to cut down on unnecessary detentions while improving the treatment of children who end up in police custody.

The new system allows low-risk offenders who present no threat to public safety — and for whom detention is clearly unwarranted — to be processed quickly and released to parents or caretakers pending a decision regarding prosecution. By keeping as many children as possible out of detention and directing more of them into community-based counseling programs, the city is also lessening the chances that the children will grow up to be chronic offenders.

Instead of opening the entire Family Court system for weekends, which would have been prohibitively expensive, the city has arranged for a weekend judge who deals with adult cases at the Manhattan Criminal Court building to see juvenile offenders in a separate courtroom. The city has further speeded things along with a new risk-assessment system that classifies young offenders as low- , moderate- or high-risk individuals, depending on a variety of factors, including previous arrests and school attendance.

The rating system takes the subjectivity out of the process, allowing prosecutors, probation officers and judges to make quick decisions.

Adolescents who commit serious crimes are, of course, held pending trial. But those arrested for minor offenses will sometimes be sent home without being prosecuted or released to their parents pending a court appearance. The goal of avoiding needless detention is especially important, given data showing that children who do time are far more likely to become repeat offenders than those referred to community-based programs.

URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/opinion/17tue2.html?ref=todayspaper

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