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Recidivism rate for young offenders drops

(Global Times)

09:01, December 05, 2011

Nearly 1.2 million juvenile criminals have been sentenced by China's courts over the past 27 years, said Sun Jungong, spokesman for the Supreme People's Court. Sun said most of the sentenced became self-reliant, law-abiding citizens after being released.

There are 2,219 designated courts for juveniles with more than 7,000 judges across the nation specializing in juvenile criminal cases. A total of 234,737 juvenile defendants were convicted from 2008 to 2010, a rate declining steadily every year.

There were 68,200 juvenile criminals in 2010, a drop of 12.13 percent from the previous year, which fell 12.7 percent compared to 2008, according to Sun.

"During the first 10 months of the year, convictions for juvenile criminals reached 51,814," Sun said on Sunday.

Most juvenile criminals regret their crimes and obey rules meant to rehabilitate them in community-based juvenile reformatories, he said.

"Correction departments not only rehabilitate juveniles, but also provide technical training for them, which can prevent them from getting into trouble with the law again," said Shen Zhixian, vice president of the Shanghai Higher People's Court at a media conference earlier this year.

Social workers also help the system by following up on the development and progress of juvenile criminals, Shen explained.

The recidivism rate of juvenile criminals was at 1 to 2 percent from 2002 to 2010, according to Sun.

"The declining trend of juvenile criminals shows our improvement in youth protection, but we cannot count on it to solve all related juvenile criminal problems," Gu Xiaoming, a professor of sociology at Fudan University, told the Global Times.

Juvenile delinquency caused by fights in school, online games, and violent films has increased in recent years. The public should pay more attention to the ambitions and well-being of youth, rather than just focusing on statistics, the professor said.

"As for criminal rates, middle and elderly aged criminals must have a higher rate than juvenile ones. But only juvenile criminals are discussed as a separate issue. It's unfair and it is age discrimination," Gu added.


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