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Unpublished Paper
THE LAW IN CONFLICT WITH HUMAN RIGHTS OF YOUNG ADULTS: INTERNATIONAL, REGIONAL AND COUNTRY PRACTICES OF YOUNG ADULT OFFENDERS
ExpressO (2011)
  • Jessica Rau, American University in Cairo
Abstract
Law has traditionally relied on age markers to distinguish between juvenile and adult offenders, while ignoring the category of young adult offenders. This article defines young adults, young adult offenders and young adulthood as the ages between 18 and 24. Young adulthood is a social category, but it is affected by ongoing psychological and neurological development. Age-crime theories have demonstrated that the age of young adulthood creates a risk factor for criminal behavior. The same behavioral and developmental components that put young adults at risk of coming into contact with the law simultaneously support their potential for rehabilitation; an argument closely linked to why children are adjudged by the juvenile justice system. Scholars and scientists have recommended the adjudication of young adult offenders in systems separate from adult criminal procedures and sanctions, but few human rights and criminal justice systems have applied these findings to young adult offenders. This article examines regional systems recommendations on young adult offenders and certain European states’ systems such as Germany who have accounted for young adult offenders within the juvenile jurisdiction or created a separate category for young adult offenders. On the contrary, international human rights law and international criminal law cling to the Straight 18 approach, segregating children under 18 years from adults, and ignoring the category of young adults. Additionally, the U.S. works with a less strict interpretation of the Straight 18 approach within its juvenile jurisdiction by promoting some juveniles to the adult criminal system. Such practices make it difficult to then acquire a third category for young adult offenders or expand the juvenile jurisdiction to incorporate those under 25 years. International human rights law and criminal law jurisdictions should reflect the social and scientific findings on young adulthood by either including young adults under 25 years within the juvenile jurisdiction or implementing a third category for young adult offenders.
Disciplines
Publication Date
June 10, 2011
Citation Information
Jessica Rau. "THE LAW IN CONFLICT WITH HUMAN RIGHTS OF YOUNG ADULTS: INTERNATIONAL, REGIONAL AND COUNTRY PRACTICES OF YOUNG ADULT OFFENDERS" ExpressO (2011)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jessica_rau/1/