A young person who has committed a crime at the age of 15 to 17 can be sentenced to juvenile punishment if fine is considered to be too lenient and unconditional imprisonment too severe a sanction.
What is juvenile punishment?
Juvenile punishment, included in the Criminal Code of Finland, is a specific sentence for offenders under the age of 18 years.
The court can sentence a young offender to juvenile punishment for 4 to 12 months. Juvenile punishment consists of supervision, different activities and programmes promoting coping in society, and an orientation to employment and work. Juvenile punishment is implemented by the Criminal Sanctions Agency. The supervisor of the young offender is an official of the Criminal Sanctions Agency.
Juvenile punishment can be sentenced if:
- the accused has committed the offence at the age of 15 to 17,
- the court considers a fine to be too lenient and unconditional imprisonment too severe a sanction for the young person's offence, i.e. juvenile punishment is comparable to conditional imprisonment in severity;
- juvenile punishment can improve the young offender's skills to cope in society and prevent recidivism.
Preparation of the enforcement plan for the juvenile punishment
The juvenile punishment process begins when the prosecutor asks the Criminal Sanctions Agency to draw up an pre-sentence report for the juvenile punishment. The duty of the Criminal Sanctions Agency is to assess the suitability of sentencing to juvenile punishment.
The basis of juvenile punishment is the co-operation between different parties. The Criminal Sanctions Agency draws up the pre-sentence report together with the young offender, his or her guardian and the social welfare authority. The report is based on the information received from the joint meetings, the young offender's interview, the guardian's hearing, and different authorities.
The decision on sentencing to juvenile punishment is made by the court. The court can also sentence some other sanction instead of juvenile punishment.