Ungdomssanktionen: En cost benefit analyse af den straffe- og socialretlige sanktion samt en undersøgelse af den kriminalpræventive effekt

Marianne Thrane-Jakobsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


In the autumn of 2000 the Danish government established a task force to explore alternatives to unconditional conviction of juvenile delinquents, who committed violent crimes and other forms of serious crimes. The task force recommended a Juvenile delinquent Sanction which is a criminal and social justice sanction aimed at young people age between 15 and 18 years old and lasting for two years. The proposal received political backing and a new criminal sanction saw the day of light. The essence of the sanction is to rehabilitate the juvenile delinquents in order to prevent them from committing new criminal offenses. The aim of this thesis is to examine whether the juvenile delinquent sanction is functioning in accordance with the intentions. The thesis examines the issues associated with the legal framework and the socioeconomic consequences. The analysis of the legal framework points out problematic issues regarding the legal rights and the proportionality between the Juvenile delinquent Sanction and the severity of the committed crime. Even though the Juvenile delinquent Sanction is intended as a substitute to an unconditional judgment, the Sanction is experienced by many young delinquents as an unfair harsh, unstructured, random and indeterminate confinement which lacks a clear objective and involvement. As a judgment of rehabilitation the Sanction hasn’t had the desired effect since 78 % of those convicted commit new crimes within a period of two years compared to a recidivism of 80 % of those convicted an unconditional judgment. As a social practice of law, the Juvenile delinquent Sanction expresses a problematic encroachment on individual liberty and personal integrity. The social authorities have a dual role, since they both have a pseudo-judgmental function and a supportive and motivational function. This does not provide a basis for a good cooperation between the youth and caseworker and shift the power imbalance. A Cost benefit analysis concludes that the social costs associated with the Juvenile delinquent Sanction versus an unconditional conviction far exceed the derived societal utility. The cost of this penalty is an ineffective use of socio-economic resources and the Juvenile delinquent Sanction in its current design isn’t economically viable. The conclusion raises important issues about the allocation of resources worth considering.

EducationsMSc in Commercial Law, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages85