Transformations to the criminal justice system in Western societies are often linked with broader social and cultural changes, and this work presents the recent changes in juvenile justice in Canada and nine European countries and the sociopolitical context in which they take place. The study provides a comparison of the sentencing practices of each country, focusing on three dimensions related to the sanction practices: the custodial sanctions, the alternative sanctions, and the extension of the judicial thinking into relative fields such as school, training, and social policies. With clear and thoroughly developed research methods, this analysis illustrates that changes in juvenile justice policies are not specifically the result of differences in crime rates or the evolution of deviant youth behavior, but rather the effect of complex interactions with a variety of social, economical, cultural, and political factors.
Francis Bailleau is a sociologist and the director of research at the French National Center for Scientific Research. Yves Cartuyvels is a professor of penal law and criminology at the Facultes universitaires Saint-Louis (Academy of Louvain) and also the codirector of the Interdisciplinary Seminar for Legal Studies.