Two new penal sentences for juveniles are since 2014 administered by the National Mediation Service (Konfliktrådet).
Target groups are offenders that were between 15-18 years old at the time of the offence. General terms are that these sentences require consent by the offender and his/her parents/guardians. Further, the juvenile must be deemed to have a need for follow up.
“Youth Punishment” (ungdomsstraff), is decided by Court as an alternative to a prison sentences or the strictest community sentences and may last from 6 months up to maximum 3 years.
“Youth Follow-up” (ungdomsoppfølging) is a prosecutor decision or a court decision and may last from 4 months up to max 1 year. Emphasis for using this sanction is the risk of new offences and the juvenile’s need of follow-up.
The contents in both these penal sentences have the same three components:
- restorative meetings/processes with the victims or others affected by the offence, if they consent to participate.
- designing a tailormade youth action plan for the period of the sentence.
- signing and fulfilling this plan, supervised by a cross sectorial follow up team.
Youth punishment and youth follow-up, subtitles in English
Restorative process in penal cases
Prosecutor referrals of penal cases solely for a restorative process (mediation) between victim and offender, still comprise the most common use of referrals of penal cases to Konfliktrådet (The Mediation service).
The basic criteria for using mediation in penal cases is that the offender has admitted to the facts of the case, that there is a personal victim and that both/all parties give their consent to participate in a restorative process.
Restorative process is voluntary. Both parties can withdraw from the process at any time, and, when a written agreement is reached in a penal case, the parties may withdraw from the agreement within two weeks.
If a penal case is successfully mediated, and a signed agreement is fulfilled the case is closed. Furthermore, the case will not be visible on the offenders criminal record, and after two years if the offender did not commit any new crime, the case is expunged from his/her criminal record.