Guiding juvenile offenders' return to society

(      Updated : 2019-01-11

Chen Haiyi, chief judge at the Juvenile Criminal Tribunal of the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court in Guangdong province, at a trial. [Photo/]

It is a must to establish a set of judicial regulations for juvenile crimes covering related services from the period before and after the trial, Chen Haiyi, a juvenile criminal judge urged.

Chen is a chief judge at the Juvenile Criminal Tribunal of the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court in Guangdong province. She has been devoted to improving the judicial system related to juvenile crimes and promoting legal publicity among young people for more than 20 years.

She called for launching a special court to deal with juvenile affairs and establishing special regulations and mechanisms to better protect young people and prevent them from participating in illegal criminal activities at a seminar focusing on reform of the juvenile criminal court in June, 2018.

Other trials may end when the judgment is announced, but cases involving juveniles are different. Judges must continue to guidejuvenile offenders to observe laws and disciplines and help them return to school and society, according to Chen.

For the past 20 years or more Chen has heard more than 4,000 juvenile criminal cases, about 70 percent of which involved leftover children.

A project intending to protect and educate juvenile offenders and research on juvenile crimes was launched with Chen's strong support. As a result, more than 30 juvenile offenders entered university and over 300 returned to school and finished their education.

Chen said that punishment should not be the end of juvenile cases. Instead, educating them to act and live in accordance with the law should be the judges' aim.

She explained that the juvenile criminal judges often deal with cases in three steps -- persuading the offenders to acknowledge their guilt and compensate for losses before the hearing, explaining the law to help offenders realize their mistake during the trial and encouraging and educating them to act rightly and return to school.

"Lack of care and love plays a main role in juveniles' delinquent acts," Chen said.

Recalling her past, Chen said she used to be a student with poor grades, but her Chinese teacher guided and helped with her misunderstandings, which inspired her a lot.

She learned the importance of education and mentoring from her experience, and always tries hard to help juveniles who have violated the law to correct their wrongdoings.

"Most juvenile offenders are from broken families, dysfunctional families, crime families or families with other problems. Letting these juveniles see the fairness and justice of the law during the trial is a key to leading them to realize their faults and act rightly in the future."

Making juvenile delinquents feel loved and that people are concerned about themis the best way to obtain their trust, which is a foundation to further judicial support.

"The features of juvenile criminal cases require a judge to act not only as a judicial officer, but also as a teacher, a psychologist and a mother or father," Chen added.

In addition, to help more juveniles learn about the law and legal system in China, Chen also acts as a counselor and lecturer for legal education in dozens of schools on a part time basis and in addition to her judicial work at the court.

For the past 20 years, she had given over 200 lectures on legal publicity in more than 100 schools in Guangdong province and organized more than 30 mock trials.