“Reconciling the Criminal and Participatory Responsibilities of the Youth” in Social Theory and Practice.
In this article I criticise the differential treatment of the youth between the criminal and participatory spheres. I examine the reasons given for the setting of the age of criminal responsibility and that of participatory responsibility, noting that criminal responsibility is attributed significantly earlier than is participatory responsibility. I question the purported justifications that warrant this differential treatment. I claim that the requirements for being a capable participant in democratic processes are less onerous than those required to be responsible for criminal acts, and that as such, we have reason to question the system that denies youth participatory responsibility. Two methods of resolving this difficulty are suggested. Firstly, I suggest lowering the voting age to enfranchise the capable youth who are currently excluded. Secondly, that criminal responsibility ought to be modeled on the Australian system, which retains a doli incapax standard giving provisional immunity from prosecution to youth between ten and fourteen years of age.
Link to a late draft will go up shortly.