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Supreme People’s Procuratorate Decision on Further Enhancing Juvenile Criminal Prosecution Work (October, 2012)

juvieChinese Title: 最高人民检察院关于进一步加强未成年人刑事检察工作的决定 (2012年10月)

So as to fully implement the directive of “education, reform and rescue” for juvenile’s involved in crime, the principle of “education before punishment”, and the “two expansions, two reductions” policy; to protect the lawful rights and interests of juveniles in accordance with law; to rescue juveniles involved in crime to the greatest extent possible, to prevent juvenile crime as much as possible, to ensure the healthy upbringing of juvenile, to maintain social harmony and stability; and in accordance with the Criminal Law, the Criminal Procedure Law, the Law on Protection of Minors, The Law on the Prevention of Juvenile Crime, and other relevant laws; the following decisions are made for the further advancement of juvenile criminal prosecution work:

I. The importance, overall thought process and development goals of enhancing juvenile criminal prosecution work.

1. Importance: The healthy upbringing of juveniles effects the nation’s future and the people’s hopes, it effects the happiness and tranquility of countless families, social harmony and stability. The Party and nation have always placed great importance on the issue of juvenile crime and the reform of the central judicial system, and work mechanisms included solutions to juvenile crime as a key component. The NPC and its Standing Committee have sequentially promulgated or revised a series of laws, particularly the amended Criminal Procedure Law’s chapter on ‘procedures for juvenile criminal cases”, placing new and higher requirements on the handling of juvenile criminal cases. Over several years, the procuracy organs have actively developed juvenile criminal prosecution work and achieved a certain amount of success, but there remain issues such as inadequate ideological understanding, ineffective organizational leadership, uneven progress in the effort, imperfect mechanisms for handling cases, and the incomplete establishment of a socialized system of assistance and prevention. As the national supervisor of the legal system, procuracy organs’ professional responsibilities touch upon every step of the process in juvenile prosecutions. Strengthening juvenile prosecution work is necessary for taking hold of the root, solidifying the base, and creating a strong population. It is necessary for implementing the Party's and state’s directives, principles, laws and policies. It is necessary for maintaining a stable and harmonious society. People’s procuratorate’s at every level must reinforce their ideological understanding, thoroughly implement the rational outlook on development, take learning of the revisedCriminal Procedure Lawas a key juncture to continuously research new problems and situations, and, with a strong professional spirit and sense of responsibility, adopt more effective methods, diligently take hold of juvenile prosecution work, and ensure unquestionable results.

2. Overall Thought Process: With Deng Xiaoping theory and the ‘three represents’ as important ideological guides, thoroughly enact a rational outlook on development, come to fully understand the special physical and psychological characteristics of juveniles, strive to implement the directive of “education, reform and rescue”, the principle of “education before punishment” and the policy of the “two expansions, two reductions; strive for the professional, systematic development of juvenile prosecution work; to strengthen guidance for juvenile prosecution work, protect the legal rights and interests of minors, and educate and assist youth involved with crime whenever possible and prevent juvenile crime as much as possible.

3. Development goals: Following several years of unremitting effort to ensure the effective implementation of the “education, reform and rescue" directive, the principle of “education before punishment”and the “two expansions, two reductions” policy in prosecution work, stimulating the further professionalization of juvenile prosecution work, promoting the systematic construction and continuous improvement of the juvenile prosecution work system, advancing the political-legal organizations’ systems for handling juvenile criminal cases and the completion of a socialized system of prevention and assistance for juveniles, to make an active contribution towards developing a socialist juvenile prosecution system with Chinese characteristics, ensuring the healthy upbringing of juveniles and maintaining social harmony and stability.

II. Striving to carry out the Party and State's special directives, principles, laws and policies for juveniles involved with crime.

4. Persist in having the “education, reform and rescue” directive permeate the entire handling of cases. Where the law permits, fully reflect the special nature of juvenile prosecution work, diligently implement the “education, reform and rescue” directive, the “education before punishment” principle and the “two expansions, two reductions” policy. Carefully determine whether or not to approve arrest and indict, what sentence to recommend, and whether or not to carry out case monitoring based on the standard of whether it is beneficial to a juvenile suspect’s education, reform and rescue. Persist in making education, reform and rescue a part of the evaluation of whether to arrest, of the evaluation of whether to indict, of prosecuting in-court and every situation involving juvenile suspects, so as to make the judgment process an opportunity for instruction, and emphasize use of ration methods and means to get better results from assistance. Strengthen the cooperation between juvenile suspects’ parents, relevant departments and social forces, diligently analyze the reasons for juvenile crimes, offenders physical and psychological characteristics and support system, formulate an assistance plan, implement assistance procedures, promote focused assistance, education and corrections.

5. Persist in rarely arresting, carefully prosecuting and rarely detaining. Synthesize the facts and circumstances of the crime, the offender’s support system and other factors to further refine standards for approving arrest, approving indictment and monitoring the case, so as to reduce the arrest rate, prosecution rate and supervision rate as much as possible. Juveniles whose offense is relatively minor and that have effective guardianship or social assistance mechanisms, and do not pose a threat to society or pose a relatively minor threat to society should never be arrested. Juveniles whose crimes are relatively serious but are not overly heinous offenders, have honestly shown remorse, have effective guardianship or social assistance mechanisms and have definite mitigation or leniency sentencing circumstance, may usually also not be arrested. Juveniles suspects who have already been approved for arrest, and where evaluation indicates there in not a continued need for detention, should be immediately released or put under a (less restrictive) compulsory measure. Juveniles who have committed (suspected of committing) a misdemeanor first offense, negligence offence or inchoate offense, or were tricked or cajoled into committing the offense, and who truly demonstrate remorse, may be not prosecuted in accordance with law. For juveniles that must be prosecuted, but may be given a lenient or mitigated sentence, a sentencing recommendation should be made in accordance with law. For juveniles who may be given a non-incarceration sentence, a sentencing recommendation should be made to that effect in accordance with law. The focal point of litigation monitoring should be on strengthening the implementation of juvenile crime policies, preventing and correcting unlawful litigation conduct that infringes juvenile suspects’ or defendants’ legal rights or interests and wrongful verdicts. In supervising the docketing of juvenile misdemeanors, pursuit of arrest and indictment, and appeal from light sentences, the requirements should be strictly followed and the necessity carefully considered. Emphasis should be placed on analyzing the courts’ judgment after litigation, further improving means of working and standardizing quality, continuously improving the level and effort in approving arrest, approving indictment, and making sentencing suggestions.

Focus on conflict-resolution and persist in two-directional protections. Strengthen education of defendants to admit their offenses and submit to the law, urging them to confess and repent, and take the initiative in apologizing to victims and compensating their losses. Strengthen contact with the victims, hear their opinions, clearly explain the law , and provide the same level of protection for juvenile victims of crime, fully preserving their lawful rights and interests. Where conditions exist for criminal reconciliation, serve as an connection platform to actively encourage the two parties to reach a settlement and resolve the conflict without delay and restore social relationships. Strengthen case risk assessment and early warning work, especially in significant juvenile crime cases of social interest, actively adopt appropriate measures. take the initiative in responding to and guiding social opinion and be vigilant against risks to law enforcement.

III. Strive to increase the specialization of juvenile prosecution teams.

7. Strongly promote the creation of specialized organs. Provincial level and city level procuratorates, and base courts with a larger number of juvenile criminal cases should in principle all strive to establish independent juvenile prosecution organs; For those that don’t have the requirements, provincial level procuratorates must create a special juvenile prosecution work office in the public prosecution department responsible for case guidance and handling, municipal courts should in principle establish an organ and county level courts should, on the basis of the size of their local work load, establish an office in the public prosecution department to handle juvenile cases, or designate a special small case group or specialist. For small groups or specialists, they must ensure their concentration on handling juvenile crime cases, researching patterns of juvenile offenses and implementing assistance programs for at risk youth. Some areas may on the basis of local conditions designate a base level court to establish an independent organ and handle the entire city’s or region's juvenile crime cases.

8. Rationally set up a work model for specialized organs. Establish an independent procuratorate for juvenile criminal cases, generally following a work model of unified handling of arrest, indictment, supervision (legal supervision) and prevention (crime prevention) with the same person responsible for a case's arrest, indictment, litigation supervision, prevention and education work. Fully establish internal and external supervision mechanisms, fully bringing the department responsible persons into play and dividing of functions and professional responsibilities of the Chief Procurator and the case management department, strictly manage the case handling progression and quality, organize the development of case appraisals, reviews and other professional activities, strictly handle case discipline, to ensure that juvenile criminal cases are handled justly in accordance with law.

9. Reasonably determine the scope of cases to be accepted. Where the suspects are minors or a minor is the principle suspect in a joint crime, the juvenile criminal prosecution department will handle the case. In joint crime cases where the principle suspect is not a minor cases where the victim is a minor or cases of a crime by an adult who is still a student, each region may determine whether the case should be handled by the juvenile criminal prosecution according to its own circumstance so long as they ensure the quality and efficiency of case handling and there is no impact on implementation of the special policies and systems.

10. Choose cadres well suited to juvenile criminal work. Select comrades who understand juvenile psychology and are caring, patient, understanding, and good at conceptual work; who have knowledge of areas such as criminology, psychology, education theory and sociology to engage in juvenile criminal work. In addition to seasoned cadres with a definite amount of life experience, make sure to cadres bring in and train younged cadres full of vigor who understand trends and fashions, are familiar with internet slang and can communicate well with juvenile criminal suspects.

11. Raise the overall caliber of juvenile criminal prosecution cadres. Increase professional dedication and devotion to the workplace, enhance juvenile criminal prosecution cadres' sense of purpose and feeling of honor. Enhance professional training to not only organize trainings for juvenile criminal prosecution cadres on participating in supervising investigations, public prosecutions and other professional tasks, but also to learn tasks special to juvenile criminal prosecutions, encourage the study of criminology, psychology, education, sociology and other knowledge areas, participate in relevant professional trainings and test promotional activities, particularly in psychological counseling, master the procedures, techniques and ideological education methods for handling juvenile criminal prosecution cases. Develop training activities for workplaces that have juvenile criminal prosecution characteristics. Investigate and supervise and when the public prosecution office organizes workplace trainings, arrange for cadres from the juvenile criminal prosecution department to participate.

IV. Endeavor to enhance the the systematic development of juvenile criminal prosecution work.

12. Earnestly implement all juvenile criminal prosecution systems. Followthe Criminal Law.Criminal Procedure Law、《People's Procuratorate Provisions on Handling Juvenile Criminal Cases》、《Several Opinions on Further Establishing and Improving the Supporting Work System for Juvenile Criminal Cases " and other such laws and system rules, together with local realities; Earnestly research and promptly formulate and build on detailed implementation rules, to gradually and fully construct a special system for the juvenile criminal prosecution work.

13. Establish a sound system for proving the necessity of arrest and a system of social investigation reports. The of review of evidence showing the necessity of arrest, social investigation reports and other materials will be further increased. Where the public security organs have not gathered and passed on such materials, they shall be requested to gather and deliver them. The people's procuratorates may also, as conditions allow, carry out a social investigation and create a social investigation report or entrust relevant department of social organization to do so. A careful decision should be made on the necessity of arrest and indictment base on comprehensive consideration of factors such as a minor's personal characteristics, family circumstances, social relations, conditions of upbringing, the reason for the crime, attitude after the crime, capacity for education and assistance.

14. Establish a sound legal aid system and system for hearing defense lawyers' opinions. When it is discovered during the review to approve arrest or the review for indictment that a juvenile criminal suspect criminal suspect has not retained a defender, a legal aid organization shall be notified in accordance with law to appoint a lawyer to provide him with legal aid, and the lawyers opinions on innocence, lightness of the offense or the lack of need for arrest or indictment shall be heard. Supervise the public security organs and the peoples' courts to ensure that juveniles receive legal aid. Regions with resources may encourage judicial administrative organs to establish special juvenile legal aid teams and expand the scope of legal aid to include juvenile victims.

15. Establish a sound system of legally-designated representative and appropriate adult appearances. In juvenile criminal cases, the juveniles legally-designated representative shall notified to appear during questioning, interrogation and trial. If the legally-designated representative cannot appear or is a joint offender, the juvenile's other adult relatives or a representative of the juvenile's school, workplace, base-level residential organization or child welfare organization may be notified to appear. Strengthen cooperation with relevant units, employ some persons enthusiastic about juvenile work, with a grasp of juvenile psychology or legal knowledge, and who are dedicated and responsible to serve as appropriate adults; and develop relevant trainings, establish and employ administrative mechanisms and gradually build a stable team of appropriate adults.

16. Establish a sound family visitation system. As a component of review for prosecution, if the case facts are essentially clear and the principle evidence complete and reliable and the juvenile criminal suspect has admitted the crime and demonstrated remorse, or if the suspect has not yet admitted the crime and repented, but might be turned around through a visit, his legally-designated representative, close relatives, or others can actively cooperate with the procruatorate organ to carry out education, and meetings between a detained juvenile criminal suspect and his legally-designated representative, close family members or others for reformation.

17. Establish a sound mechanism for speedy handling. In cases where a juvenile criminal suspect has been detained, strictly limit the time and number of supplementary investigations and extensions for review, while ensuring the quality of case handling and implementation of the special prosecutorial system, and handle the case as quickly as possible. Cases where there is not a detention shall also be handled more quickly and avoid unnecessary delays.

18. Establish a sound criminal settlement system. When criminal cases involving minors meet the statutory requirements, [the procurators] shall promptly inform both parties that they have the right to settle and of the possible legal consequences, and shall guide both parties to reach a settlement, review the voluntariness and legality of the settlement and moderate the formulation of the settlement agreement. Generally, where juvenile criminal suspects have reached a criminal settlement, arrest and indictment should not be permitted. When necessary it may be recommended that the court punish leniently.

19. Establish a sound system for separate prosecutions. Accepted cases that involve a joint crime between a juvenile and an adult shall have the adult and juvenile prosecuted separately provided it will not obstruct the establishment of case facts or the trial of the concerned cases, and the people's court will hear and judge the cases separately.Cases where separation is disadvantageous to trial, as in significant, difficult, complicated cases involving foreign interests, cases involving the principle offender in a juvenile gang syndicate or criminal cases with attached civil cases, may be prosecuted together, but appropriate protective measures should be adopted for the juvenile. In cases that are not separately prosecuted, the same department and personnel should generally handle the cases. Communication with the trial organs should be improved to ensure that the establishment of case facts and application of legal policies is correct and unified.

20. Establish a sound system for sentencing recommendations. In juvenile criminal cases raised for prosecution, the facts, circumstances and specific situation of the juvenile defendant may be weighed collectively to submit a sentencing reccommendation in accordance with law. Where the statutory requirements are met, non-custodial punishments or probation may be recommended, and where appropriate an injunction may be recommended. Relevant evidence should be presented at trial surrounding the sentencing recommendation, to further explain the specific reasons and basis.

21. Establish a sound system for non-prosecutions. Correctly understand the requirements for juvenile criminal suspects of 'notably minor circumstances and small harm' and 'circumstances minor, no need for punishment', for those that meet the requirements, a non-prosecution decision shall be issued. Conditional non-prosecution will be actively used in accordance with law, and its procedures regulated, with vigorous oversight of the probation for those given conditional non-prosecution. When it is possible to use either discretionary non-prosecution or conditional non-prosecution, preference will be given to discretionary non-prosecution. The procedures and methods for announcing non-prosecution and education will be improved. When releasing a non-prosecution decision to a juvenile and his legal agent where discretionary non-prosecution is being granted or where the probationary period for conditional non-prosecution has been complete, the reason and legal basis for not prosecuting will be fully described and necessary education given to the juvenile. The range of persons participating will be strictly limited when announcing, and if it would be beneficial for persons such as investigatory personnel, the appropriate adult, defender or social workers to participate in the non-prosecuted juvenile's education, they may be invited to participate.

22. Establish a sound system for sealing juvenile criminal records. Supervise and Cooperate with relevant units in implementing the system of avoiding juvenile criminal records and sealing criminal records, actively work towards sealing records of juvenile non-prosecutions and perfect the work procedures.

23. Actively explore new case-handling mechanisms and systems. On the foundation of currently implemented systems, continuously explore and establish new mechanisms and systems for handling juvenile cases. According to the juvenile crime situation in each area and its new characteristics, actively investigate and research measures to focus on problems such as achieving equal protection of non-local juvenile criminal suspects, developing effective mentoring for juvenile criminal suspects whose parents are working elsewhere, and protecting juvenile victims.

V. Strive to advance the political-legal organs' creation of a system of supporting rules for juvenile criminal cases and establishing a system of social mentoring and prevention for juvenile crime.

24. Promote the politcal-legal organs' establishment of a system of accompanying regulations for handling juvenile criminal cases. Strengthen communication with people's courts, public security organs and judicial administrative organs and strive reach and common understanding and jointly point forth and implement detailed procedural rules for systems such as social background reports, gathering and transmission of evidence on the necessity of arrest, legally-designated representative or appropriate adult appearances, legal aid, separate prosecutions and familial visits. Improve mechanisms for regular communication with relevant political-legal organs and adopt methods such as having periodic chiefs-of-staff meetings and conducting joint studies to cooperatively research juvenile crime trends and characteristics, resolve problems that have been encountered, and unify enforcement standards to create a joint front for education, reformation and rescue of minors involved with crime.

25.Promote the protection of juvenile's lawful rights and interests and the establishment of a system of mentorship and socialization to prevent juvenile crime. Strengthen communication and cooperation with groups such as Comprehensive Management, the Communist Youth League, Concern for the Next Generation Working Committees, the Women's Federation, Civil Administration, Social work management, schools, communities and businesses to integrate social forces and advance Party committee leadership, government support, social collaboration and public participation in the protection of juvenile's lawful rights and interests and the creation of a unified system for crime prevention, mentorship and socialization and bringing about the seamless interconnection of education, reform and rescue juveniles involved in crime. Areas with the capacity should actively make recommendations, promote the establishment of a sound system of social work, oversee the mentorship system and other mechanishms, draw in social forces to participate in the mentoring of juveniles who will not be arrested or granted non-prosecution.

26. Earnestly implement all methods of linking the procuracy with the comprehensive administration of social management. Carry out legal outreach to juveniles by continuing to take on roles such as "vice-principal for rule of law" and using cases to explain the law. Actively participate in regulating the environment surrounding schools and in educating and managing key youth groups, so as to unearth and strictly target adults committing crimes such as enticing, coercing or organizing juveniles to commit crimes or conveying criminal methods to juveniles; building a happy and healthy environment for juveniles to be brought up in. Increase the analysis of the reasons juveniles commit crimes, use procurator recommendations and other means to make comments and suggestions on crime prevention to the party committee, government and other relevant sides, so as to promote the strengthening and innovation in new social management work.

VI. Strive to strengthen leadership in juvenile criminal prosecution work.

27. Earnestly plan the structural deployment of juvenile prosecution work. Include juvenile prosecution work in the workplan of people's procuratorates at every level to further increase organizational leadership, continue to hear periodic reports on specialized topics, ensure the needs of juvenile prosecution work in terms of areas such as energetic leadership, work deployments, personnel assignments, and prosecution efforts. Naturally connect short and long term goals by start with actual conditions and pragmatically completing the work at hand, but also mastering the law and direction of juvenile crime prosecution work, increase the foresight and creativity of efforts and promote the rational development of juvenile prosecution work.

28. Strengthen professional guidance. Higher level procuratorates should increase comprehensive guidance in juvenile criminal prosecution work, put forward generally applicable work requirements and standards, and take hold of prosecution practice.Focus on the different conditions of each area and implement different types of guidance, frequently send personnel to fully investigate the basic level, get a handle on conditions and assist in resolving outstanding problems and gradually increase the overall level of juvenile criminal prosecution work. Where an area has already had mature, creative success or experience with wide-reaching value, it should be seriously reviewed advanced in practice. At the same time, while every area is putting the higher level courts requirements into practice, they should highlight key points, breakthough difficulties, establish special characteristics, and search for a development model suited to the unique characteristics of that region.

29. Coordinate well with those outside the department. The set up of specialized juvenile criminal prosecution organs should include increasing coordination and communication with relevant departments or workplaces in areas such as supporting systems for case-handling by political-legal organs and socialization mentorship and prevention systems, When necessary, the chief procurators at all levels can personally go to coordinate to garner understanding and support.

30. Establish and complete review and evaluation mechanisms suited to the special characteristics of juvenile criminal prosecution work. Change from a review model based purely on the number of cases handled so as to comprehensively and rationally rate the actual performance of juvenile criminal prosecution work by establishing Mechanisms for review and evaluation suited to the special characteristics of juvenile prosecution work with case-handling quality and the effectiveness of mentorship as the core concerns; including a review system for rare arrests and only cautious prosecutions, assistance and mentorship, implementation of special systems, carrying out crime prevention and other content.

31.Strengthen publicity for juvenile criminal prosecution work. Put great efforts into publicizing the experiences, results, and typical cases from juvenile crime prosecution work and put forward role-models; promote influential images like 'Prosecutor Moms' that can establish a brand and demonstrate the procuratorates' concern for the public, compassion and rationality, peacefulness and civility; and put forward a positive image of law enforcement, boosting understanding, concern and support for juvenile criminal justice from all parts of society.

32. Increase research of juvenile criminal prosecution theory. Procuratorates with the capacity may strenghten cooperation using methods such as holding symposia with expert scholars and institutions of higher learning, jointly taking up projects or inviting expert scholars to take up temporary adjunct positions at their procuratorate, so as to deeply and systematically research enforcement concepts, funcion status, thoughts on development, basica principles, work mechanisms and other issues. Actively borrow the theoretical and practice successes of foreign countries in juvenile crime prosecution to continuously develop and refine a socialist juvenile criminal prosecution system with Chinese characteristics and provide theoretical support to the deeper development of juvenile criminal prosecution work.

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