Alfio Maggiolini

Antisocial adolescents and responsibility

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: adolescence, development of responsibility, suspension of proceed- ing with placement under supervision

Responsibility can be understood as a competence, which develops from childhood to adulthood: someone is responsible if he gradually becomes able to understand the effects of his actions and to choose between different alternatives. In another perspective, however, responsibility is the way in which someone declares himself available to respond for his actions toward someone else, who recognizes him. These two representations of responsibility, as rational control and as relational attitude, are the basis of two different ways of functioning of the juvenile penal system. In the first case, the ascertainment of responsibility as the ability to understand and will of a young offender is the premise for defining his imputability and the corresponding penalty. In the second case, as happens in Suspension of Proceeding with Placement under Supervision, a specific measure of the Italian juvenile penal system, the assumption of responsibility of the adolescent is the prerequisite for a declaration of mutual commitment in the relationship with the Court. These two ways of describing responsibility have important consequences not only in the criminal field, but more generally in the way of understanding educational relationships and the regulation of behaviors and can also be the basis for a different definition of the objectives of therapeutic interventions with teenagers.

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