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Research has shown that psychologists have no reliable method for investigating the conscience of juvenile suspects. For Frans Schalkwijk, the current view that criminal youths are unscrupulous is wrong and doesn’t do them justice. Their conscience differs little from that of non-perpetrators, in his view.

Event details of The myth of the unscrupulous juvenile delinquent
Date 14 February 2020
Time 16:00 -17:00
Location Aula - Lutherse kerk
Portrait of Frans Schalkwijk
Photo: Dirk Gillissen

The myth that Moroccan-Dutch suspects lie because they come from a shame culture, according to Schalkwijk, also appears to be based on implicitly discriminatory assumptions. Schalkwijk developed a new theory about conscience and is now going to develop a reliable measuring instrument based on this theory.

Diagnosing a juvenile suspect’s conscience is often vague because psychologists don’t have a good measuring instrument. Schalkwijk: ‘Meanwhile, judges can impose serious sentences such as juvenile detention on the basis of psychologists’ recommendations.’ According to Schalkwijk's theory, conscience is a combination of a person's moral knowledge, capacity for empathy and feelings such as shame, guilt or pride. Developing a measuring instrument should improve the quality of the diagnosis and lead to better treatment recommendations.

Prof. F.W. Schalkwijk, professor by special appointment of Forensic Child and Youth Care Sciences. The myth of the unscrupulous juvenile delinquent.

Aula - Lutherse kerk

Singel 411
1012 XM Amsterdam