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To what extent is the justice system fair and equitable for youth?

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Presentation on theme: "To what extent is the justice system fair and equitable for youth?"— Presentation transcript:

1 To what extent is the justice system fair and equitable for youth?
Chapter 2 Notes To what extent is the justice system fair and equitable for youth?

2 history: Juvenile Delinquency Act
Canadian law has commonly seen youth as in need of separate treatment in courts for crimes, when compared to adult offenders. As early as Juvenile Delinquency Act (1908), youth were “misdirected, misguided” and in need of “aid, encouragement, help and assistance.” priority on rehabilitation as opposed to other objectives of sentencing.

3 History: Young Offenders Act
Laws regarding criminal activity by ‘minors’ were revised in 1984 with the Young Offenders Act (YOA), which included: criminal proceedings similar to full court trials. provided new ways of dealing with ‘at risk’ youth through sentencing that would address the ‘underlying causes of crime.’ more safeguards for youth against people in positions of authority that were open to abuse.

4 History: Proposed Changes to yoa
Reports from Youth Justice Strategy (1998) and Summit on Justice (1999) recommended that YOA be revised for: Prevention. meaningful consequences for offences by youth. harsher punishment for violent repeat offenders. Key Recommendations: lowering age of responsibility. holding parents more accountable. use of incarceration as last resort. alternative measures as sentences.


6 Youth criminal justice act
Criticism of YOA resulted in creation of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA 2003) The YCJA brought in a number of changes: The age that a youth criminal could be tried as an adult for very serious, violent crimes was lowered from 16 to 14 years. Judges could impose adult sentences for violent crimes committed by youth and publish the offenders’ names. Less emphasis on custody and more emphasis on alternative sentencing options for minor and non-violent offences. Increased community supervision for youth criminals who have served time in custody.

7 YCJA’s four main principles
YCJA’s main principles: prevention of crime by addressing causes of crime and encourage community effort to reduce crime. meaningful consequences that hold all young people accountable for their actions (and to help them understand the implications of the harm they’ve done). rehabilitation and reintegration into society. flexibility for provinces to establish youth justice policies that best meet their local needs for youth.

8 custody This is the most serious type of sentence that a judge can give a youth criminal. Custody is used as a last resort by judges, when they believe that alternative sentencing options will not work. A judge will sentence a youth criminal to custody if the youth has committed a violent crime and needs supervision. fails to comply with earlier, less serious sentences. In Canada, there are two types of youth custody: open and secure.

9 Open custody Youth criminals who require structure and supervision, but who are not considered very dangerous, may be sentenced to open custody. This type of custody usually involves sending a convicted youth to a group home, which accommodates several youth criminals for a set time period; or a foster home, in which the youth lives with other families. Group homes are operated by trained staff. Foster parents receive money from the provincial government for providing a foster home.

10 Secured custody This is the most serious type of custody in which the convicted youth’s freedom is completely restricted. Secure custody facilities generally have barred windows and locked doors. Some are located in separate wings of adult jails. This sentence is given to convicted youth who have been convicted of very serious and violent crimes, and/or youth who are considered potentially dangerous and a threat to the public.

11 Diverting Youth From Crime
Custody is only used for youth criminals if they are repeat offenders or if they have committed a very serious crime, usually involving violence. Alternative sentencing options include: Extrajudicial measures: non-violent, first time youth offenders avoid trial and participate in diversion or community programs. Under the YOA, these were called alternative measures programs. Extrajudicial sanctions: a more serious punishment for a youth criminal that does not create a criminal record; also avoids a trial.

12 Extrajudicial Measures
Extrajudicial measures and sanctions include: Counselling Education programs Community service Official apologies Caution letters Restitution or compensation Social skills improvement Essays or presentations Charitable donations or personal service

13 Youth criminal justice act I action

14 Differences between YCJA and Adult Justice
Youth Criminal Justice Act Criminal code of Canada Deals with year olds in trouble with the law. Allows some young offenders to face consequences like counseling or community service. Prohibits adult sentencing for year olds. Allows adult sentencing for 14 and older for serious crimes. Protects privacy of young offenders. Allows most young offenders to avoid criminal records. Deals with adults in trouble with the law. Makes going to court a usual consequence for breaking the law. Defines adult sentences which can include long periods of imprisonment for some crimes. Allows publication of offenders’ names. Creates a criminal record for most offenders.

15 Some Effects of the ycja
Under the YCJA, fewer young people are charged with breaking the law because police can give young offenders other consequences

16 Example of Ycja in action
Alberta woman who killed family gets partial curfew reprieve Convicted triple murderer, known only as J.R., was 12 when she killed parents, brother in 2006 A young woman who killed her family in 2006 can now stay out past 11:30 p.m. on weekends, a judge decided at her yearly sentence review in Medicine Hat on Thursday. The woman — who can only be identified as J.R — was 12 years old when she and her 23-year-old boyfriend Jeremy Steinke murdered her parents and eight-year-old brother in the southern Alberta city. She was convicted in 2007 on three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to a 10-year intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision program…

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