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The Youth Criminal Justice Act overview for educators


The Youth Criminal Justice Act overview for educators Overview Background ... The Juvenile Delinquents Act first Canadian legislation that dealt with youth ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Youth Criminal Justice Act overview for educators

The Youth Criminal Justice Act overview for
  • Background
  • Facts about Youth Crime
  • The Concept of Youth
  • Legislation Addressing Youth Crime

Overview continued
  • The Youth Criminal Justice Act
  • Philosophy and Principles of the YCJA
  • Meaningful Consequences
  • Rehabilitation and Reintegration

Facts about Youth Crime
Under the Young Offenders Act
  • Canada had the highest youth incarceration rate
    in the Western world, including the United States
  • Saskatchewan had one of the highest usage rates
    of youth court in the country
  • most cases in youth court were non-violent
  • minor assaults made up nearly half of the violent

The Concept of Youth
  • there were no separate laws to deal with youth
    who committed crimes even the very young were
    treated like adults
  • by the 1700s children aged 7-13 were generally
    considered incapable of appreciating the nature
    and consequences of their actions
  • by the 1800s western societies began to develop
    special laws for youth who committed crimes

Legislation Addressing Youth Crime
1908 The Juvenile Delinquents Act
  • first Canadian legislation that dealt with youth
    who broke the law
  • generally applied to youth aged 13-16 (in
    Saskatchewan), but could be applied to youth aged
    7-12 if their ability to form intent could be
  • treated young persons in trouble with the law as
    misguided children, rather than as adults legally
    responsible for their behaviour

1984 The Young Offenders Act
  • replaced the Juvenile Delinquents Act
  • raised the minimum age to 12, based on the belief
    that children under 12 do not have the capacity
    to be held criminally responsible
  • set a unified maximum age at 17

Under the Young Offenders Act
  • youth were to be held responsible for criminal
  • societys right to be protected was principal
  • young people were entitled to the same rights as
  • youths special needs were recognized, based on
    their level of development and maturity

1998 - The Youth Justice Renewal Initiative
  • set out to
  • increase measures outside of the formal court
    process to respond to youth crime
  • establish a more targeted approach to custody
  • improve youth justice systems ability to
    rehabilitate and reintegrate
  • increase the use of community-based sentences

  • set up special measures for violent offenders to
    focus on intensive supervision and treatment
  • increase public confidence in the youth justice
  • The Youth Criminal Justice Act is a central
    part of the Youth Justice Renewal Initiative.

2003 - The Youth Criminal Justice Act
  • Accountability
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Fairness

The Youth Criminal Justice Act
  • based on the belief that incarceration is
    over-used, and that the courts are over-used for
    minor cases that could better be dealt with
    outside the court
  • makes a clear distinction between serious violent
    offences and less serious offences
  • recognizes that effective rehabilitation and
    reintegration is key to the long-term protection
    of the public

Philosophy Principles of the YCJA
Intent of the Youth Justice System
  • to prevent youth crime by addressing the
    underlying circumstances of a young persons
    offending behaviour
  • to rehabilitate and reintegrate youth who have
    committed crimes
  • to ensure that youth are subject to meaningful
    consequences for criminal behaviour
  • Together these objectives are believed to
    promote long-term protection of the public.

Youth Justice System Must Be Separate from the
Adult System
  • youth are defined as being between the ages 12
    and 17 inclusive
  • children under the age of 12 cannot be charged
  • these ages are the same ones previously used
    under the Young Offenders Act

Ways Youth Are Treated Differently
  • youth justice system emphasizes rehabilitation
    and reintegration
  • consequences take into account greater dependency
    of young persons and their reduced level of
  • enhanced procedural protections for youth to
    ensure fair treatment including right to counsel,
    right to privacy, right to be heard and right to
    participate in processes that affect them

Youth justice measures must be fair and
proportional, and should
  • reinforce societal values
  • encourage the repair of harm done to victims and
    the community
  • be meaningful to the youth given their needs and
    level of development

  • involve parents, extended family, community and
    social or other agencies in the youths
    rehabilitation, where appropriate
  • respect gender, ethnic, cultural and linguistic
  • respond to the needs of Aboriginal youth and
    youth with special requirements

Right to Counsel
Under the YCJA, a young person
  • has the right to talk to a lawyer without delay
    at any stage of the proceedings
  • must be advised of this right upon arrest or
    detention, in any written notices, and during any
  • must be given a reasonable opportunity to
    exercise this right
  • has the right to consult with a parent or other
    adult upon request

  • Meaningful Consequences

  • Youth Justice should
  • reserve its most serious interventions for the
    most serious crimes
  • reduce the over-reliance on incarceration for
    non-violent young persons

Extrajudicial Measures
  • Responding to Youth Crime
  • outside of the
  • Formal Court Process

Extrajudicial Measures
  • are often the most appropriate and effective way
    to address youth crime
  • allow for effective and timely interventions
  • should be used whenever they are adequate to hold
    young persons accountable
  • must be considered as an option by police before
    decision to lay charges

Extrajudicial Measures
  • are presumed to be adequate to hold first time
    non-violent offenders accountable
  • may be used even if they have been used with the
    youth before
  • may be used even if the youth has previously been
    found guilty of a crime

Extrajudicial Measures include
  • taking no further action
  • warnings
  • cautions
  • referrals to community agencies with the consent
    of the youth
  • extrajudicial sanctions

Extrajudicial Allowings
  • are the most formal type of extrajudicial measure
  • similar to Alternative Measures under the YOA
  • can include restitution, compensation, community
    service work, mediation, counselling and treatment

Judicial Measures
  • Responses within the
  • Youth Justice Court

Youth Sentences
  • Are intended to
  • hold young persons accountable for their actions
  • utilize just sanctions that ensure meaningful
  • promote the youths rehabilitation and

Youth sentences must be
  • proportionate to the offence and degree of
    responsibility of the young person
  • the least restrictive sanction required and the
    most likely to rehabilitate and reintegrate the
    young person
  • designed to promote a sense of responsibility in
    the young person and an acknowledgement of the
    harm done

Non-custodial Options
  • The Youth Justice Court must explore all
    reasonable alternatives to custody. In fact,
    custodial orders are prohibited unless the young
    person has
  • committed a violent offence, or
  • failed to comply with non-custodial orders, or
  • committed a serious offence and has a pattern of
    offending behaviour, or
  • committed a serious offence and there are other
    aggravating factors

Non-custodial sentencing options include
  • reprimand
  • discharge
  • compensation order
  • fine
  • community service
  • probation
  • attendance order for specific program

Custody and Supervision
  • sentencing a young person to custody is
    considered a last resort
  • young persons may not be placed in custody in
    place of appropriate child protection, mental
    health or other social measures
  • young persons must not be placed in custody where
    an adult would not be jailed for the same
  • young persons will generally serve their time in
    a separate youth facility

Custodial Sentences
  • all custodial sentences now include a period of
    supervision in the community
  • a young person will generally serve a portion of
    their sentence in custody and a portion in the
    community, with conditions
  • if a young person breaches a community
    supervision condition, the conditions may be
    modified or the young person may be returned to

Youth sentences carry different maximums than
adult sentences
  • 10 years for first degree murder
  • 7 years for second degree murder
  • 3 years for other offences where an adult could
    receive a life sentence
  • 2 years for all other crimes

Adult Sentences
  • For an adult sentence to be imposed, the court
    must determine that a youth sentence would not be
    sufficient length to hold the young person

Rehabilitation Reintegration
  • custody provisions recognize that young person
    will eventually be released back into the
  • youth workers help young persons develop a
    reintegration plan aimed at maximizing the young
    persons chances for a successful reintegration

Youth Justice System generally protects the
identity of young persons
  • to maximize the chances of rehabilitation and to
    allow young persons to put their criminal past
    behind them
  • BUT

Information in a record may be shared
  • by a peace officer if it is necessary to do so in
    the course of an investigation
  • by a provincial director or youth worker who is
    preparing a report requested by the court if it
    is necessary to do so to obtain information for
    the report

  • Information may be disclosed to any person
    involved in the supervision or care of a young
    person if it is necessary to
  • ensure compliance by the young person with an
    order of the court
  • ensure the safety of staff, students or other
  • facilitate the rehabilitation of the young person

Youth Justice Conferences
  • provide community members and victims with an
    opportunity to participate in reaching a creative
    solution for instances of youth crime
  • can involve any group of people convened to give
    advice to a decision-maker under the Act (police
    officer, justice of the peace, judge, prosecutor,
    youth worker, etc.)

Youth Justice Conferences continued
  • a conference can be called anytime a decision has
    to be made under the Act
  • individuals who participate may have access to
    the youths record if it is required for the
    administration of the case at hand

Involving the Community
Youth Justice Requires a Community Approach
  • Members of society share a responsibility to
    address the developmental challenges and
  • needs of young persons and
  • guide them into adulthood.

A community approach means
  • communities, families and others should work in
    partnership to prevent youth crime by addressing
    its underlying causes, responding to the needs of
    young persons and providing guidance and support
  • parents should be informed of measures or
    proceedings involving their children and
    encouraged to support them in addressing their
    offending behaviour

The YCJA A New Approach to Youth Justice
  • the YCJA recognizes that it is important to
    maintain a separate system to apply the criminal
    law to young persons
  • because of their youth, young people also need
    special procedural protections within the youth
    criminal justice system

  • because of their level of development and
    maturity, criminal behaviour may be less
    ingrained and easier to correct with proper
    support and supervision
  • the Act emphasizes accountability,
    responsibility, respect and makes a clear
    distinction between serious violent offences and
    less serious offences

The Challenge
  • The implementation of the Youth Criminal Justice
    Act poses a challenge to youth and society.
    Knowledge and understanding of youth justice
    issues will help individuals and communities rise
    to the challenge.
  • For more information about the YCJA, contact
    PLEA or the Department of Justice Canada.