PSYC 2400 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Young Offenders Act, Juvenile Delinquency, Protective Factor

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10 Dec 2018
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Unit 11: Young Offenders
Outline of Sections
Current and Historical Treatment of Young Offenders in Canada
Assessment of Young Offenders
Theories of Youthful Offending
Risk and Proctective Factors
Intervention and Treatment Strategies
Current and Historical Treatment of Young Offenders in Canada
Early Young Offender Legislation
17/18th Centuries
o No formal rules regarding treatment of adolescents
Charges, sentencing and incarceration were as with adults
1908: The Juvenile Delinquents’ Act (JDA)
o Applied to children between the ages of 7-16 (18 in some jurisdictions)
o Separate, somewhat more informal, court system was established
o Sentencing options were expanded to include less formal options
o Parents were encouraged to be a part of the proceedings
Young Offenders Act (YOA)
Replaced the JDA in 1984
Represented a shift in how adolescent offenders were perceived
o While younger, were still viewed as an equal treat to society
o Were thus
Afforded all right stated in the Charter
To be held fully responsible for their actions
Youth falling under the act were between the ages of 12-18
o Under 12, were handled through child and family services
Some differences between adults and youth were still recognized (eg cognitive
development)
These differences were addressed through differential levels of accountability, and
differential consequences for their actions
Diversion was possible: to have the adolescent undergo educational or community
service instead of formal prosecution (for certain crimes)
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Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA)
Replaced the YOA in 2003, and remains active today
The three main objective of the YCJA are:
o To prevent youth crime
o To provide meaningful consequence and encourage responsibility of behavior
o To improve rehabilitation and reintegration of youth into the community
There is a push for extrajudicial measures
o Measures taken to keep youth out of court/custody if possible
Youth must remain anonymous, except under special circumstances
Sentencing options have increased
Transfer to adult court has been eliminated
However, adult charges can still be requested, and applied at times
Victims are given the opportunity to participate in the process
Youth Crime Rates
Youth crime has been decreasing since 2001 gradually
Some people people that the JCYA is part of the reason why it has been decreasing
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Assessment of Young Offenders
Assessment Procedures
Often assessment of youth is mandated by the courts
o For the purpose of determining reoffending risk
In other cases, youth may be assessed voluntarily
o Assent gathered from parents
o Often to determine mental stability
Offense history is often limited
o Context may play a greater role in offending
o Thus, unlike adults, history is often not a major risk consideration
Risk Assessment
Generally mandated by the court
Assessment instrument generally entails a “checklist” or risk-relevant characteristics
o Eg. age at first arrests, antisocial attitudes
o Generally assumed: more risk factors = higher reoffending risk
Example assessment instruments:
o HCR-20
20 items that assess their past, present and future
o ORAMS
Involves two different assessment subscales,
Mental Health Assessment
Often undertaken with assent/consent
Intends to evaluate the mental health of the adolescent
o Internalizing problems: emotional difficulties including anxiety, depression and
obsessions
o Externalizing problems: behavioral difficulties including delinquency, fighting,
bullying and lying
Externalizing problems are often considered to impart greater risk for reoffending
Behaviour Disorders in Youth
The Ontario Child Health Study (1987):
o 18% of children between 4-16 experienced conduct disorder, hyperactivity and/or
emotional disturbance
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