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Youth and Society 5.docx

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SOCI 2221
Vanessa Oliver

Youth Justice  the Young Offenders Act in 1984 was an attempt to establish a tighter legal framework by allowing charges on specific offenses, and by placing responsibility for the offense on the offender  the YOA was criticized on many counts for a number of years o depends on political leanings, what social issues lead youth into crime? o too soft on youth o lack of clear philosophy about why we treat youth differently o unfair and inconsistent sentences (not very much consistency across regions), regionalized vs standardized o not nearly tough enough on serious violent offenses (homicide and rape) o criticized for overusing incarceration, courts overflowing with cases o not enough attention to victims o second highest rate of youth incarceration in the West o no rehabilitation after incarceration  decided to recreate the Act o the youth incarceration rate is higher than the adult incarceration rate in Canada o provinces vary considerably in their youth incarceration rates o for eight of the nine most common offenses in youth court, youth receive longer periods of custody than adults who receive custody for the same offense; in addition, youth spend more time in custody than adults with similar sentences due to the adult conditional release provisions o about 80% of custodial sentences are for non-violent offenses o almosts half of the cases resulting in a custodial sentence fall into four categories of less serious offences:  theft under $5000 (ie. shoplifting)  possesion of stolen property  failure to appear  failure to comply with disposition (ie breach of a condition of probation  Youth Criminal Justice Act (2003) o about rehabilitation, think more about the social causes of crime o "The youth justice system must reflect the fact that young persons lack the maturity of adults. The youth system is different from the adult system in many respects." o accountability needs to be consistent o emphasis on rehabilitation, reintegration, timely intervention/prevention o Highlights:  an end to transfers to adult court, if the offender is found guilty in a youth court, the judge has the authority to impose an adult sentence  especially high profile cases- Stephanie Rengel case  lowering the age of presumption to 14- if you commit a serious violent offense, you can be tried as an adult (used to be 16)  less emphasis on custody as a sentence for non-violent or less serious offenses  emphasis on alternative youth sentencing methods (out of court), such as referrals to community programs, formal letters
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