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Lecture 2

CRM304 Youth Justice - Week 2: History and Reforms

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Ryerson University
CRM 304
Kim Varma

CRM304: Youth Justice – Week 2: History and Reforms Please read in conjunction with the powerpoint slides (A) Overview -*see chart* - Police have reasonable grounds to believe youth has broken the law and bring the youth into the system: somebody has to report the crime to the police - Dark figure of crime that needs to be examined; we know from self-report studies that a lot of people do commit offences and do not get caught - Recognition that under the old act is that we are bringing too many people into the system because police officers were afraid to not charge them. Under the old act, police were allowed to use their discretion but not that they shall, but now we want police to have the full support of the system to really use their discretion because when we minimize youth entering the system we find that they ‘grow out of crime’ - POLICE TAKE NO FURTHER ACTION: is this okay? In some cases, it could be, such as victimless crimes or crimes that take up more resources than the result is worth - POLICE WARNING OR CAUTION: a warning on the scene, possibly speak to the parents, etc. (stealing a chocolate bar) - POLICE REFERRAL TO A PROGRAM: communities might offer programs such as anti- shoplifting, drinking, etc. They don’t follow-up. - All three of these are extra-judicial means, trying to find a way to help the youth rather than enter them into the system - If it’s more serious, they may be CHARGED AND RELEASED (minor assault such as shoving or pushing). They go through a screening by the Crown where they are either (1) CAUTIONED by the Crown & released or (2) REFERRAL TO EXTRAJUDICIAL SANCTION PROGRAM where they will either complete the program or if they do not, they will go through YOUTH JUSTICE COURT where they will be SENTENCED or deemed NOT GUILTY, etc. - But if there is reason to believe they may not show up to a bail hearing or a more serious threat, they may be CHARGED AND DETAINED. They will need to go through a BAIL HEARING within 24 hours so that a Justice of the Peace or Judge will see them in court. They will have this bail hearing to determine whether they are to be kept in the system or released to the custody of an adult with bail provisions. - For the most serious cases, they are brought into court and there is a provision where if they commit a certain serious case (presumptive offences such as aggravated sexual assault, manslaughter, murder) and if you are 14+ the Crown must seek an adult sentence a. The discretion has been taken away b. If they are tried as an adult, the highest sentence can be a life sentence (discretion of judge can give possibility of parole) and publication ban is lifted (the young person’s name and identifying statements can be released to the public for the safety of the public) but will still go to a youth prison - This is a very flexible system with discretion opportunities with a range from doing nothing to charging adult sentence; this legislation was very successful – impact was visible almost right away (B) Main themes 1. (this brought about the first piece of legislation as we have always felt the need to save them from a life of crime or runaways; we need to think about their welfare so we now have social systems such as Children’s Aid Society. Child development is really about looking at the maturity that a young person has so we are cognizant of how the child is very different from an adult, and how the circumstances are different for children, even how they perceive time is different) 2. (we assume young people have had rights for a long time but we didn’t really worry about children’s rights until the Charter; it wasn’t a priority because we thought we were taking care of kids. The Act wrote much more detail about children’s rights such as language appropriate for the age, etc.) 3. (the public safety is paramount over the safety of the children; right now we are focusing on this more than the last few points by toughening up and imposing adult sentences) 4. (we know that teachers notice kids in certain behavior, etc. so we should do something about this before something enters the system) recently • (s.3 Declaration of Principle YCJA) (we see these themes infused in the legislation; there is a constant tug-of-war between the first two themes, the third, and the last. There is a huge contradiction – they are a risk because they are out there vandalizing and taking joyrides but they are also at risk because they come from bad home environments, prostituting themselves, living on the streets, etc.) ** the slide with the declaration just provides examples of how each of these thoughts is displayed in the legislature, pretty self-explanatory but here are some examples: Section 3. (1) (a) (i) is geared towards accountability (number 3 of the themes above) (ii) considers child development (number 1 of the themes above) (C) History and reform (1) Pre-Juvenile th - (the category of “childhood” was really discovered in the 17 century that was analyzed and manipulated/regulated during the 18 /19 century, and categories are still being made regularly: • “tweeni
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