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SOC310H5 (70)

Lecture 3

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Abigail Salole

Lecture 3- January 23, 2013 History of Youth Justice in Canada Theoretical Underpinning and Context Development of Modern Juvenile Justice Systems  Changing meanings about meaning of childhood o Idea that young people are different from adults and should be treated differently o Childhood prolonger- attend school longer, get married later and have children later themselves  Philippe Aries: Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life o Thesis: modern concept of childhood discovered in western Europe in 17 century and prior to this there were few distinctions between people (had similar clothing as adults etc); young people treated the same o High infant mortality rate- existed in 17 century and discourages parents from investing in their children emotionally (protected parents from tragic loss) o Children were happier; since people were not preoccupied with children (treated more equally with adults)  Criticisms o Aries allowed his personal religion and ideological beliefs bias his historical analysis o “Discovery”/ “invention” of childhood is misleading; it’s been must more ambiguous o Impossible for single person to be considered adults; different based on gender  Young women almost always treated as property by their parents and then their husbands; never became “adults” Lawless and Disobedient Youth: PRE JDA  Actual incidence hard to determine o Often didn’t keep track of age th  Youth a problem in North American Colonies as early as late 17 century o Historical records find that there are mostly petty crimes relating to property, theft and immorality (idea of immorality criminalized at that point in time)  The idea that children had- rights as individuals independtht of their parents or that they had a right to protection from adults did no gain popularity until 19 century o Young people not separate entities until 19 century; property of who they work for or their parents prior to that  English common law recognized children’s capacity to understand wrongfulness as limited  Doli incapax - Children under 7 considered to lack capacity to commit crime  Evidence of capacity required to convict children 7-13 o Onus on the defence to prove guilt  But 7 year old children charged with crimes, tried in courts with adults and faced same punishments as adults  Diminished criminal responsibility  Parena Patriae The Colonial Public Issue  Struggles with the freedom and independence that young people had relative to their counterparts o Immigrants vs. those who were already in Canada  This freedom posed threat to authority of administrators since 42% of population was composed of children under 15 A question of immorality  Urban problems associated with immigration and poverty o Industrialization and immigration linked with more visible poverty  British children send to Canada to work as indentured servants o These children were often orphans and used as servants  “adoption, sir, is when folks gets a girl to work without wages” (Sutherland 1976)  Girls were particularly vulnerable  Morality of the working class  “children of the streets”- young women working as prostitutes and essentially being imported from Europe to work in stores or forced to serve male customers to keep their jobs o Criminalized for prostitution even if they were forced into it “Causes” and Solutions: An era of Social Reform  Birth of rehabilitative philosophy (reformable young offender): a belief that the right treatment can change a person’s attitudes, values and or behaviour o Focus on the individual and widespread belief that professionals and the state could reform individuals  Brown commission report on Kingston penitentiary- separate system created for juveniles o Should be a separate system for young people  Juvenile Delinquent Made Legal status  Reformatories- 19 century term for juvenile prisons that were based on belief in prisons to reform an individual o Where young people could be reformed rather than somewhere they would learn crime (prison) History of Youth Justice in Canada th th  PRE-JDA: 17 /18 century  Problem of consistent data  From 11 century English common law : Conclusive presumption of: doli incapax  -<7, 7-14  Little differences in the way youth and adults were treated – but not no differences (Carrigan 1991). Pre- JDA: Causes of Youth Crime  Overindulgent parents  Rural nature of Canada changed relations between parents and children  Poverty (immigration)  Culture of fur trade employment  Carrigan 1991 th Pre JDA– 19 century  Question of Morality  increasing gaps b/w rich and poor  Prostitution  Higher percentage of young offenders young women  Child Savers (Platt 1969)  Strong belief in the goodness of humankind – children could be “saved”  not entirely benevolent Context  Platt (1969) – the JDA was linked to middle class efforts to discipline poor people  Hagan and Leon (1977) – JDA working to reinforce “informal systems of social control, particularly the family”  Peikoff and Brickey (1991) – young people went from producers to pupils JDA- 1908  One system for all youth under the premise of best interest of the child (parens patriae “parent of the country”); the state should become the parent of any young offender (idea that parents were to blame for child’s delinquent behaviour so the state would intervene)  Wide discretionary powers to authorities  Sentences were often indeterminate based on the premise that intervention is not a punishment  Welfare based: based on juvenile justice based on a rehabilitative philosophy o Idea they can rehabilitate and reform young offenders JDA (Juvenile’s Deliquence Act)  "every juvenile delinquent shall be treated, not as a criminal, but as a misdirected and misguided child".  Very informal – sometimes would not even find guilt o Focus was not the act itself but the juvenile delinquent  Press could not identify (tendency toward privacy)  Transfer to adult court 14 yo  Parent could be held criminally responsible for ch
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