SOC310H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Youth Rights, Actus Reus, Chuck Cadman

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1 Feb 2013

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Lecture 4- January 30, 2013
A century of youth justice in Canada (continued )
Ashley Smith
Difference between Smith and David Meffe- age, incarcerated for very long time; Smith eventually died in an
adult facility
Similarities-incarcerated for fairly minor offence, didn’t get help they needed (i.e. psychological counseling)
Relevant concepts- poor management of inmates (didn’t check on their mental health), idea that to keep
someone safe, they should be put in solitary confinement
Moving Toward the YOA (cont’d)
More legislation regarding the responsibility of the juvenile offender was proposed in Bill C-61, An Act
Respecting Young Offenders and to Repeal the Juvenile Delinquents Act
This legislation almost completely abandoned the welfarist tack of the JDA
Abandonment of welfare state under JDA moving toward YOA
Passed in 1982 (applied in 1984)
Main principles
Crime prevention
Accountability and responsibility
Protection of society
Limited maturity and special needs of young people (separate youth justice system)
The rehabilitation of young offender
Restraint of young offenders
Least possible interference with children’s freedom; always try the punishment that is the least harsh or
interferes with the child’s freedom to the least extent
Special guarantees of the rights and freedoms of the young person; connected to Charter; young people
always had access to a lawyer
The primary responsibility of parents for their children (involvement of parents)
The YOA Becomes Law… Trouble Already?
Widely criticized by the public for apparent lack of deterrence
Broad, diverse and potentially conflicting principles
No guidance as to how to balance them
Biggest criticism was that it was not tough enough on juvenile crime!
YOA was characterized by amendment
Amendments passed in 1992 to “toughen” the YOA by cracking down on violent offenders
Increased sentence for murder from 3 to 5 years less a day
Parole eligibility reduced from 10-25 years to 5-10 years for cases transferred to adult court
Last attempt to toughen Canada’s approach to juvenile justice in 1994 with Bill C-37
Toward a Strategy for the Renewal of Youth Justice
Public and political opposition to the YOA reached a fever pitch by 1997
Failed to adequately deter young people from crime
Did not allow for appropriate punishments
Youth rights that had been granted under the Charter and enmeshed within the act seemingly shielded
young offenders from feeling the sting of the YCJS
The YOA became a symbol of all that was wrong with “youth today”
The beginnings of the Youth Criminal Justice Act…
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