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Lecture 4

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Abigail Salole

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 The 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… The Violent Young Offender under the Failing YOA  Despite stabilizing (even declining) rates of youth crime and high rates of incarceration, the media helped create a perception that youth crime was out-of-control and young offenders were becoming more dangerous  The 1990’s saw the creation of the “punishable young offender” who was manifest in media reports  Media accounts and “spectacles” fueled the perception that YOA was ineffective  Young offenders as someone who should be punished  Very widely reported in the media  YJCA- government personnel actually educated with media to educate them about youth crime  In the media, the “face of youth crime” becomes the violent young offender  Victims and families of victims of youth crime became the focus of debates around how to efficiently strengthen Canadian responses to the youth crime problem  All crime stories generally hears statements from victims (i.e. family) and they somehow become the “experts”; how does someone become an expert like this?  “I am a victim and therefore an expert on crime” common idea in the media  Victims voice should be heard but it shouldn’t be the only side to the story  i.e. MADD- idea that we know crime and claim they have expert knowledge because they have been affected by drunk driving…  E.g. Chuck Cadman, whose son was stabbed and killed at 16 by a young offender, ran for federal office and was eventually appointed justice critic for the official opposition  Under the YOA Canada was sending youth into custody at 2X the rate of American courts  Very pervasive idea of the violent young offender  Over reliance on courts and custody  ¾ of young people sentenced under the YOA had not committed a violent crime  Detained for administrative breaches and property-related crimes  Toward New Legislation  In response to public d
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