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CA (630,000)
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PSYC39H3 (200)
Lecture

PSYC39H3 Lecture Notes - Youth Detention Center, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Social Skills


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC39H3
Professor
David Nussbaum

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Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective Chapter 5: Developmental Issues: Juvenile Offending
Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 90
CHAPTER 5: Developmental Issues: Juvenile Offending
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
1. Describe the history of juvenile justice in Canada.
2. Differentiate between the theories to explain juvenile offending.
3. Define and list the risk and protective factors associated with juvenile offending.
4. Identify the psychiatric diagnoses and their trajectories relevant to juvenile offenders.
5. Describe the tools used to assess juvenile offenders.
6. Distinguish between primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions for children, youth,
and juvenile offenders
CHAPTER SUMMARY Issues:
Juvenile Offending
The first Canadian legislation to address juvenile offending was the Juvenile Delinquents
Act (JDA) in 1908. In 1984, the Young Offender’s Act (YOA) replaced the JDA with
several major changes to juvenile justice. Although the YOA underwent several
amendments, it was finally replaced in 2003 with the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).
Biological theories focus on genetic and physiological differences between juvenile
offenders and those who do not behave antisocially. Cognitive theories propose a model
of antisocial behaviour that focuses on thought processes that occur in social interactions.
Social theories are based in social learning theory, which proposes that children
learn behaviour from observing others and through reinforcement contingencies.
A risk factor is a variable or factor that, if present, increases the likelihood of
an undesirable outcome such as antisocial behaviour. Risk factors occur across
various domains that include individual (e.g., difficult temperament), familial
(e.g., low parental involvement), school (e.g., low commitment to school), peer
(e.g., associating with antisocial peers), and community (e.g., low-income
neighbourhood).
A protective factor is a variable or factor that, if present, decreases
the likelihood of an undesirable outcome such as antisocial behaviour. Protective
factors occur across various domains that include individual (e.g., intelligence),
familial (e.g., supportive relationship with parent), school (e.g., commitment to
school), peer (e.g., associating with peers who disapprove of antisocial behaviour),
and community (e.g., strong community infrastructure).
There are three common disorders diagnosed in juvenile offenders: attention-deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and conduct
disorder (CD). Children/youth diagnosed with CD are at greatest risk for juvenile
offending. CD is a precurser to adult antisocial personality disorder.
The instruments used to assess a juvenile offender’s risk generally involve a “checklist”
where items are scored on a scale, the points are summed, and a cutoff value is

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Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective Chapter 5: Developmental Issues: Juvenile Offending
Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 91
set for either detaining or releasing the juvenile. These instruments collect information
about a set of factors, both static and dynamic, related to reoffending, such as
number of prior arrests, use of a weapon, and presence of a drug problem.
Primary intervention strategies are implemented prior to any violence occurring with
the goal of decreasing the likelihood that violence will occur later on. Secondary
intervention strategies attempt to reduce the frequency of violence. Tertiary intervention
strategies attempt to prevent violence from reoccurring.
LECTURE OUTLINE
. 1. Introduction:
Youth crime is often controversial and raises a number of questions for the
criminal justice system and the larger community.
it is assumed that “anyone” who commits an act that is found in the
Canadian Criminal Code will be charged and prosecuted.
This is not the case, however-children under the age of 12 are not charged,
even when they commit violent acts such as murder.
Professionals such as social workers, psychologists, and even police
officers may intervene but the goal is to provide appropriate intervention
or treatment so that these acts do not continue.
In order to be processed through Canada’s criminal justice system, an
offender must be a minimum of 12.
Prior to this age, children’s behaviour is governed by the Child and
Family Services Act.
Once a child is 12, they are assumed to be in sufficient control of their
behaviour such that acts committed against the Canadian Criminal Code
will be pursued by the justice system.
Canada does recognize that youth between the ages of 12 and 18 are
developmentally different than adults (over 18) and outlines provisions for
younger aged “offenders” in the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which
provides direction on how youth committing Criminal Code offences
should be “processed.”
2. The History of Juvenile Justice in Canada:
1. Prior to the nineteenth century, children and youth who committed
criminal acts were treated similarly to adult offenders.
2. No provisions or accommodations for age or developmental stage were
made when it came to charging, sentencing, or incarceration.
3. Youth were not even exempted from the death penalty.
4. In 1908, Canada enacted the Juvenile Delinquents Act (JDA) to recognize
the special circumstances inherent with juvenile offenders.
5. This legislation applied to individuals between the ages of 7 and 16
(although in some jurisdictions the upper limit was 18).

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Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective Chapter 5: Developmental Issues: Juvenile Offending
Copyright © 2011 Pearson Canada Inc. 92
6. These juveniles were termed “delinquents” rather than offenders and were
seen to commit acts of delinquency (e.g., truancy) rather than criminal
offences.
7. A separate court was designed for delinquents, with parents encouraged to
take part in the proceedings, which were more informal than was
customary in adult court.
8. Sanctions included adjournment without penalty, fines, probation,
mandatory attendance in an industrial school to learn a skill or trade, and
foster care.
9. Delinquents who committed serious and violent acts could be transferred
to adult court.
10. Although the enactment of the JDA was a positive first step in juvenile
justice, criticisms included
the informality of youth court denying youth their rights, such as the
right to legal representation and the right to appeal;
that judges could impose open-ended sentences; and the broad
definition of delinquency that included acts that were not illegal for
adults.
In 1984, the Young Offenders Act (YOA) replaced the JDA.
Juvenile offenders were recognized as cognitively different than adults
and consequently their level of accountability and the sanctions for their
behaviour should be more commensurate with their developmental stage.
There was also a recognition that the community had a right to be
protected from juvenile offenders while granting these juveniles their
rights as stated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
With the YOA came an increase in the minimum age at which an
individual could be charged with a criminal offence, from 7 years old to
12 (and up to 18).
Child and Family Services would intervene with anyone under 12 who
engaged in behaviour that violated the Canadian Criminal Code.
Youth court judgments, with the possibility of a transfer to adult court,
continued.
However, in order to be transferred, a youth had to be at least 14
The YOA also allowed youth cases to be diverted.
Diversion is a decision not to prosecute a young offender but rather have
them undergo an educational or community service program.
A young offender would have to plead guilty for diversion to be possible
Other dispositions available for young offenders included
1. absolute discharge (i.e., the young offender received no sentence
other than a guilty verdict),
2. a fine,
3. compensation for loss or damaged property,
4. restitution to the victim,
5. a prohibition order (i.e., no weapons),
6. community service,
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