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Week 11-Youth in Crime

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Sociology 2253A/B
Jennifer Silcox

Week 11: Youth Justice History, Legislation, Sentencing, Statistics, and Media Representations Thinking About Youth Justice  Differences in age and maturity levels. Little adults or cognitively different?  Notion that youth are more malleable. Easily rehabilitated than adults  The idea of ‘adult crimes’ or serious crime. - Tries to recognize that there are differences between children and adults - Adult crimes, if you are taking part in adult crimes than you should be tried as an adult The History of Youth Justice  The Good and Evil Test: free-will  The doli incapax doctrine: applied to children younger than 7 and believed these children are incapable of criminal intent  16th Century -excluded from responsibility, they don’t have mental capacity to form intent  17th Century -ages 14-21, the test determined capital punishment  18th-early 19th Century -continued usage to see if people are culpable for their actions or not Early History of Youth Justice  19th Century -Orphans in Canada  Child Savers; help children get guidance for children who didn’t have families give them more support and assistance to level the playing fields  Juvenile Delinquents Act (JDA)  parens patriae  Welfare model - Primarily in compass with the welfare model - Supposed to be a safe place to guide children - Paternalistic to the court system - State takes on parental role - Juvenile Delinquency Act (JDA)  Developed in 1908: a major them the literature on youth crime, objective to rehabilitate and reform, stead of punishing it was that parental guidance that was the primary focus  Why was this act heavily criticized? Wealthier children were treated differently, discrimination with race, class, gender; to help socialize the lower class so they can meet the expectations of the middle or upper class  Gender discrimination, systemic abuse, and use of status offences(offences that wouldn’t necessarily be criminal offences, such as truancy from school, things children were charged with that adults weren’t, crimes of morality) Youth Justice in Canada, 1982 – 2003  Canadian Charter criticized the JDA’s denial of basic rights of due process for children. As a results we ended up with YOA  Young Offenders Act of 1984  Attempted to balance social responsibility and the rights of youth.  Shift from the welfare model to that of the adult criminal law model.  Short, sharp shock  Was supposed to have youth take responsibility for their acts but also take consideration into the crime committed  More similar to adult justice model; conflicted the idea of rehabilitation and that youth are more malleable  As a result of short sentences Canada became the place where people were incarcerated the most Young Offenders Act (YOA)  Replaced the JDA in 1984 and initially heralded as an improvement. ; Step in a positive direction especially for girls because they could not be charged for status offences  Elimination of status offences  ...but the increase in administrative violations or breaches occurred (such as failure to pay fines or child welfare concerns).  Get rid of this moralistic problem youth were faced with  Treatment of girls did not really improve with the removal of status offences  Increased use of administration breaches instead of status ones such as failure to pay fines, child welfare concerns that adults may have not been charged with  (Chesney-Lind & Irwin, 2008; Pate, 1999; Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, 1997). These scholars said that although we have elimination of status offences instead what was resulted that these populations were still charged with similar offences under different categories (same behaviour different names) YOA (1984)  Criticism from Conservative politicians, police chiefs, and the general public (especially, in Ontario) for being too lenient (Barnhorst, 2012; Sprott & Doob, 2009). Too soft on crime, prevalent in Ontario and Calgary mostly, needed a strict replacement  Toronto Study by Barber & Doob published in 2004 on public perceptions.  Carrington & Schulenberg (2004) said from the start it was a public relations disaster as youth crime rates rose. They often believed that punishments were not proportionate to crime youth committed; said youth offenders act was a disaster  Because crime rates were increasing it was pretty much putting fuel on the we need to be tough on crime clause  Criticized on both ends of the spectrum, too lenient or too strict, no side liked it  Between 1991 and 2003 the Reform Party (Canadian Alliance Party) lobbied for harsher punishments (Cernetig, 1993, Trépanier, 2004). Adopted a lot of the views that were already present in the US  Ideological debate between Ontario (the “big blue machine” and the “common sense revolution”) and Québec. Big blue machine: conservatives take power being tough on crime YOA -Continued  Pate (1999) -YOA was initially founded on youth-positive principles (such as?), but certain ‘get tough’ or ‘zero tolerance’ policies in the 1990s swept many youth up in the web of punitive criminalization (Trépanier, 2004). Least restrictive measures that the textbook talks about; zero tolerance on bullying  Led to the highest rate of court and custody use for teens in trouble with the law when compared to other Western countries (Bala, Carrington, & Roberts, 2010). Boot Camps: An example of the Get Tough Approaches of the 1990s - Shock incarceration programs - Popular with those that believe that young people need to be taught a lesson - Popularity of boot camps has declined as a result of lawsuits related to human rights violations and allegations of abuse; - What are some of the other reasons it largely considered a failed enterprise: failed to take into consideration social cause of crime and only focused on social control; our own research shows that this type of deterrence does not work with young offenders - A re-emergence of get tough ideologies might spark a resurgence of these types of measures for youth - Some studies showed that recidivism was the result of boot camps Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA)  YCJA aimed to be clear about the overriding philosophy of youth justice in Canada.  Declaration of Principle -long term protection of public; separation between adult and youth justice systems; special consideration of youth, victims and parents.  Act arose because of the two camps “this is not tough enough” “this is too tough”  Thought as compression between youth justice Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA)  Former Justice Minister Anne McLellan drafted the YCJA, Bill C-68. In 2003 the YOA was replaced by the YCJA.  Goals: reduce courts(Canada had highest use of courts), find alternatives, work with serious offenders more effectively (Bala, Carrington, & Roberts, 2009; Barnhorst, 2004)  Preamble: “to prevent youth crime by addressing its underlying causes, to respond to the needs of young persons, and to provide guidance and support to those at risk of committing crime” (Mann, Senn, Girard, & Ackbar, 2007). YCJA –Continued  What was unique about this act? Lead to serious young offenders receiving more firm punishments close to what adults would receive  According to Bala and his colleagues (2009), to a large extent, the YCJA was considered to be a compromise between two political ideologies; get children into programs earlier would be helpful  One of the principles that made this act different from previous pieces of legislation was that it stipulated that the courts should respect gender differences in order to highlight different pathways to crime. Talked about how we needed to find the individual needs of the offender; treating youth as individuals and find individual pathways away from crime and take criminogenic needs into consideration  Although this has been a principle, it’s been criticized by Chesney-Lind (2006) and Corrado, Odgers, & Cohen (2000). Still using custody as a means to protect girls rather than boys it was thought that you could protect these girls; we don’t look at gender the same way for protecting boys; fail to take into consideration when youth take in crime or violence it often in a response for some sort of violent situation in the first place such as violent situation at home Violent Crime in Youth Courts between 1991/92 and 2009/10 - crime gone down after act (2003) Violent Crime in Canada, Quebec, and Ontario Youth Courts between 1991/92 and 2009/10 Do Young People Know Right from Wrong? • Research on cognitive abilities from the text:  Before age 10: children are thought to have no sense on impact of actions on others  Up to age 13: lack moral independence from adults  Up to age 17: some mortality start to develop  Early 20s: cognitive and moral development continues to grow  25 years old: brain is fully developed Discussion Questions  What might have been Ashley Smith’s outcome had she been subject to the JDA? Positive and negative outcomes during this period?  YOA and YCJA and the various models of criminal justice.  How is youth crime depicted in newspapers? Are certain models presented more than others? What myths are promoted? Youth Sentencing  Incarcerating young people often does more harm than good and that most success comes from CJS alternatives. ; using diversion tactics or cautions or conditional sentences type of thing, came about because Canada had the highest incarceration rate  Canada had the highest youth incarceration rate in the world. Increased emphasis of keeping them out of the CJS Public Accessibility to Youth Crime Cases  JDA - “without publicity” without public in attendance, ban using identity of youth during criminal process because it was thought to deter the rehabilitation of them  Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms -Exclusion as unconstitutional  YOA - A compromise (what was it?) ban of the identity of the person but allowed the media in the court room but they could not identify the name What Do We Do with Youth in Trouble with the Law?  Strategy for the Renewal of Youth Justice (1998)  Meaningful Consequences -Introduced in the YCJA  The Supreme Court of Canada -Justice Charron: “individualized sentencing process by focusing on underlying causes, rehabilitation, [and] reintegration.”  Holding youth accountable for the damage that they caused  Consequence that was meaningful you would have some rehabilitation  In response to the high incarceration rate Alternatives to Youth Court  Child Savers -keep youths out of adult system; trying to keep them with their families and their community by working with support services to help reduce recidivism; examples: operation GO Home  Principles of Extrajudicial Measures (YCJA, S.4)  Interventions for correction of behaviour  Said to be the best for youth crimes correcting problematic behaviour  Typically used for non violent offenders  Try to hold offender accountable for their actions  Objectives for Extrajudicial Measures (YCJA, S.5)  Effect
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