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Lecture 4

CRIM 3657 Lecture 4: January 27

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York University
CRIM 3657
Robert Teixeira

Juvenile Delinquency Act: -1908 -based on a medical/psychiatric model -although it didn’t happen much in practice, it was focused on the rehabilitation of the youth -youth: special status apart from the adult -it was a new part in the history of discourses surrounding youth and adult -in addition to making new claims on what youth as a subject is, the new way of discoursing youth shifts what is means to be an adult: shift in both sides of the binary -based on a social and regulatory framework, one of the rescue of young people ^-relieve the offender of the problems and deficiencies in character as a result of his/her environment -rescue of the individual: social and structural changes generally were not taken into account -expert knowers involved -arose in a social and economic context with the purpose of helping children -concerned with a racialized idea of nation-building -the JDA created a juvenile justice system in Canada for the first time: special protections were deemed to be necessary for youth -administering the needs of young offenders was based on rehabilitation -bad parenting was seen to be an integral part of their class, racial, or ethnic background -from a certain perspective, the JDA was an improvement of the harsh history of the 19th century -social and political rights -under the 1908 law, judges were given discretionary power, which was meant to reflect the patriarchal power of the parent: how they were going to regulate or punish -this power was transferred to public officials under the doctrine parens patriae -the social and political currency of this Act was important and held firm for over 60 years Problems with the JDA: -in the country’s attempts to be the parent of the delinquent child, the child often became a non- citizen, with no legal recourse and no legal rights, especially no legal access to legal representation: lawyers, and others who could advocate on their behalf ^-it was handled differently under the JDA -Table 4.1, p. 71: -enter the CCRF -challenge to the Voting Age Act in Edmonton: early 90s: group of young people fought to make the voting age 16 -since its provisions were in direct contradiction to many of the provisions in the Charter -concern with the JDA was first given material form in the establishment of the Justice Committee: p. 67 ^-this was the first impetus given to reforming the law -historical research revealed that the impetus stems from a variety of factors: 1) Demographics: there was a concern with the baby boom generation, an subsurge in the number of young persons in Canada 2) Calls to study the justice system as a whole: legislative framework involving the Canadian Justice System was studying a broad range of scholarship 3) **new drive for social science research and studies in Criminology: emerged with the changes in the 1960s: these theories often challenge the status quo, which were critical of the more positivist framework that were carried into the juvenile justice system ^-a critique of positivist criminology: Lombroso’s born criminal Labelling Theory: -emerged from studies in the late 50s and early 60s -prominent figures: Howard Becker and Lemert -introduced a new critical understanding in studies of deviance -serves as a critique of positivist criminology -deviance: descriptive term that was applied to individuals successfully -shift from the crime being located in the individual offenders, as a form of inherent or individual pathology, to one in which deviance was conceptualized as a successful application of the term “deviant” (social construction) -construction of meaning, social actors, and a social world based on meaning ^-symbolic interactionism -a subset of the linguistic term of the 1960s -subset of symbolic interactionism -the social imposition of the label on a person seeks to shift their subjectivity in their own and others’ perceptions of them -when their label gains a certain level of social currency, which becomes strong, the person shifts to a deviant status and internalizes this label: their sense of their own individuality becomes one of deviance -they internalize these characteristics: -socially embedded in the norms of the group, the behaviour will not take a deviant status 1) Primary deviance: infractions that individuals commit at one point in their life: symptomatic and socially embedded in the norms of the group, the behaviour will not take a deviant status 2) Secondary deviance: the individual internalizes the label -while positivists place greater emphasis on what causes crimes and ways to reduce crime, labelling theorists remove the focus from the individual offender and ask broader questions, such as: how did these rules that defined offending behaviour emerge in the first place and what effect do they have? What are the ramifications of these labels on the individual and the society? -it embeds a person within a social context and analyzes larger structures of powers, discourses, and patterns of meaning-making in the culture: it also assumes that there is a consensus in the culture: -rather than assuming a unitary and totalizing consensus of norm-making that everyone should aspire to, it espouses a more critical and conflictual approach -received criticisms: excusing the offender’s responsibility -criticized by social progressors as well, as it did not address larger structures of power: capitalism -activities that were usually drawn upon and the examples given include, but are not limited to: unmarried women who were pregnant or single mothers, homosexuality, marijuana users, alcoholics and gamblers -power enforced of social meaning: negative connotation associated with women who have various or multiple sexual partners or who engage in sexual relations outside of the norm Labelling Theory and the YOA: -significant for 3 reasons: 1) Greater regulatory attention paid to categories of crime and youth -offenders: violent and non-violent crime divisions became increasingly important 2) Social welfare provisions became important and called attention to: -diversionary programs or community-based solutions to low level offending 3) Enabled a focus on reducing the potential for greater youth offending: -in the future due to demographic-increase in young population -Quebec: rehabilitative approach-placed young offenders in diversionary programs -the YOA motivated by the inconsistent approach by its predecessor: age of majority, lacking fairness and proportionality, and increased discretionar
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