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Chapter 12

Chapter 12- Assessment and Treatment of Young Offenders.docx

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McMaster University
Richard B Day

November 23 , 2013 Psych 3CC3: Forensic Psychology Chapter 12: Assessment and Treatment of Young Offenders Historical Overview - Canada enacted the Juvenile Delinquents Act (JDA) in 1908, partly in response to the justice system’s past disregard for the special population of youthful offenders between the ages of 7 and 16  Court proceedings are as informal as possible in that delinquents were seen as misguided children in need of guidance and support  Made it possible for delinquents to be transferred to adult court  Punishments for delinquents were to be consistent with how a parent would discipline a child  Some youth were denied their rights  Broad definition of delinquency included acts that were not illegal for adults - Young offenders act (YOA): youth were to be held responsible for their actions  Acknowledge that youth are different from adults through the level of accountability and the consequences of the behaviour committed  Recognized the need to protect the public from young offenders  Recognized that youths should be afforded all the rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms  Youth had to be at least 12 years old  Youth courts continued; for serious indictable offences youth could be transferred to adult courts, provided they were at least 14 years old  Allowed youth cases to be diverted but the young offender would have to plead guilty  Other dispositions: absolute discharge, fine compensation for loss or damaged property, restitution to the victim, prohibition order, community service, probation, and custody  Custody: open or secure  Youth court considers whether the Crown or defence make an application to transfer the case to adult court: address the problem of defendants making guilty pleas to avoid transfer  16- and 17-year olds charge with murder, manslaughter, or aggravated sexual assault go to adult court  Sentences for youth changed  Attempted to make youth more accountable for their behaviour while supporting rehabilitation  Criticisms: serious violent offences carried relative short sentences, raising the minimum age of responsibility from 7 to 12 - Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA):  To prevent youth crime  To provide meaningful consequences and encourage responsibility of behaviour  To improve rehabilitation and reintegration of youth into the community  Onus on police to consider community outlets and less serious alternatives – extrajudicial measures  Judges are able to provide a reprimand, intensive support and supervision order, attendance order, deferred custody and supervision order, and intensive rehabilitation custody and supervision order  Transfer process is eliminated: judge can impose adult sentence  Sentence must be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence  Victims are to be informed of the court proceedings and given an opportunity to participate, right to access youth court records and can participate in community-based dispositions Naming Youth - YCJA: name of the youth cannot be reported to the public but can be released under special circumstances Youth Crime Rates - Decreasing for the past few years - Probation is the most frequent sentence imposed Assessment of Young Offenders - Assessing those under age 12:  Clinicians will obtain two levels of consent: from parents or guardians and then from the child or adolescent  Internalizing problems: emotional difficulties  Externalizing problems: behavioural difficulties; more difficult to treat and have long-term persistence, and peal in teenage years  Males are more likely to have externalizing problems (10:1)  To assess externalizing problems multiple informants are necessary  ADHD: inattention and restlessness  ODD: pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior  CD: initiates physical fights, is cruel to animals, sets fires, lies for gain, and is a truant before age 13. CD is the precursor to antisocial personality disorder - Assessing adolescents:  Once an adolescent’s antisocial behavior receives the attention of the courts, a court-ordered assessment may be issued  Determine what level of risk the young person poses for reoffending  Collect information about static and dynamic factors  The more relevant risk factors are present, the more likely to reoffend  Children and adolescents experience more developmental and character changes than adults Risk Assessment Tools used with Young Offenders in Canada - Adolescent chemical dependency inventory: designed for 14- to 17-year-olds to screen for substance use and abuse, overall adjustment and issues for troubled youth - HCR-20: historical, clinical, and risk management - Offender risk assessment and management 1. Inmate security assessment: assess offenders threat to him- or herself and others in an institution 2. Primary risk assessment: predict risk to reoffend in any type of offence - Structured assessment of violence risk in youth: make assessments and recommendations about risk that a youth may pose for future violence - Youth level of service/case management inventory: assessing risk of future violence, need for correctional programs, and responsivity factors that have an impact on case plan goals - Youthful offender – level of service inventory: classify and assess offender’s overall risk level and identify and target areas of criminogenic need Rates of Behaviour Disorders in Youth - 5-15% of children display severe behavioural problems - 18% of children from 4-16 experience conduct disorder, hyperactivity, emotional disturbance - Behavioural disorders commonly co-occur Trajectories of Youthful Offenders - Two developmental pathways to youthful antisocial behavior: childhood onset versus adolescent onset - Early onset of antisocial behavior is related to more serious and persistent antisocial behavior later in life - Childhood onset trajectory is a less frequent occurrence (3-5%) - Adolescent-onset pattern occurs in 70% of general population - Brame, Nagin and Tremblay (2001): participants’ overall level of aggression decreased as they got older, regardless of how high it was when the participants were youngsters. For a small group with high levels of aggression, these levels continued into later years Theories to Explain Antisocial Behaviour - Biological theories  Frontal lobe: responsible for planning and inhibiting behavior  Moffit and Henry (1989): conduct-disordered youth have less frontal lobe inhibition; thus, likelihood that youth will act impulsively is increased  Slower heart rates  Relation between p
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