Chapter 8 – First contact: police and diversionary measures
After the police determine whether the crime has occurred, the police or
the crown has the option to divert oyouth fro the courts through
extrajudicial measures through the YCJA. The ycja has strengthened the
provisions for diversion immensely when compared to the JDA or YOA.
Police contact and decision making
-young persons criminal involvement may begin with police, parents,
school authorities or by the victim. Many come to the attention of the police
-Police have discretion in making decisions how to proceed. In fact the
YCJA requires a police officer to consider whether a warning or caution is
-An individual officer has the power freedom to choose from a number of
courses of action including: 1. issue a warning (formal/informal)
2. Arrest and hold the person in custody
3. Take the young person to the police station for questioning
4. Write up a report before the release
5. Charge the youth
6. Release the young person with conditions.
7. Refer to diversionary program
8. Hold in detention max 24 hrs.
Police surveillance of youth is disproportionately higher compared to
surveillance of adults. However more youth are being given warnings.
Why are some youth charged and some not?
-comes down to legal and extra legal factors (factors outside legal aspect)
associated with police discretion. Legal factors refer to the legal
requirements or things generally considered relevant to CJS, extra legal
factors are things that are not relevant to justice decision making. (ie.
Colour of skin, is an extralegal factor).
Police charging is not only about the seriousness of the offence, but also
about other factors. Prior police contact increases chances of police
charging youth. If there is any negative prior contact with the police, this
would increase your chances of arrest in the future as opposed to
receiving a warning. Certain “types” of youth are often arrested as per a
tendency of police. A major decision from the POV of the youth is whether police release them
with a promise to appear and where a violation of that would result in
additional criminal charges of failure to comply.
-race it is difficult for police to separate these factors, minority youth are
more likely to be arrested.
Blacks have a higher arrest rate because there are rarely any complaints
to ask for leniency.
The victims request is also an important factor in police charging. More
than half of the police in a survey said victim preference was an important
factor in their decision to lay a charge.
Many say that racial bias in justice system is t