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SOC 3710 (45)
Chapter 1

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 3710
Professor
Scott Brandon
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter One- The Rise and Fall of Delinquency *key terms are bolded. Introduction  Chapter examines youth crime issues from a historical perspective (historical documents, sociohistorical analyses, public concerns about youth crime compared with contemporary public issues).  Public issues: matters of public concern that are debated in a variety of forums and usually involve demands for actions.  Youth crime has always been a part of Canadian society, but not always a public issue. The Public Issue  Last 2 decades, youth crime has been the subject of considerable public concern and discourse.  Discourse: how things are talked about and understood both orally and in written form, including formal and professional talk.  Focus of the media even in the 90s, by the ends of the 1990s, newspaper and magazine headlines were fueling public concerns about violent events.  Includes headlines about violent events involving girls—“out of control teenage girls,” reinforced by the death of Reena Virk (second degree murder charge for a 16 y.o boy, and a 15 y.o girl, as well as 6 teenage girls charged with aggravated assault)  School violence also a focus.  “crime is news”.  Politics of youth crime: the ways in which youth crime is understood and talked about, both formally and informally, and the actions, laws and policies that derive from this discourse.  Those who study the politics of youth crime are interested in the amount of coverage devoted to youth crime.  Most recent police stats  the rate of violent youth crime had remained relatively stable since 1992, and decreased 2% in 2004.  Prompted people to question the effectiveness of our youth justice system.  The YOA was a slap on the wrist.  Major election issue in 1993.  Legislators revised the YOA 3 times before proposing legislation to replace it.  In 1995, justice minister Allan Rock requested the H of C Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs undertake a comprehensive review of the juvenile justice system and that a Federal-Provincial-Territorial Task Force review the YOA and its application.  Juvenile Justice System: a system of laws, policies, and practices designed under the guiding philosophy that children and youth, because of their age and maturity, should not be subject to criminal law in the same manner as adults.  Recommendations contained in these reports provided a foundation for further modifications, and the first drafts of a new legislation.  By fall of 2001, the YCJA, Bill C-3, was poised to replace to YOA, it came into effect in April 2003.  *Table on page 5*  new legislation did not stop the media’s attention on youth and their criminal activities.  Party positions on youth justice did not change in 2006, still said they are out of control. Two Opposing Sides  Public forums held In various communities across the country to discuss youth crime and propose solutions/make recommendations to the H of C b/c of an aspect of the Liberal Government’s Strategy for Reform.  Youth advocates in forums included: social workers, lawyers, and others who worked directly with youth offenders and saw youth as victims in need of protection, they believed that the issues were the difficulties that youth encounter in a complex society.  Economic, social, and politics realities are a source of hardship for some young people and their families.  Often teens forced to leave home as a matter of survival [“voice box” 1.1 on page 7].  People in the “law and order” group of these meetings included police officers, store security personnel, small business owners and homeowners associations.  These people believe that both the youth and the YOA were problems.  Youth are problems because 1) lack respect for anyone or anything, with no fear of using foul language. 2) lack a sense of responsibility for their criminal behaviour 3) increasingly involved in violent criminal behaviour.  The YOA was viewed as a problem because: 1) youth could not be identified 2) youth were not punished for their crimes 3) youth had more rights than their victims 4) youth were too protected by the YOA.  10 years later, meeting again because of the case of Theresa McEvoy, who was killed as a result of her car being broad-sided by a 16 y.o. Issue: the youth had been released 2 days earlier, pending sentence, after pleading guilty to an earlier theft and car chase incident (details of the case on page 9).  Question? Why was the youth released when there was sufficient evidence that he was at risk of reoffending and also an outstanding warrant for his arrest.  Larger Questions to be addressed concern the YCJA itself and the administration of law in Nova Scotia—1) the systemic and individual failures leading to the release of the youth two days prior to Theresa McEvoy’s death, 2) the extent to which YCJA provisions contributed to the release of the youth and 3) the role of service providers in responding to at-risk youth both before and after a youth’s criminal activity.  Problematize: a process whereby something, someone, or some groups defined as a problem.  most basic underlying assumption about youth crime by the law and order perspective is the notion that today’s youth are worse than they were in the “good old days”.  Canadian stats as far back as 1885 indicate that young people have always been involved in criminal activity, some of it serious violent crime.  In addition, youth crime stats are not held in the same manner that they are today. th th Lawless and Disobedient Youth: The 17 and 18 Centuries  Information is sketchy.  Information indicates that concerns were expressed about youth as a problem in the North American colonies as early as the late 17 century.  Reports described boys are lawless and disobedient, and girls as vain and lazy.  Majority of documented cases included crimes of: vandalism, pe
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