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SOC 3710 (45)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1 and week 1.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 3710
Professor
Bill O' Grady

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Young Offenders SOC 3710 Week 1 Readings  Juvenile Delinquents Act – 1908  Young Offenders Act – 1984  Youth Criminal Justice Act – 2003-present Chapter 1: From ‘Misguided Children’ to ‘Criminal Youth’: Exploring Historical and Contemporary Trends in Canadian Youth Justice Introduction:  Change in language – more formal  Dealing with troubled youth – 2 perspectives: reform and rehabilitation vs. punishment  Punitive Turn Thesis: the agreement that, in recent decades, the criminal justice system of many western countries have become more punishment orientated, with longer prison sentences and higher rates of incarceration The Development of Modern Juvenile Justice Systems:  Over time, adult sensibilities about the meaning of childhood and the changing social and economic status of children in western society have changed and are connected to the development of early juvenile justice systems in the late 19 and early 20 centuries  Philipe Aries’ book ‘Centuries of childhood: A Social History of Family Life’ (1962), a th history of the treatment of children in western Europe from the middle ages to the 19 century – the concept of childhood has changed over the years. High infant mortality rate in the middle-ages – no emotional attachment to children. ‘Discovery of Childhood’ in the 17 century – before this, children were treated as small adults. Since, childhood became recognized as a special stage in the life cycle. From this developed a special court for juveniles.  Youth legislation is based on historical , social, and international standards th  18 century: ‘Juvenile Delinquency’ = legal term to describe violations of the law by persons below the community’s legal age of adulthood. (This age was often ambiguous and changed from region to region).  Before this, young criminals were tried as adults, however most courts showed mercy to the very young (under 7 = not convicted of criminal offenses, and age 7-14 = ‘doli incapax’ (incapable of doing harm) – this however, could be contested by the crown.  3 common features that came to characterize the operation of all newly invented juvenile courts and the laws that provided for their establishment: 1. 3 distinct age-graded levels of criminal accountability: none, limited, and full accountability. Thus, young offender courts = diminished criminal responsibility. 2. Parens Patriae – the state may take custody of youth who; do not have guardians (orphans) or who’s guardians cannot control them 3. The common belief that juvenile delinquents should be viewed as ‘misguided children’ and should be treated with ‘friendly helpfullness’. The Invention of the Juvenile Court in the US:  1899 – Illinois  based on the child-welfare model – ‘saving children’ (…but at the same time ‘saved’ the middle class from the crime of the delinquent children).  This idea ‘cross-fertilized’ into Canada  progressive era in American history – reforms made to
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