Textbook Notes (363,062)
Canada (158,169)
Sociology (1,110)
SOC 3710 (45)


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University of Guelph
SOC 3710
Bill O' Grady

Chapter OneIntroduction In the past century Canada has seen the intro of 3 different legislative regimes for administering juvenile justice the Juvenile Delinquents Act of 1908 the young Offenders Act of 1984 and the Youth Criminal Justice Act of 2002In the course of legislative history Canada has followed a pattern of change similar to other Western countriesRecent decades have witnessed a predominantly childwelfare model of juvenile justice eroded and replaced with more legalistic and more punitive justice and crimecontrol models of juvenile justice procedure There has been a shift in language that has occurred from considering such young ppl as misguided children or juvenile delinquents who have committed acts of juvenile thdelinquencyThe legal term which came into popular use in the 19 century to describe violations of the law by persons who had not reached the legal age of adulthood that are best thdealt with in juvenile courtsSpecialized courts first created in the late 19 century to apply juvenile justice laws in the care of dependent and delinquent children to viewing them as criminal youth whose criminal acts are best dealt with through youth criminal justice systemsA substitute for juvenile courtsCritical criminologists argue that it signifies a shift toward treating young offenders more like adult offenders Western countries see two competing discourses of how society should deal with troubled youth the first discourse is of the reformable young offenderCoined by Bryan Hogeveen to describe the discursive construction of some young offenders as troubled and therefore needing intervention in the hope they can be rehabilitated this discourse proposes that troubled youth required intervention and could be rehabilitatedThe second discourse is that of the punishable young offenderHogeveen to describe the discursive construction of some young offenders as troublesome and therefore requiring punishment in order to make them accountable for their criminal acts which proposes that troubling youth require punishment first and foremost leaving reform interventions as secondary measuresMany criminologists argue that recent decades have witnessed a punitive turn thesis in CanadaArgument that in recent decades the cjs of Western countries have become more punishment oriented with longer prison sentences and higher rates of incarcerationHowever others disagree and contend that there is little evidence to support the claim that Canadas more recent approach to dealing with young ppl in conflict with the law The nature and direction of historical and contemporary trends in Canadian youth justice cannot be adequately understood without taking into account the connected experience of other countriesThere are many commonalities that link the historical development and current state of juvenile systems across Western countries there are also important historical cultural and political differences that make Canadas current approach to youth justice uniquewwwuofgexamnetworkcomThe Development of Modern Juvenile Justice Systems To understand how young ppl are viewed the way they are by the cjs we must explore the meaning of childhood and how this meaning has changed over timeStudies have covered a broad array of topics including the changing nature of parental attitudes the evolution of adult childrearing practices changes in the use of child labour and changing sensibilities about child abuse and delinquencyCriminologists have drawn on the work of historians of childhood and the changing social and economic status of children in Western society were connected to the development of early childwelfaremodel juvenile justice systems ththin the late 1920 centuriesIn Philippe Ares book Centuries of Childhood A Social History of Family Life undertook a detailed historical study of the treatment of children in Western Europe thfrom the Middle Ages to the 19 century Aries argued that the modern concept of childhood was discovered in Western Europe in the th17 centuryPrior to this time few distinctions were made between individuals on the basis of age and young ppl were fully integrated into the mainstream of social lifeThis shows that the concept of childhood as it is known today did not exist in Western Europe in the Middle AgesthAries also argued that the very high infant mortality rate that existed in the 17 century discouraged parents from wanting to invest emotionally in their childrenThis attitude of indifference toward children protected parents from the otherwise tragic loss they would feel Aries argued that despite the high mortality rate and lack of emotional investment children thliving prior to the 17 century were likely happier than they were in later periodsBecause preth17 century Western European society was not preoccupied with raising the young and severely restricting their livesAries claimed that much of the status ambiguity and intergenerational conflict that now exists because of the way children are treated in modern Western society did Rather than repressing judging or not exist before the discovery of Western childhoodattempting to protect children with a special set of moral rules adults shared all aspects of existence with them Lamar Empey relies on Ariess research to provide support for the argument that it was not until Europe began to awaken from the intellectual hibernation and social stagnation of the Middle Ages that a handful of moral philosophers began to question the customary treatment of children whereby children were once exploited but 23 centuries later this ideology was replaced with a concern for their moral welfareThis grew the modern concept of childhood stressing the idea that children have value in their own right and that because of their sweetness and simplicity they require a careful preparation for the sinfulness of an adult world it was only after childhood wwwuofgexamnetworkcom became a special status in the life cycle that the concept of a court for juveniles began to develop However there remain to be several concerns about the validity of Ariess thesis on a number of groundsThe most damaging of these concerns is the manner in which Aries allowed his personal religious and ideological beliefs about the role of parents in child rearing and the need In addition historians to maintain traditional conservative values to bias his historical analysislike Beatrice Gottlieb show that it is misleading to talk about how the discovery of childhood as having occurred at a specific point in time since they both historically and recently adults have displayed ambiguity in their thinking about the definition and treatment of children and youthIn her study the Family in the Western World from the Black Death to the Industrial Age Beatrice Gottlieb provides examples that illustrate how ambiguous the category of youth was in ththWestern countries prior to the 19 centuryPrior to the 19 century young ppl were subject to full parental authority as long as they were under the parental roof and the fathers legal authority usually continued after they left homeIt was impossible for single ppl to be considered adults unless they were married or entered the celibate clergyThe adulthood for women was an even more ambiguous matter the only grown women who could function as full legal adults were widows under certain circumstancesSince most ppl did not marry until their mid20s a chunk of the population drifted into nomans land between childhood and adulthood youth thWhile changing adult sensibilities about childhood in 17 century Europe may have had some influence on thinking about the need for a different way of dealing with juvenile delinquency there were many other local national and more broadly international influences that need to be taken into accountIt is important to note common facts about how the juvenile delinquents were dealt with in the legal systems of Western countries before the creation of specialized delinquency legislation and juvenile courts Precursors to the Creation of Delinquency Legislation and Juvenile Courts thThe term juvenile delinquency was first used in the 18 century primarily as a legal term to describeviolations of the law by persons below the communitys legal age of adulthoodBy ththe 19 century the term was in widespread use and new juvenile justice systems had begun to be put into place in order to deal with the special needs of perceived delinquent childrenOne thing to note is that it is not true that prior to the development of juvenile courts young offenders were dealt with in the same fashion as adult offendersHistorians have looked at Englishbased thcrim courts in common law jurisdictions prior to the 19 century have shown that the severity of crim law was often mitigated by sympathetic juries and judges who showed mercy to those accused of serious crimesAlso young ppl who were accused of crimes that made them liable to the same punishments as adults were usually shown an even greater degree of mercy than adultswwwuofgexamnetworkcom
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