January 4 th
MINAKER & HOGEVEEN – CHAPTER 1
- Young Offenders Act (YOA): old law governing youth crime.
- It was widely held that youth were “out of control” and that they could not be
held accountable under the YOA and that new justice legislation was
- It wasn’t that youth crime was increasing. It was that problems were being
constructed and being responded to.
- Three main arguments:
o The way social problem is defined has a profound impact for how
groups, individuals and social institutions react and respond to it.
o The main issue is not youth crime per se, but the relationship between
youth, crime and society.
Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA): current law governing youth
Youth defined as those from 12-17. Includes those in
mid-twenties who are serving youth sentences
Practices of governance: what is done in response to youth
Rationalities of governance: why it is done.
Social conditions: cultural, historical, political and social
o Our view of praxis.
Marxian praxis: knowledge shouldn’t simply exist for its own
sake but should be used for social transformation.
Our view of praxis is not simply tied to social change. Rather,
its one of social justice.
Social justice praxis (critical approach): aimed at addressing
the systemic conditions of marginalization, exclusion and
social inequality that lead the involvement of youth crime in
the first place. Its about making meaningful changes to
improve the life chances of young people.
- “Praxis of possibility”: encouraging a process of critical reflection and social
engagement of what could be.
- Youth are suffering – homeless, no food, no job, no positive role models, etc.
This must be attended to solve the problem. Rather than looking to “cops,
court and corrections”.
- There are many knowledge claims that pervade public consciousness.
o There are two main discourses; media and popular discourses.
- Media discourses: involves news and entertainment. The two are not easily
distinguished ex. Shows like Law and Order. Media often misrepresents real
youth crime existence. There are very low levels of lethal violence in school,
for example, but the media hypes it up. The public digests and interprets this
information. - Popular discourse: refers to all that is said about a topic by members of a
particular culture and society at any given historical moment. In NA, talk
about youth crime has increased since the 80s. Popular discourse can be
divided between gossip and urban legend. This involves circulation of stories,
which may or may not be true between family, friends, relatives, etc.
Sometimes moral panics occur when an issue is exaggerated.
- The general public thinks that there is much more youth crime than there
really is. They also underestimate the severity of penalties. Almost 80% of
Canadians think the system is too lenient. Therefore there is a gap between
our understanding of youth crime and our response to it. Gap between
rhetoric and reality.
- Youth crime rate measure only those instances that come to the attention of
- “Nasty girl” phenomenon wher