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Chapter 1

Sociology 2267A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Juvenile Delinquency, Moral Panic, Murder Of Reena Virk


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 2267A/B
Professor
Lisa Lyons
Chapter
1

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Sunday, January 3, 2016
Unit 1 2267- rise and fall of delinquency
Online notes
the public issue
-Youth crime has generated considerable public concern and discussion.
-News accounts help to fuel these concerns.
-High-profile cases: Reena Virk (1997) and Stefanie Rengel (2008) further fuel public
concern.
-Violence is discussed in media accounts as indicative of all youth crime.
MEDIA AND THE POLITICS OF YOUTH CRIME
• Extensive and disproportionate coverage is given to stories on youth crime.
• Youth crime is “political.”
• Facts about youth crime are socially constructed.
• Media accounts drive public opinion about youth crime.
The public also is critical of legal attempts to solve the problem, such as the YOA.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
• Calls for reform in the 1990s
• Canada passes the YCJA in 2003.
• Immediate criticism after it comes into effect.
• Disproportionate media reports continue.
“New types” of youth crime are reported.
TWO OPPOSING SIDES
Youth advocate: focus is on the problems faced by young people (also called the
“Child Welfare” approach)
!1
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Sunday, January 3, 2016
Law-and-order group: focus is on how youth criminals are portrayed as an “enemy”
of society (also called the “get-tough” approach)
LESSONS FROM THE NUNN COMMISSION
• Shows how youth and the crimes they commit are problematized in the media
Often one extreme case is used as an example of how all youth behaviour is
spiralling out of control.
HISTORY OF YOUTH CRIME
• Shows that youth in the past were also described in negative terms
• Historian shows root “causes” to be parents of youth (overindulgent parents)
The fur trade: problem if inheritance led youth to the trade, which was a profession
wrought with illegal practices
• Immigration: promises of New World often did not materialize, leaving youth alone
and impoverished
RISE OF LEGAL GOVERNANCE OF DEVIANT YOUTH IN CANADA
• Various solutions proposed: more schools, more clergy, and geographic segregation
• Leads to the creation of early justice systems for youth criminals
19TH-CENTURY EXPLANATIONS: THE SOURCES OF YOUTH CRIME
• Orphans
Immigrants
Poverty
• Gender
THE VICTORIAN PUBLIC ISSUE
• By the mid-1800s, the poor were targeted for allegations of immorality.
• New urban problems: illiteracy, sex trade, addictions, poverty, juvenile delinquency
!2
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Sunday, January 3, 2016
• Specialist professions and agencies emerge to combat these problems.
WHO WERE THE TARGETS?
• Street kids (vagrancy)
Poor children and youth (rowdy youth)
Young women (sexual immorality)
“CAUSES” AND SOLUTIONS
• 1850-1908: social reform movement
• Rehabilitative view: Youth can be reformed.
• Child savers: Scott and Kelso
• Juvenile delinquency becomes a new label.
• Bad parenting by working-class parents is one source of the problem.
THE ERA OF THE JUVENILE DELINQUENT
• Definitions of youth deviance are tied to rapid population increases in Canadian cities.
• Statistics appear to show that youth crime increased throughout the 20th century.
• Does an increase in youth crime statistics equate to an increase in youth crimes?
• What factors were used to explain the trend?
THOMAS BERNARD:THE THREE MYTHS OF JUVENILE JUSTICE
• Myth that nothing changes: Youth crime in the past was about the same as it is
today.
Myth of the good old days: delinquency in the past was much less serious than it is
today.
• Myth of progress: Delinquency in the past was much more serious than it is today.
!3
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