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Chapter 1 & 5

Sociology 2267A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 1 & 5: Youth Criminal Justice Act, Young Offenders Act, Juvenile Delinquency

Course Code
SOC 2267A/B
Tara L Fidler- Bruno
1 & 5

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Chapter 1: From “Misguided Children” to “Criminal Youth”: Exploring Historical and
Contemporary Trends in Canadian Youth Justice
Key objectives:
Explain how “deviant” and “dependent” children were typically dealt with in Western countries
prior to the invention of juvenile courts:
THEN: They were dealt with the same way adults were
NOW: The government has enacted and implemented legislation to treat and punish at risk youth
and young offenders they have created 3 legislative regimes:
1) Juvenile Delinquents Act JDA (1903): individuals provinces were allowed to set their
own max age of jurisdiction
2) Young Offenders Act YOA(1984): this replaced the JDA
3) Youth Criminal Justice Act YCJA(2002): this replaced the YOA
Understand the factors that led to the creation of early delinquency legislation and juvenile courts
in the 19th and 20th centuries.
- Viewing children as being in need of guidance and in need of help
- Because children were not of full legal capacity, the State had the inherent power and
responsibility to provide protection for children whose natural parents were not providing
appropriate care or supervision. A key element was the focus on the welfare of the child.
Thus, the delinquent child was also seen as in need of the court's benevolent intervention.
Identify factors linked to changes in early juvenile delinquency and to more recent youth
criminal justice legislation in Canada
- Canada was influenced by ideas and practices that already existed in other countries
- Ex: the JDA was first created in the USA and Canada then did the same
- Ex: House of Refuge in the USA: a movement that removed children from adult prisons
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Random notes from the reading:
- Through history, there has been a shift in language youth were considered misguided
children/juvenile delinquents that must be dealt with in juvenile courts and now we see them
as criminal youth who should be dealt with youth criminal justice systems.
- In the 19th and 20th century, there was the discourse of the reformable youth offender, it
proposed that trouble youth need intervention and must be rehabilitated
- Since the 1990s, they were viewed as the punishable young offender and that they deserve
punishment and need intervention and rehabilitation later
- Back then, historians state that children weren't viewed differently from adults
- Canada’s current approach to how they deal with youth in conflict with the law has evolved
over the years
- the shift of “the discovery of childhood” adults changed their view of seeing young
people as little adults and to now viewing and treating them as innocent and vulnerable
children that need to be protected and nurtured
- In the late 19th century, the period of “growing up”— the transitional years from childhood to
adulthood came to be known as adolescence.
- The social scientific knowledge of adolescence had a huge influence on how the cases of
juvenile delinquency should be controlled they found that there needed to be a separate
juvenile court for dealing with troubled youth because they were seen as dependent beings,
that were neglected, misguided and needed help
- Juvenile Delinquents Act (JDA) was established to improve the handling of juvenile crime, its
purpose was to rehabilitate and reformnot to punish. Young people who broke the law were
"delinquents," not criminals. They were viewed as victims of poverty, abuse, and neglect
There were many factors that created the enactment of the JDA such as :
- Earlier precursors to the juvenile court
- The changing social and economic climate of the last of the 19th century
- The gradual rise of the social welfare state
- The international cross fertilization of ideas about juvenile justice reform
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find more resources at oneclass.com
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