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Chapter 1

Sociology 2267A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Morality Play, Defense Of Infancy, Libertine

Course Code
SOC 2267A/B
Lisa Lyons

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Public issues: matters of public concern that are debated in a variety of forums and usually involve demands of
!!Examination of historical document and sociohistorical analyses
!!Public concerns about youth crime in 18th and 19th centuries
!!Framework and background
!!Youth crime has always been a part of Canadian society but not always a public issue
The public issue
!!Discourse: how things are talked about and understood, both orally and in written form, including formal talk,
such as theory, professional talk such as reports, books and media and conversations
!!Headlines warn of youth crime throughout the 1990s: painted criminal deeds of youth
!!1995 5 BC teens were charged with second degree murder of a fisherman
o!7 year old boy in SK murdered another 7 year old boy
o!15 year old in WP killed a 13 yr old FN in a drive by shooting
o!4 halifax teens aggravated assault trying to kill a total stranger
!!late 90s headlines concerning girls out control teenage girls
o!Rina Virk in BC 1997 15 yr old girl and 16 yr old boy convicted in adult court for second degree
o!Six girls also convicted of aggravated assault in youth court
!!1997 2 15 yr old girls – 1st degree murder for stabbing helen Montgomery living under open custody
arrangement in her home
!!21st century school violence beatings and killings in school by unconcerned youth
o!15 and 16 yr old girl who drowned their mom in the bathtub
o!12 yr old girl and 26 yr old bf murdered her family
o!17 yr old pleaded guilty to murdering mom with an axe
o!2010 16 yr old charged with attempting murder or stabbing his girlfriend
media politics of youth crime
!!politics of youth crime the ways in which youth crime is understood and talked about both formally and
informally. The laws actions and policies that derive from this discourse
!!emphasis on youth violence disproportionate to actual serious youth violence
!!adult crime surpasses youth crime in both quantity and severity
!!police stats - rate of violent youth crime has remained stable since 1992 decreasing in 2002, 2012 it had
decreased 14% from 2002 levels
!!globe and mail, Toronto star and Toronto sun 94% of youth crime articles were about violent crime.
Criminal activity was primary focus of stories about youth
!!MacNevin 2/3 of articles about youth were crime related, 52% were about violent crime but violent crime
only accounted for 18% of all youth crime
o!Found fewer articles online about youth crime, but emphasis was staggering 64% about violent crime
!!Canadians voicing opinions about today’s youth -> effectiveness of our justice system the YOA was merely
a slap on the wrist became a major election issue in 1993 federal campaign
!!Legislators revised YOA three times before proposing legislation to replace it
!!1995 justice minister allan rock HOC standing committee on justice and legal affairs undertake
comprehensive review of
o!juvenile justice system: a system of laws, policies and practices designed under guiding philosophy that
children and youth because of their age should not be subject to criminal law in the same manner as
!!federal, provincial, territorial task force review YOA
!!recommendations provided foundation for modifications to justice system and drafts for new legislation
!!1998 Justice Minister McLellan planned to introduce YCJA
!!did not curb flow of media or politicians rhetoric party positions on youth justice did not change in 2006
federal election youth violence out of control
o!youth carrying weapons
o!school bullying getting worse
o!girls were getting more criminal
o!parents were getting attacked and murdered by their children
o!toddlers being murdered by teens

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!!new swarming pack mentality
!!joyriding reframed as major threat to public safety property damage, serious injury, death - McEvoy
!!legislation came under attack media said YCJA was still a slap on the wrist Canadians want longer
sentences, federal gov’t was shortening them
!!conservative party in 2012 revised YCJA
two opposing sides
!!liberal gov’t 1995 YOA reforms -> strategy for reform of the entire youth justice system public and
special interest groups
!!public forums held across the country discussed solutions to give to HOC standing committee on justice and
legal affairs
!!heart did YOA effectively control youth crime?
!!Public divided into two cams
!!Youth advocates
o!Problems experienced by youth people
o!Youth crime had been exaggerated by most public accounts, media
o!Halifax forum DOJ stats crime in nova scotia had dropped in all categories since 1986 = recent
increases flattened out
o!Stats youth were being treated more harshly under YOA than under JDA
o!Exception of murder and manslaughter children treated just as harshly as adults
o!Favoured policies that addressed poverty and high youth unemployment
!!Law and order
o!Youth criminals enemy from whom adults needed protection
o!Youth as out of control
o!Old buffalo police officers, store security personnel, small business owners and homeowners
o!Both youth and the YOA were problems
o!Youth didn’t respect anyone, no fear of using foul language
!!Lack sense of responsibility for bad behaviour
!!Increasingly involved in this behaviour
o!YOA youth could not be identified
!!Were not punished
!!Had more rights than victims
!!Too protected
!!Statcan 8% increase in youth involvement in violent crime news media reports about young offender who
lacked feelings superpredator
!!10 years later gathered again to discuss how YCJA was not effective in controlling youth crime
!!death of Theresa McEvoy in 2004 drive by 16 yr old youth stolen car high speed chase
!!youth pleaded guilty two days prior to theft and car chase released from court custody arrest warrant
already existed for similar offends
!!why was the youth released when he was likely to reoffend and there was an outstanding warrant for his
!!McEvoy family interested in three things
o!Systemic and individual failures leading to release of youth two days prior to the death
o!Extent of YCJA provisions that contributed to the release of the youth
o!Role of service providers in responding to at risk youth before and after their criminal activity
!!January 2006 media and the nunn inquiry. First seven weeks, 26 articles in one newspaper, mostly front
page cov’g
!!Focus of attention remained the same in the past ten years youth justice system
!!Talking about YCJA rather than YOA, views presented still fell into same two approaches
!!In contrast to 10 yrs ago, law and order youth involvement in car theft and joyriding was problematized: a
process whereby something or someone or some group is defined as a problem
o!Youth serial car thief, car theft rampage
o!Halifax regional police and RCMP stats on car theft 1,800 stolen vehicle reports in 2004
o!Police cited joyriding as major cause and that youth account for 60-70%
!!Youth advocacy view perp in McEvoy case was a lost boy

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o!Law and order YCJA goes overboard with reducing custody, too much reliance on community
supervision, kids are getting to many chances etc.
o!Youth advocacy nothing wrong with the act, at risk kids need more social supports not enough
resources, problems lie in communities and schools
!!Law and order outweighed youth advocacy but report and recommendations took more balanced view
spiralling out control, lessons learned from a boy in trouble
!!Justice nunn met with youth whose behaviour lead to the inquiry checked progress before submitting
commissions report
o!Now receiving supports and opportunities and taking advantage of them
o!Took custodial sentence to reach him should not be the only way to reach small group of at risk youth
o!Should be able to halt the spiral through prevention, quick action and creative thinking
!!Is youth crime worse today than it was been in the past, how did Canadians understand respond to it earlier?
The good old days
!!Law and order perspective todays youth are worse than the youth in the good old days every generation of
!!Canadian crime stats don’t indicate this at all 1885 indicate that young people have always been involved in
criminal activity, some of serious violent crime
!!Young ppl consistently responsible for smaller amount of criminal activity than adults mostly petty
property crime
!!Carrigan pattern established in early pioneer days
!!1909-1910 in Halifax youth under 18 were responsible for 18% of all criminal charges
!!Nova Scotia DOJ 1993 youth accounted for same proportion
!!Canada youth 19% of all CCC charges and 16% of violent crimes in 1998
!!2012 youth accounted for 6% of all CCC violations and 9% of all violent crime
!!some youth crimes are really bad evidence that children are more criminal than before james burglar, but
most people have no way of knowing what crimes occurred decades ago. 10 yr old boy in 1802 shot someone
on a hunting trip.
!!Lawyer in burglar case no evidence oc an increase during this century of crimes and murder by yount
!!Historical data on youth crime and public responses are not readily available early European settlement,
recorded by colonial administrators, some stats for upper and lower Canada after confederation, slightly more
detailed info from general reports of city admin
!!Prison records source of info on youth crime, but age or prisoners not always recorded
!!No consistent records until 1835 with Kingston penitentiary, first Canadian prison
o!Primary data source: research information gathered directly from original source
o!Academic analysis can provide secondary data: research information or data that was collected for
another purpose
!!Canadian scholars more interested in the justice system than in actual behaviour of children and
youth in Canada’s history
!!Most Canadian scholars in this are rely more on historians than criminologists
!!Penitentiary: 19th century term for prisons based on philosophy penitence and punishment to atone for wrongs
Lawless and disobedient youth 17th and 18th centuries
!!Information is sketchy cant know actual incidence of lawbreaking
!!Concerns were expressed about youth as problem in north American colonies as early as late 1600s
!!Moogk analysis of new france, concerns by colonial admin
!!Reports of boys in new france lazy, lawless, disobedient.
o!Girls vain, lazy
!!1707 children of new France as hard and ferocious
!!Carrigan: earliest European records majority of cases were petty vandalism, petty that, swearing, breach of
o!Young people were involved in serious crimes, but ages were not recorded
o!10 year old indentured servant set fire to masters house in Nova Scotia in 1737
!!children in European society have always had different legal status than adults had no rights and at mercy of
parents and state
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