Discuss Law, The Youth Criminal Justice System Past And Present

3441 words - 14 pages

Youth System of Justice, Past and PresentYouth crime happens to be one of the highest controversial issues in the Canadian politics. The fact that youth crime is quite common in Canada is appalling, there are disagreements concerning how to treat youths in the situation of the criminal system. (Brennan and Dauvergne, 2010) Although we all know the best approach that can be used to address youth offenders deals with strictness and sternness of the punishment, it can help make sure that the young offender does not offend again.Throughout the Youth System of Justice there have been many different views and principles to guide judges in deciding on a fair and appropriate youth sentence. In 1908 the Juvenile Delinquents Act (JDA) which was a system of treating young people and adults differently. Children between the ages of seven and thirteen were, for the most part, not charged for criminal offenses. People believed at that age, they could not understand the significance of their own actions. If criminal intent could be proven, the child would be charged and tried in the same courts as the adults. Whomever was fourteen or older were tried in adult courts and were exposed to the same penalties as adults, which may have included; imprisonment, whipping or even hanging. (Unknown, Wikipedia, 2010) Children and teenagers were forced to serve their sentences with the adult offenders in prisons. The 1982 Parliament passed the Young Offenders Act (YOA) which became effective in 1984. The purpose of this Act was to approach the young offenders with the accountability of their own actions. (Unknown, Wikipedia, 2010) This act included; that parents have the right to be notified of all court proceedings affecting their child, children have the legal rights and freedoms, including the Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms, and society have a right to be protected from the offences committed by the youth, however, society's greatest interest is to address youth crime with social and community based solutions. Lastly the 2003 Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) was introduced, which happens to still be in place today. This Act began major changes in the youth justice law including;"the philosophical underpinnings of the youth justice system; the use of the court versus less formal responses to youth crime; conferencing; restrictions on pre-trail detention; sentencing principles; sentencing options; elimination of transfer of cases to the adult court; and custody and the reintegration of youth into society. Legislative changes in these areas were intended to address problems in the youth justice system under the previous legislation, the Young Offenders Act." ( Unknown, CBC Online, 2009)The Youth Criminal Justice Act provides needed legislative direction to assist in achieving a reasonable and more effective youth criminal justice system for young offenders by considering the use of extrajudicial measures."The purpose of the youth criminal justice system is to...

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