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Improvements Of Our Youth Criminal Justice System

1115 words - 4 pages

When thinking about youth crime do you envision a country with a high rate of young offenders, gang activity and re-offending? Or do you envision a country with a significant increase of young offenders either being successfully reintegrated into society, or helped by a community when seeking forgiveness for a minor offence that they have committed? Since the passing of Bill C-7 or the Youth Criminal Justice Act on February 4, 2002 by the House of Commons, many significant improvements have been made in Canada’s youth criminal justice system on how to handle and care for young offenders. Some of the reasons why Bill C-7 was passed in Canada was because the bill before it, Young Offenders Act, had many problems and suffered large amounts scrutiny by Canadian Citizens. It’s because of these reasons that Bill C-7 had been revised multiple times before being passed, having previously been called Bill C-68, March of 1999 and Bill C-3, in October 1999. With this all being said, many Canadian citizens are still left to ponder a question of if there is even significant improvement in our Youth Criminal justice system when comparing the Youth Criminal Justice Act to the Young Offenders Act? In my opinion, there are many significant improvements that have been made in the Youth Criminal Justice Act which have aided our justice system. By addressing the weaknesses of the Young Offenders Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act has helped Canada improve in the field of youth criminal justice by implementing better Extrajudicial Measures, ensuring effective reintegration of a young person once released from custody and providing much more clarification on sentencing options.

To begin, Extrajudicial Measures are methods used in order to deal with young people that have committed minor offences, without the implication of the courts, in order to save both court time and money for the more severe cases. These measures usually involve small group gatherings consisting of the offender, the victim and a third party at a community based level; the process of Extrajudicial Measures must usually remain incomplete until a reasonable solution is negotiated between the three parties. Although the Young Offenders Act allowed the use of alternative measures or diversions (Philip Rosen,2000) also known as Extrajudicial Measures as in the YCJA, little details were given as to their purpose or to what constitutes appropriate use of these measures. According to statistics by Cheryl Engler & Shannon Crowe (2000), “For every 10,000 youth in Canada, 135 participated in alternative measures” (highlights). These Statistics clearly show the lack of knowledge on these measures as they represent the amount of times the courts have implemented them. In order to clarify when and why these methods are supposed to be implemented, parliament further detailed the term alternative measures within the Youth Criminal Justice Acts renaming the term to Extrajudicial Measures. “Police-reported data...

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