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The Young Offenders Act Essay

1714 words - 7 pages

The Young Offenders Act

The federal government of Canada fifteen years ago, in 1984, the Liberal party changed the Juvenile Delinquents Acts to the Youth Offenders Act to have a “More human approach to the rights of young people before the law”(Leschild and Jaffe, 8:1991). In the present such as Premier, Mike Harris, of Ontario wants the federal government of Canada to scrap the Young Offenders Act. In 1999, the same party that came up with the act is making majors changes to the act. This report will look at the young offenders act at the present time, look at why kids commit crime, what is being done to improve the act, what has the province done towards teenagers and also a look at the United Sates youth system.
The YOA the Young Offenders Act, which replaced the 75 years old Juvenile Delinquents Act in 1984, came into effect because since the courts where acting in the best interest of the children, little attention was paid to the rights of the children (Dickinson et al, 1996: 403). This had to be changed because of the new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom which was passed in 1982 stated that in section 15 that “equality before the law without discrimination based on age ”(Dickinson and others, 1996:744). The changes that were made to the YOA were that age that a child under the age of 11 could not be held criminal responsible. While between the age of 12-17 he or she could be held partial criminal responsible. Once you reached the age of 18, an adult you were full criminally responsible (Dickinson, 404:1996). If a young offender is sent to court the detail of the crime may be published, but the young person’s name or a young witness’ name could not be identified. The reason for this was for young people to have another chance in life if they screw up and also to protect a young person’s identity especially a witness (Justice Canada, 19:1988).

Why do kids commit crime, they are many answers but are there any correct answers to that question. Andree Ruffo is a youth court judge in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. She believes that kids commit crime and have to appear in court because of expressing themselves or trying to tell someone that their something wrong with their life, or their needs are not being met. She also feels that parents have a lot of problems on their own as she stated that “Many parents haven’t found themselves. So when it comes to giving to children, they have no time, their exhausted”(Ruffo, 1:1994). While Marcia Kaye thinks that adolescents that turn to crimes or the street have faced sexual abuse and/or physical abuse. Kaye goes on to say that “Even through parents have been loving attentive, children will choose a life of prostitution, drugs, and violence” (Kayne, 50,late 80,s). Toronto defence counsel Bill Trudell said it best when he said “We don’t we just recognise in this country we have kids who don’t ask to be brought into this world, who have all kinds...

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