The Youth Criminal Justice Act Essay

1157 words - 5 pages

In 1982, the Young Offenders Act [YOA] was established. It replaced the Juvenile Delinquents Act [JDA] of 1908 and its main objective was to guarantee the rights and freedoms of Canadian Youth were being met. Many revisions and opportunities arose with the passing of the YOA. With the passing of the YOA, it provided the young offenders of Canada with extended rights, chances for rehabilitation, and also therapy institutions. The YOA takes into concern such elements of age, maturity, reasonableness, and seriousness of the crimes committed (Barnhorst & Barnhorst, 2004). Barnhorst & Barnhorst (2004) explained that the act was useful to Canadian Youth for an abundant of time however, some weakness become clear since the act was passed. Under the YOA, too many young people were being charged and arrested. Also, despite other programs being available, they were being mostly used for more minor offences committed by the youth in society. With that being said, the YOA went back to legislation to fix some of its problems and in return a new act called the Youth Criminal Justice Act [YCJA] or also known as Bill C-7 was enacted and became effective in April 2003 (YCJA: Summary and Background, para.4). Due to society's concern with youth involvement in crime, the Canadian government has developed an improved version of past acts. By making these revisions, Canadian society will achieve valuable policies that will aid with today and the future's youth justice system through three objectives: those young offenders will face meaningful consequences for their actions, improving rehabilitation of young offenders, and placing much more emphasis on the prevention of youth crime.In past the YOA has not provided clear guidance to judges on sentencing and does not provide a specific purpose of sentencing. The principles of the YOA are inconsistent with each other and are not ranked in terms of priority. With the YCJA however, it addressed the three objectives mentioned above in legislation by stating the problems with the YOA which were the overuse of imprisonment, courts, and unfairness. Also, the clear distinction of offences and recognition of its victims did not play a fair role in the YOA (YCJA: Summary and Background, para.8). With these being stated as problems, the government firstly addressed that the youth should face meaningful consequences for their actions through proportionality. Proportionality is addressing that the youth should be held accountable through ensuring that they face meaningful consequences and fairness of the actions they have committed. This is done by having the consequences relative to the offence committed (Barnhorst,R. 2004). Another principle that was established was that young people who commit criminal offences would have to assume responsibility for their behavior which will ensure more victim involvement, publication of the offender's name, and meaningful consequences. The implementation of the YCJA will ensure that...

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