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Youth And The Law Essay

1683 words - 7 pages

Young offenders are persons under the age of 18, who are convicted for a criminal offence. The Juvenile Delinquents Act was made in 1908 and active until 1984. The Young Offenders Act was made in 1984 and active until 2002. The Youth Criminal Justice Act was made in 2002 as a replacement for the Young Offenders Act, which set out the process for responding to young offenders. These three famous young criminals were convicted of murder and tried as adults in court, resulting in them doing time at the Kingston Penitentiary. Antoine Beauche was given a three-year sentence at Kingston Penitentiary. He was eight years old. Inmate Elizabeth Breen was beaten six times when she was only 12 years old. Irish immigrant Grace Marks was 16 when she was convicted for the murders of her wealthy employer, Thomas Kinnear, and Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. The Canadian justice system is strict on its young offenders, this is seen through the Youth Offenders Act, sentencing, and rehabilitation.
The Young Offenders Act (YOA) represents a change concerning the treatment of youthful offenders and is based on the following principles: young people should bear responsibility for the illegal acts they commit, young offenders may require supervision, discipline, and control, they require guidance and assistance, other methods than the formal court process should be considered when dealing with young offenders, young people have rights and freedoms, and parents have the responsibility for the care and supervision of their child. The legislation revised the age limits regarding criminal responsibility, emphasized the need for protection of the society from juvenile crime, and the need for young offenders to be accountable for their actions. While under the Juvenile Delinquents Act a person can be held criminally responsible at the age of seven. The YOA and the Criminal Code provide that criminal responsibility begins at the age of 12. Youths between 12 and 17 are considered “young offenders”. Once a child reaches the age of 18 they are treated as an adult offender. Children under 12 cannot be prosecuted for any criminal action. The YOA recognizes society’s responsibility to prevent crimes by young persons. One way the YOA attempts to ensure society’s protection is through a provision permitting a young offender aged 14 years or older to be transferred to adult court. In the transfer to adult court the young offender is tried under the same rules as an adult, and faces the same penalties upon conviction. In the young offenders act every young offender is to be seen not as a criminal, but a misdirected and misguided child. With this in mind children over the age of 14, are not able to be tried as an adult because they are not seen as a criminal. Children are not able to understand the consequences of their actions, they cannot process what effects their actions have on society. They are not able to comprehend long term consequences.
When a young person...

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