The Youth Criminal Justice Act - PowerPoint

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					The Youth Criminal
    Justice Act
Students will be expected to investigate and assess how
criminal law affects young people.

•   identify the important differences between the Youth Criminal
    Justice Act and its two predecessors, the Young Offenders Act and
    the Juvenile Delinquents Act

•   analyze the Youth Criminal Justice Act and the impact it has on
    young people and the country as a whole

•   assess the sentencing provisions of these acts in relation to the
    different sentencing objectives stated in the Criminal Code of

•   investigate other areas of criminal law that affect young people who
    are not covered by the Youth Criminal Justice Act
    1908 Juvenile Delinquents Act (JDA)
    (Claimed to be one of the first “Child-Centered pieces of legislation.”)

•    Established a separate justice system for youth (separate courts).

•    Granting youth court judges a “parens patriae” or pseudo-parental role.

•    Sentencing should focus on rehabilitation, not on dispensing punishment
     based on the seriousness of the offence.

•    Minimum age to charge a child with a criminal offence = 7

• Children under 12 could only be
committed to an institution if no other
option was available.

•    Established a Juvenile Court
•    Committee.

•    Increased sentencing options for judges.

•    Encouraged parental involvement in the process.    A mother with her three children at a meeting of a
                                                        Juvenile Delinquency Board.
• The Youth Criminal         • was passed by the government
  Justice Act replaced the     on February 2002 and was
                               implemented April 1, 2003 and
  Young Offenders Act of       promotes “accountability and
  1984. The                    meaningful consequences
• Made distinctions            proportionate to the
  between violent and non-     seriousness of the offence for
                               youth, aged 12 - 17 suspected,
  violent offences,            charged with, accused or
• encourages out-of court      convicted of a criminal
  measures and gives           offence.”
  direction for their
  appropriate use.
  The YCJA treats youth differently from
adults because of their level of dependency,
         maturity and development.
3 principles of the YCJA that promote long term protection of the public.
1. Prevent crime by addressing the circumstances
   underlying a young person’s behaviour
2. Rehabilitate and reintegrate young people who
   commit offences into society
3. Ensure that a young person is subject to
   meaningful consequences for his or her offence
           YCJA Crime Quiz
• Test your understanding:
  – With a partner discuss the questions and
    answer them based on what you already
1. No, it is decreasing.
  From 1991 to 2006
  youth crime
  decreased 49% in
  BC. Youth crime is
  going down across
  Canada, in both
  rural and urban
2. 25% and 80% of those were assaults,
    for example, hitting someone.
3.   The law says children under 12 years old can’t be
     charged and taken to criminal court. He or she can
     be treated through the mental health system or
     receive protection from a child protection agency.
     If the police catch a child younger than 12 doing
     something wrong, they will take the child home
     and tell the parents, refer the child to the Ministry
     of Children and Families or ensure the child gets
     treatment from a mental health facility. The parents
     may get other help at the school or in the
4. Young people are adults at 18. There is
    a special law for youth age 12 to 17. It
    is called the Youth Criminal Justice
    Act (YCJA).
5. More are 16-to 17-years old.
   In 2009-2010:
    •    32% were 17
    •    26% were 16
    •    20% were 15
    •    12%were 14
    •    6% were 13
    •    2% were 12.
6. No. Young people are sent to a special
  youth jail for serious crimes when it is
  necessary to protect the public. Some
  youth are sent to live in special places,
  for example a group home run by the
  government. Others may get help from
  local community groups.
7.   The sentence should depend on the seriousness of the crime.
      It should prevent future crimes as well as repairing the harm
      the young person did. It may include probation with
      conditions, repayment, community service, or attendance in
      programs. For example, a young person may have to
      apologize to the victim and pay (with money or work) for
      damage she did. Sometimes a young person has to pay a fine
      or do some volunteer work in the community. She may be on
      probation and have to follow some special rules like living in
      a specified place, going to school, staying at home in the
      evening or staying away from certain places or certain
      people. She may have to attend a special program, for
      example, a program to teach anger control.
8. Most young people can grow up and
   change while staying at home with
   their families. Programs in the
   community are usually the most
   successful way to help them. Young
   people are different from adults—they
   have different problems and different
9. Yes, but only for serious crimes like
    murder, and only if the young person
    is over 14.A judge must agree an adult
    sentence is necessary.
10. Common examples are assaults,
   breaking and entering, possession of
   or selling drugs, stealing cars, and
11.   a) If the police stop or arrest a young person they have to tell
      him or her why.
      b) The young person can talk to a lawyer and parent (or
      adult) before talking to police.
      c) The young person is considered innocent until s/he goes
      to court and a judge decides the person is guilty.
      d) The Crown counsel has to prove in court that the young
      person is guilty.A victim impact statement is used at the time
      of sentencing, and is given to the judge to review. In this way
      the victim has a very real voice in describing how the crime
      has impacted their life. Also, the victim has a right to know
      what charges have been approved, when and where the next
      court appearance is, what the conditions of release are and
      what is the final disposition of the case. In addition, under
      the YCJA, the victim will have access to the name of the
      young offender in certain cases. And finally, the victim can
      play a role in determining the consequences for the crime,
      such an apology, restitution, or compensation.
Under the old Young Offenders Act (the Act that was in place before \
the new Act):

•   For 8 of the 9 most common crimes in youth court, youth got longer periods
    of custody than adults who got custody for the same crime.

•   Youth generally spent more time in custody than adults with similar
    sentences due to the terms for an adult conditional release.

•   Eighty percent of custodial sentences for youth were for non-violent

•   Almost half of youth sentenced to custody were given custody because they
    failed to comply with a disposition order, or settlement. They were brought
    back to court on a breach. A breach is when a youth fails to obey what has
    been ordered in court. For instance, the youth may have a curfew or an
    order not to drink, but is caught past his or her curfew or caught drinking.
     Sentencing Principles NOW:
Sentences should:
• Not be more severe than what an adult would get for the same crime
• Be similar to youth sentences given in similar youth cases
• Be in line with the seriousness of the crime and the degree of your responsibility for
   the crime
• Consider:
     –   The degree of participation
     –   The harm done to the victim
     –   Whether the harm was intentional or reasonably foreseeable
     –   Previous findings of guilt
     –   Any other aggravating or lessening circumstances
•   Be within the limits of proportionality. This means that the sentence needs to be "in
    line" with the seriousness of the offence and the degree of responsibility youth had in
    doing the offence
•   Be the least restrictive alternative
•   Be the sentencing option that is most likely to rehabilitate and reintegrate youth
•   Give youth a sense of responsibility and an acknowledgement of the harm done by
    the crime
      Types of Youth Sentences
• Judicial reprimand: Youth get a stern lecture from the judge in a
  minor case where being apprehended, taken to court, and
  reprimanded is enough to hold the young offender accountable for
  his or her crime.

• Absolute discharge: Even though you are guilty, there is no finding
  of guilt registered against you. The discharge is removed from your
  record after one year.

• Conditional discharge: Youth will have to follow certain conditions. If
  youth do so, their discharge becomes absolute. If they do not follow
  the conditions, they can be brought back to court for a tougher
  sentence. This is removed from their youth record after three years.

• Fine: This can be ordered for up to $1000. The judge thinks about
  how much money the young offender has and the time s/he might
  need to pay when ordering this sentence.
• Restitution: If a young offender took something from someone and
  s/he still has it, s/he can be ordered to return it.

• Compensation: Youth may be ordered to pay the victim of their
  crime for his or her loss, such as:
    –   The cost of repairs
    –   The cost of replacing the goods
    –   Medical bills
    –   Lost wages if the victim is unable to work
    –   Youth could also be ordered to pay a third party.

• Community service: The judge thinks about the young offender’s
  time and abilities. The judge can order work in the community. Youth
  are not paid for this work. The order tells how many hours the young
  offender must do and how long s/he has to complete them. Youth
  can get up to 240 hours of community service with 1 year to
  complete them.

• Probation: The judge orders youth to follow certain conditions and to
  report to a probation officer regularly. The officer's job is to watch the
  young offender’s behaviour so that s/he can get help if s/he needs it.
  If the rules in the probation order are not followed, the young
  offender may go back to court for a tougher sentence. The longest
  time for probation is two years.
• Attendance at a program: The judge can order youth to go to a
  program at a certain time and on conditions set by the judge. This
  kind of non-residential program must be approved by the provincial
  director and can be suited to address the case. For example, it could
  focus on days and times when the young offender is unsupervised
  and tends to break the law.

• Intensive Support and Supervision Program: Youth may be watched
  closely and get more support than under a probation order. This
  helps youth to change their behaviour.

• Intermittent custody: If youth are sentenced to custody for less than
  90 days, they may be able to serve it intermittently (not all in a row).
  For example, youth may serve their sentence on weekends so that
  they can go to school during the week.

• Deferred custody and supervision order: This allows youth to serve
  their sentence in the community under conditions, instead of being
  placed in a youth correctional facility. If the young offender breaks
  the conditions, s/he will be kept in custody. This sentence is not
  available if s/he has been found guilty of a serious violent crime.
•   Custody and supervision: Youth time in custody must be followed by a
    period of supervision and support in the community. About one-third of the
    youth sentence will be served under supervision in the community. The
    custody part of the sentence will be served under the care and control of
    Youth Corrections. "Closed custody" means youth are being held in jail.
    "Open custody" means youth are in jail with fewer restrictions and

•   Concurrent sentences: This means that if youth have more than one finding
    of guilt, the judge can order that each sentence is completed at the same

•   Consecutive sentences: This means that if youth have more than one
    finding of guilt, the judge can order that each sentence is served one after
    the other. A consecutive sentence means that youth are in custody longer
    or on probation longer than with a concurrent sentence.

•   Intensive rehabilitation custody and supervision: This is a special sentence
    for a serious violent offender. The judge can make this sentence if:
     – Youth are found guilty of one of the presumptive crimes such as murder
     – Youth are suffering from a mental or psychological disorder or an
       emotional disturbance
     – An individualized treatment plan is developed for the young offender and
       there is a good program to which s/he is suitable for admission
  When Are Adult Sentences Used
           for Youth?
• murder, attempted murder,
  manslaughter or sexual
  aggravated assault are
  presumed to receive an adult
  sentence unless the youth can
  persuade the court that a youth
  sentence will hold the youth
• The Crown may seek an adult
  sentence if the youth is 14 and
  if the offence is the youth's
  third serious violent offence or
  one which an adult could
  receive more than 2 years.
            YCJA Conferences
• A YCJA conference is when a group of people get
  together to talk about the young offender’s case and
  what can be done to help the young offender. The
  people there are responsible for the youth and generally,
  they know the youth. The conference gives advice to the
  people who decide on what should happen to the youth.
  (Section 19 of the YCJA).
  Types of YCJA Conferences
Conferences are informal.
• They can be:
  – Family group conferences
  – Community members
  – Sentencing or healing circles
  – Multi-disciplinary (probation, judges and lawyers and
  – Integrated case management conferences
 What Happens in a Conference?
Conferences can provide:
  – A wide range of ideas on the case
  – More creative solutions
  – Better coordination of services between
    justice partners
  – More involvement of the victim(s) and other
    community members
  – Conferences can be restorative. Solutions
    may focus on fixing the harm done to the
    victim(s) of the crime.
   Does the YCJA Recognize the
       Rights of the Victim?
 YCJA clearly recognizes the interest and
 needs of victims to be involved at different
 stages of the youth justice process.
 Section 3 says that "Victims should be
 treated with courtesy, compassion and
 respect for their dignity and privacy." YCJA
 Sections 3(d) (ii) and (iii), 12, 42, 53, 111,
      What Does YCJA say About
       Victims of Youth Crime?
A victim should:
  – Be told about the proceedings
  – Have a chance to take part in the proceedings
  – Be heard
  – Have a chance to take part in community-based
  – Get information about what is being done for the
    offender that does not involve going to court
  – Be able to give a victim impact statement (a written
    report about how the crime affected the victim) at the
    time of sentencing
  – Be able to ask for access to the record of the youth
    who committed the crime
          Textbook: Pages
• pp. 306-314 (Questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6)

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