The Great Young Offenders Act Debate

The debate for March 1999 is:

Parliament has commenced study of Bill C-68 An Act in Respect of Criminal Justice for Young Persons.

What do you think of this new statute?

 

Read what other people have said


Comments Made by Participants


3/24/99

The new Bill is totally unnecessary, except for the name change. "Young Offender" is a pejorative term violating the presumption of innocence and should have no place in our legal system. The present Young Offenders Act is an excellent statute which appropriately balances the rights of the accused against the protection of the public. Judges have wide sentencing discretion. Young persons who commit serious crimes can be transferred to the adult system and face adult sentences where justified.

Members of the Reform Party in Ottawa and the Tory Party in Ontario do not know what they are talking about when they criticize the current Y.O.A.. I challenge any politician from either party to a debate on the subject.

Stephen Biss


3/24/99

Section 145(5) of the new Act reads as follows:

"When a waiver of rights under paragraph (2)(c) or (d) is not made in accordance with subsection (4), the youth justice court may admit into evidence a statement referred to in subsection (2) if it is satisfied that the young person was informed of his or her rights, and waived them."

This section should be removed from the new legislation. The section negates the protections provided in the rest of s. 145.

Young persons generally have great difficulty understanding their right to silence, their right to consultation with a parent AND lawyer prior to interrogation, and their right to the presence of their parents and lawyer during interrogation. Either Parliament recognizes this as a fact (see the Higgins-Biss study in Canada and Grisso in the United States) or it does not. The Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged the importance of these rights in R. v. J.T.J. The standard cautions and warnings used by police are often not effective in communicating these right to young persons. A waiver of any of these rights needs to be clear and unambiguous with a full understanding by the young person of the consequences of the waiver.

In the absence of formality, preferably in writing, it cannot be said that the Crown has proven that the waiver was proper.

Stephen Biss


3/24/99

The change is a step in the right direction, however that one section above certainly does need to be looked at more closely. But really the entire court procedure can be ambiguous, since most of the time lawyers do all the chatting and the young offender stands in a corner glassy eyed and bored.


3/25/99

we need harder law, stronger penalties and longer sentencing on the minors. We should bring back caining for penalties. It works in the 40's.


3/26/99

I think it is a step in the right direction especially starting to hold parents more responsible. The entire court procedure is ambiguous, why are those kids in court being held accountable and doing their own talking?


3/28/99

Do you really want "harder law, stronger penalties and longer sentencing on the minors" than what adults receive for the same offences. My research shows that under the existing Young Offenders Act, young persons often receive stiffer penalties than adults. Is this fair? Do we want this in Canada?

Stephen Biss


3/29/99

What is the purpose of criminal law? Is it to cause hurt and destruction to the lives of accused persons and their families as vengeance? Or is it to discourage people from committing crime and to rehabilitate those who have done wrong?

Do politicians discourage crime or encourage crime when they make false statements or fact-less statements about how the existing system works? I suggest that the existing system works well, notwithstanding under-funding. Rather, it is unthinking politicians who are damaging an existing good system by making disparaging remarks about the law and the persons who work very hard within the existing system.Last week Premier Mike Harris created a photo opportunity in front of a mock jail cell so that he could announce he was going to close the door on federal parole abuses. The federal minister immediately advised that his words made no sense whatsoever, but the photo op was there and Mike Harris got his media attention.

The week the new YOA legislation came out Charles Harnick, Attorney General of Ontario, announced that young persons who commit adult crimes in Ontario should start serving sentences in adult prisons. He got lots of press. He didn't however mention that that has already been happening in Ontario since April 1, 1985. Lots of rhetoric and great press before an election. But not truth.

Last year I debated with Jim Brown, at the time Ontario's "Crime Control Commissioner", on Rogers cable TV in Toronto. He advocated more community service orders. I read him the section of the YOA already authorizing such dispositions. He humourously expressed shock that I had brought a law book with me containing the YOA. How dare I use facts. I challenged him that one of the greatest difficulties in Ontario for judges attempting to impose community service orders is the lack of funding for probation supervision of such orders, all due to his government's cutbacks. He totally ignored what I said and changed the subject.

Time and time again the stats show that youth crime is NOT on the rise. But the truth doesn't suit the politicians' agenda.

It's time Progressive Conservative politicians in Ontario told the truth. Instead they create false crises and use them to push buttons that they think will create changes in the polls. That's not honourable at all.

I challenge them to a real debate.

Stephen Biss


30 Mar 1999

No Children definitely do not need harsher sentences than adults. That is extremely dangerous territory. what bothers me is that courts will take into consideration an adults maturity level but not that of a childs, developmentally children go at their own pace. Those politicians are looking for votes from the parents and communities,who are demanding quick temporary solutions(locking up kids), its us in the community who are really losing control.


30 Mar 1999

As a recently trained facilitator of the new Restorative Youth Justice Program and as a Social Work student, I am appalled with the new revised Y.O.Act! The willful fail to comply by a parent is so contrary to the underlying problem of a youth's environment. The youth is acting out because his/her environment is imbalanced already. This clause will increase child abuse, as a parent who already has little or no control will be in greater fear and pressure to not be penalized by their child, thus go to the extreme of more control! The youth may hold this over the parents head and threaten that parent i.e.; if you don't let me I'm going to do something and your going to go to jail, pay a fine etc.. This act will greatly upset an already unstable environment, how dare the members allow this. As a social work student I am taught to heal, to find the persons strengths and build on them, not decrease their power and add to their pain. If a youth's name is published, their family does not have the same respect as the victim has with privacy. The government did not consider that the youth's family, school, and friends are also victims; the youth's offence has also affected them! They deserve privacy, furthermore, the youth is now shamed and labeled for when they re-enter their community. How can a youth know that their statement is voluntary with an officer. Authority scares the hell out of many of us. The youth may want to appease the officer thinking that he will get out of it. It is proven that we become sheep with authority figures, we are socialize to conform! I was a repeat offender, the officer had me scared you know what, my mom sat in another room , no lawyer, no rights read nothing! Not all officers are gentle and are knowledgeable of teens and have a power attitude! This is frightening! We need to get the message out that this is wrong and defeats the Alternative of Restorative justice does the government not see the contradiction of each program? I could go on as we could argue each revision! If there is a coalition out here to have this changed? (even the title itself- Youth Criminal) Some one, "WE" need to fight this!


30 Mar 1999

What can we do to prevent this legislation from passing. It seems that the politicians have a lot of people believing that these revisions will make a difference for the better. On the subject of politicians. How do we teach out children right and wrong when every day, the very people we elect to run the country, are getting away with illegal acts or at the most a slap on the wrist?


01 Apr 1999

Slaps on the wrist can cause ligament damage. Do not do it, you might get sued....hehe Signed very tired college student


03 Apr 1999

I think it is up to the adults to make it perfectly clear to the child upon arrest what their rights are, and if a child enters the courtroom without full knowledge of his/her rights the adults police officers and lawyers) are failing. I remember I was picked up off the street when I was 13 and interrogated ruthlessly for 5 hours for information I did not have. I was not informed of my rights, and I had done nothing illegal. What this did to me was instill in me a fear, and lack of trust in police officers.

children do not need to be in adult court, end of debate.

I would also suggest that the government start placing more money into social programs rather than incarceration. One is proven effective, one is proven ineffective, where would you rather have your money go?

TR


03 Apr 1999

I think it is up to the adults to make it perfectly clear to the child upon arrest what their rights are, and if a child enters the courtroom without full knowledge of his/her rights the adults police officers and lawyers) are failing. I remember I was picked up off the street when I was 13 and interrogated ruthlessly for 5 hours for information I did not have. I was not informed of my rights, and I had done nothing illegal. What this did to me was instill in me a fear, and lack of trust in police officers.

children do not need to be in adult court, end of debate.

I would also suggest that the government start placing more money into social programs rather than incarceration. One is proven effective, one is proven ineffective, where would you rather have your money go?

TR


04 Apr 1999

SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT YOUNG OFFENDERS COMMIT CRIME TO BE DEVIANT OR CRIMINAL THIS IS NOT THE CASE AS YOUNG OFFENDERS OFFEND TO RELIEVE BOREDOM AND ALSO HAS SOME THING TO DO WITH PEER PRESSURE MOST YOUNG OFFENDERS THINK THAT THEY CAN NOT BE PUNISHED AS THEY ARE TO YOUNG. PUNISHMENT FOR YOUNG OFFENDERS SHOULD BE PUBLISHED MORE TO SHOW THESE OFFENDERS THAT THEY TO CAN SERVE TIME IN PRISON AND CAN BE PUT IN DETENTION HOMES AND BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILY. AND THAT THIS WILL DEFINITELY NOT BE A HOLIDAY AS THE MEDIA MANY A TIME HAVE PUBLISHED.


05 Apr 1999

harder laws and longer sentences will do xxx all.doesnt anyone see that putting a youth in jail for something stupid,like shoplifting,results in them usually coming back for a worse crime,like auto theft?petty crimes are acts of rebellion.detention centers arent the answers.adults dont try to understand why we shoplift,or asault people.society in this world is xxxx.my boyfriend,whom is 15,is serving 6 months in a detention center for auto theft,which he learned about IN the detention center,when he was in for shoplifting.he shoplifted because he had no money to use,because his parents didnt want him.do you know what that does to you?sometimes adults should try listening to us. I'm 15 years old, but hell, I'm probably more mature than half of the adults out there. why cant anyone just listen to us? trixie


06 Apr 1999

I think a lot of these kids that are doing petty crimes are in there own way crying out for help and no one is listening. I think we need to start getting these kids help that want it and never mind throwing the book at them as it will not help. I hear of kids that are given secure custody for 6 months on the first offense and the jail time makes them worse. Let's stop and start helping the kids get the treatment that is so badly needed.


06 Apr 1999

Deleted


08 Apr 1999

It's sad but true, memorials and funeral services have been heard from one end of the country to the other because the Y.O.A. just has not been effective after 15 years of trial and for the most part error. Addressing the blame, well it's me and you who have allowed this to continue for so long


09 Apr 1999

How come abusive husbands can attack their wives with knives and get away with it, and teenagers who do the same serve time in closed custody for their own good?


11 Apr 1999

As criminologist and having worked in criminal justice for more than 25 years, I have never seen such sloppy legislation. The principles are so conflicting, that only crime control advocates will dominate the debate. Most people who trash the YOA have never looked at the Act. I sometimes if legislative drafters even know what a young person is !


13 Apr 1999

Not many people realize that youths in our society are lost in the threads of societal conventions. they do not know what way they should turn, so they turn to the street for answers. Some chose to defy the law intentionally but some are in need of great guidance. I think that when youth commit a crime for the first time, the judge should give them a taste of real jail life, so the next time they do a crime they will think twice. I should know.


25 Apr 1999

I have worked in a closed custody facility for three years. I have seen many teenagers come through our doors, do their time, then leave, only to return again. Yes, these youths should take responsibility for their actions and often, custodial placements are the last resort of the criminal justice system, but what is the first resort? Of all the youths I have been involved with, 90 - 95% have had to live through incredibly difficult upbringings, plagued with emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Children are raised in homes where alcohol and substance abuse is prevalent. They witness domestic abuse, and are often forced to fend for themselves from a very young age, due to parental neglect. These children in a sense were robbed of their childhoods. What role models have they had? What supports were being offered to them when they were three and four and were being left alone at night so their parents could go out to the local bar. Who protected them when their father was throwing glasses, plates or chairs across the rooms? Who stepped in when their mothers allowed drug dealers or child molesters into their homes. Who stepped in and assisted the parents in caring for the children, helped them find or provided them with decent housing, nutritious meals, encouragement to finish school. We need to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect, through the development of community support systems. Of course, this crusade is almost futile, given that the conservative government is not likely to allow and extra funding for this type of service. We need to help these parents provide safe, nurturing environments for their children, help them get jobs, address their addictions, find their strengths so that they can have something positive to teach their children in stead of watching them give up. Once they give up the children are lost and become "young offenders" fighting to survive on their own. We must not be reactive, by establishing laws that will give stiffer punishment. As another writer mentioned, custody is where her boyfriend learned to hotwire a car, for which he is now re-incarcerated. What did custody do for this young person? We need to be pro-active, preventative, and put our money and energy into developing healthy environments for our children, whatever way we can.


30 Apr 1999

If someone kills someone else in cold blood they should be killed by capital punishment.


30 Apr 1999

I Think That the Young Offenders Act Should Be Abolished. If you are old enough to commit the crime you are old enough to pay for the crime HE


12 May 1999

In my opinion young offenders need to be punished more severely (especially violent offenders). If a person is old enough to harm another person than he/she should be considered an adult. There history shouldn't be relevant if they're violent offenders. I don't see how giving young offenders lesser penalties can be a deterrent. I'm 18 and I've always believed that people should take responsibility for their own actions. The YOA teaches kids that it's okay to commit crimes as long as you're under 18. For example 5 years maximum for murder, is that really enough for taking another person's life? Young people need to be taught to value life, and victim's rights should be put before the offender's rights because the offender is the one who has done the damage and should be held responsible to the full extent of the law for their actions.

3/24/99

The new Bill is totally unnecessary, except for the name change. "Young Offender" is a pejorative term violating the presumption of innocence and should have no place in our legal system. The present Young Offenders Act is an excellent statute which appropriately balances the rights of the accused against the protection of the public. Judges have wide sentencing discretion. Young persons who commit serious crimes can be transferred to the adult system and face adult sentences where justified.

Members of the Reform Party in Ottawa and the Tory Party in Ontario do not know what they are talking about when they criticize the current Y.O.A.. I challenge any politician from either party to a debate on the subject.

Stephen Biss

3/24/99

Section 145(5) of the new Act reads as follows:

"When a waiver of rights under paragraph (2)(c) or (d) is not made in accordance with subsection (4), the youth justice court may admit into evidence a statement referred to in subsection (2) if it is satisfied that the young person was informed of his or her rights, and waived them."

This section should be removed from the new legislation. The section negates the protections provided in the rest of s. 145.

Young persons generally have great difficulty understanding their right to silence, their right to consultation with a parent AND lawyer prior to interrogation, and their right to the presence of their parents and lawyer during interrogation. Either Parliament recognizes this as a fact (see the Higgins-Biss study in Canada and Grisso in the United States) or it does not. The Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged the importance of these rights in R. v. J.T.J. The standard cautions and warnings used by police are often not effective in communicating these right to young persons. A waiver of any of these rights needs to be clear and unambiguous with a full understanding by the young person of the consequences of the waiver.

In the absence of formality, preferably in writing, it cannot be said that the Crown has proven that the waiver was proper.

Stephen Biss

3/24/99

The change is a step in the right direction, however that one section above certainly does need to be looked at more closely. But really the entire court procedure can be ambiguous, since most of the time lawyers do all the chatting and the young offender stands in a corner glassy eyed and bored.

3/25/99

we need harder law, stronger penalties and longer sentencing on the minors. We should bring back caining for penalties. It works in the 40's.

3/26/99

I think it is a step in the right direction especially starting to hold parents more responsible. The entire court procedure is ambiguous, why are those kids in court being held accountable and doing their own talking?

3/28/99

Do you really want "harder law, stronger penalties and longer sentencing on the minors" than what adults receive for the same offences. My research shows that under the existing Young Offenders Act, young persons often receive stiffer penalties than adults. Is this fair? Do we want this in Canada?

Stephen Biss

3/29/99

What is the purpose of criminal law? Is it to cause hurt and destruction to the lives of accused persons and their families as vengeance? Or is it to discourage people from committing crime and to rehabilitate those who have done wrong?

Do politicians discourage crime or encourage crime when they make false statements or fact-less statements about how the existing system works? I suggest that the existing system works well, notwithstanding under-funding. Rather, it is unthinking politicians who are damaging an existing good system by making disparaging remarks about the law and the persons who work very hard within the existing system.Last week Premier Mike Harris created a photo opportunity in front of a mock jail cell so that he could announce he was going to close the door on federal parole abuses. The federal minister immediately advised that his words made no sense whatsoever, but the photo op was there and Mike Harris got his media attention.

The week the new YOA legislation came out Charles Harnick, Attorney General of Ontario, announced that young persons who commit adult crimes in Ontario should start serving sentences in adult prisons. He got lots of press. He didn't however mention that that has already been happening in Ontario since April 1, 1985. Lots of rhetoric and great press before an election. But not truth.

Last year I debated with Jim Brown, at the time Ontario's "Crime Control Commissioner", on Rogers cable TV in Toronto. He advocated more community service orders. I read him the section of the YOA already authorizing such dispositions. He humourously expressed shock that I had brought a law book with me containing the YOA. How dare I use facts. I challenged him that one of the greatest difficulties in Ontario for judges attempting to impose community service orders is the lack of funding for probation supervision of such orders, all due to his government's cutbacks. He totally ignored what I said and changed the subject.

Time and time again the stats show that youth crime is NOT on the rise. But the truth doesn't suit the politicians' agenda.

It's time Progressive Conservative politicians in Ontario told the truth. Instead they create false crises and use them to push buttons that they think will create changes in the polls. That's not honourable at all.

I challenge them to a real debate.

Stephen Biss

30 Mar 1999

No Children definitely do not need harsher sentences than adults. That is extremely dangerous territory. what bothers me is that courts will take into consideration an adults maturity level but not that of a childs, developmentally children go at their own pace. Those politicians are looking for votes from the parents and communities,who are demanding quick temporary solutions(locking up kids), its us in the community who are really losing control.

30 Mar 1999

As a recently trained facilitator of the new Restorative Youth Justice Program and as a Social Work student, I am appalled with the new revised Y.O.Act! The willful fail to comply by a parent isso contrary to the undrlying problem of a youth's environmet. The youth isacting out because his/her environment is imbalanced already. This clause will increase child abuse, as a parent who already has lilte or no control will be in greater fear and presure to not be penalized by their child, thus go to the extreme of more control! The youth may hold this over the parents head and threaten that parent ie; ifyou don'tlet me I'm gonna do something and your gonna go to jail, pay a fine ect. This act will greatly upset an already unstableenvironment, howdare the members allow this. As a social work student I am taught to heal, to find the persons streangths and build on them, not decrease their power and add to their pain. If a youth's name is published, their family does not have the same respect as the victim has with privacy. The govenment did not consider that the youth's family, school, and friends are also victims; the youth's offence has also affected them! They deserve privacy, furthermore, the youth is now shamed and labeled for when they re-enter their community. How can a youth know that their statement is voluntary with an officer. Authority scares the hell out of many of us. The youth may want to apease the officer thinking that he will get out of it. It is proven that we become sheep with authority figures, we are socialize to conform! I was a repeat offender, the officer had me scared you know what, my mom sat in another room , no lawyer, no rights read nothing! Not all officers are gentle and are knowledgeable of teens and have a power attitude! This is frightening! We need to get the message out that this is wrong and defeats the Alternative of Restorative justice does the government not see the contradiction of each program? I could go on as we could argue each revision! If there is a coalition outt here to have this changed? (even the tiltle itself- Youth Criminal)Some one, "WE" need to fight this!

30 Mar 1999

What can we do to prevent this legislation from passing. It seems that the politicians have a lot of people believing that these revisions will make a difference for the better. On the subject of politicians. How do we teach out children right and wrong when every day, the very people we elect to run the country, are getting away with illegal acts or at the most a slap on the wrist?

01 Apr 1999

Slaps on the wrist can cause ligament damage. Do not do it, you might get sued....hehe Signed very tired college student

03 Apr 1999

I think it is up to the adults to make it perfectly clear to the child upon arrest what their rights are, and if a child enters the courtroom without full knowledge of his/her rights the adults(police oficers and lawyers) are failing. I remember I was picked up off the street when I was 13 and interrogated ruthlessly for 5 hours for information I did not have. I was not informed of my rights, and I had done nothing illegal. What this did to me was instill in me a fear, and lack of trust in police officers.

children do not need to be in adult court, end of debate.

I would also suggest that the government start placing more money into social programs rather than incarceration. One is proven effective, one is proven ineffective, where would you rather have your money go?

TR

03 Apr 1999

I think it is up to the adults to make it perfectly clear to the child upon arrest what their rights are, and if a child enters the courtroom without full knowledge of his/her rights the adults(police oficers and lawyers) are failing. I remember I was picked up off the street when I was 13 and interrogated ruthlessly for 5 hours for information I did not have. I was not informed of my rights, and I had done nothing illegal. What this did to me was instill in me a fear, and lack of trust in police officers.

children do not need to be in adult court, end of debate.

I would also suggest that the government start placing more money into social programs rather than incarceration. One is proven effective, one is proven ineffective, where would you rather have your money go?

TR

04 Apr 1999

SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT YOUNG OFFENDERS COMMITT CRIME TO BE DEVIANT OR CRIMINAL THIS IS NOT THE CASE AS YOUNG OFFENDERS OFFEND TO RELIEVE BOREDOM AND ALSO HAS SOME THING TO DO WITH PEER PRESSURE MOST YOUNG OFFENDERS THINK THAT THEY CAN NOT BE PUNISHED AS THEY ARE TO YOUNG. PUNISHMENT FOR YOUNG OFFENDERS SHOULD BE PUBLISHED MORE TO SHOW THESE OFFENDERS THAT THEY TO CAN SERVE TIME IN PRISON AND CAN BE PUT IN DETENTION HOMES AND BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILY. AND THAT THIS WILL DEFINATLEY NOT BE A HOILDAY AS THE MEDIA MANY A TIME HAVE PUBLISHED.

05 Apr 1999

harder laws and longer sentences will do xxx all.doesnt anyone see that putting a youth in jail for something stupid,like shoplifting,results in them usually coming back for a worse crime,like auto theft?petty crimes are acts of rebellion.detention centers arent the answers.adults dont try to understand why we shoplift,or asault people.society in this world is xxxx.my boyfriend,whom is 15,is serving 6 months in a detention center for auto theft,which he learned about IN the detention center,when he was in for shoplifting.he shoplifted because he had no money to use,because his parents didnt want him.do you know what that does to you?sometimes adults should try listening to us.im 15 years old,but hell,im probably more mature than half of the adults out there.why cant anyone just listen to us? trixie

06 Apr 1999

I think alot of these kids that are doing petty crimes are in there own way crying out for help and no one is listening. I think we need to start getting these kids help that want it and never mind throwing the book at them as it will not help. I hear of kids that are given secure custody for 6 months on the first offense and the jail time makes them worse. Let's stop and start helping the kids get the treatment that is so badly needed.

06 Apr 1999

Deleted

08 Apr 1999

It's sad but true, memorials and funeral services have been heard from one end of the country to the other because the Y.O.A. just has not been effective after 15 years of trial and for the most part error. Addressing the blame, well it's me and you who have allowed this to continue for so long

09 Apr 1999

How come abusive husbands can attack their wives with knives and get away with it, and teenagers who do the same serve time in closed custody for their own good?

11 Apr 1999

As criminologist and having worked in criminal justice for more than 25 years, I have never seen such sloppy legislation. The principles are so conflicting, that only crime control advocates will dominate the dabate. Most people who trash the YOA have never looked at the Act. i sometimes if legislative drafters even know what a young person is !

13 Apr 1999

Not many people realize that youths in our society are lost in the threads of societal conventions. they do not know what way they should turn, so they turn to the street for answers. Some chose to defy the law intentionaly but some are in need of great guideness. I think that when youth commit a crime for the first time, the judge should give them a taste of real jail life, so the next time they do a crime they will think twice. I should know.

25 Apr 1999

I have worked in a closed custody facility for three years. I have seen many teenagers come through our doors, do their time, then leave, only to return again. Yes, these youths should take responsibility for their actions and often, custodial placements are the last reort of the criminal justics system, but what is the first resort? Of all the youths I have been involved with, 90 - 95% have had to live through incredibly difficult upbringings, plagued with emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Children are raised in homes where alcohol and substance abuse is prevelant. They witness domestic abuse, and are often forced to fend for themselves from a very young age, due to parental neglect. These children in a sense were robbed of their childhoods. What role models have they had? What supports were being offered to them when they were three and four and were being left alone at night so their parents could go out to the local bar. Who protected them when their father was throwing glassess, plates or chairs across the rooms? Who stepped in when their mothers allowed drug dealers or child molesters into their homes. Who stepped in and assisted the parents in caring for the children, helped them find or provided them with decent housing, nutricious meals, encouragement to finish school. We need to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect, through the development of community support systems. Of course, this crusade is almost futile, given that the conservative government is not likely to allow and extra funding for this type of service. We need to help these parents provide safe, nurturing environments for thier children, help them get jobs, address their addictions, find their strengths so that they can have something positive to teach their children in stead of watching them give up. Once they give up the children are lost and become "young offenders" fighting to survive on their own. We must not be reactive, by establishing laws that will give stiffer punishment. As another writer mentioned, custody is where her boyfriend learned to hotwire a car, for which he is now re-incarcerated. What did custody do for this young person? We need to be pro-active, preventative, and put our money and energy into developing healthy environments for our children, whatever way we can.

30 Apr 1999

If someone kills someone else in cold blood they should be killed by capital pumnishment.

30 Apr 1999

I Think That the Young Offenders Act Should Be Aboliched. If you are old enough to commit the crime you are old enough to pay for the crime VH

In my opinion young offenders need to be punished more severly(especially violent offenders). If a person is old enough to harm another person than he/she should be considered an adult. There history shouldn't be relevant if they're violent offenders. I don't see how giving young offenders lesser penalties can be a deterrant. I'm 18 and I've always believed that people should take responsibility for their own actions. The YOA teaches kids that it's okay to commit crimes as long as you're under 18. For example 5 years maximum for murder, is that really enough for taking another person's life? Young people need to be taught to value life, and victim's rights should be put before the offender's rights because the offender is the one who has done the damage and should be held responsible to the full extent of the law for their actions.


18 May 1999

I believe that when a teenager(between 13 and 17) commits a murder they should be tried in adult court, and sentenced as an adult. I'm 16, and I know the difference between right and wrong. You can't blame others for your own acts, you must be responsible.


21 May 1999

The young offenders act in Canada is a load of crap. Young offenders get a slap on the wrist for being a bunch of delinquents. I am a young offender and I only got 6 months probation (which I only have to sign in once a month) for two charges.I believe if there tuffer laws, than teenage crimes would drop dramatically. The K.F.B.


30 May 1999

i think that it is a good idea


31 May 1999

Anyone Over The Age Of 8 Should Be Charged As An Adult


04 Jun 1999

The problem with the YOA is that it's all media hype. The media hears something and they write about it. If they left the incidences private then no one would be geting so upset with it. i.e. Littleton, Colorado school shooting. The media trashed teens and school violence weeks after the incident.


9 Jun 1999

Whoa. I don't know where you came up with your reasearch Stephen Biss! "Under the existing YOA, young people often receive stiffer penalties than adults" The statment you made is false in all contexts. The whole reason for changing the YOA is because minors get off with a "slap on the wrist", and don't really learn that the offense they comitted was wrong. I strongly agree with a comment made which was to bring back corporal punishment, this would deter juvenilles from comitting many crimes, simply because there is a result to their unlawful actions. As a minor turned adult 2 weeks ago, this may seem like a harsh view, but, I feel that this is one solution that cannot go wrong! Sieber.


09 Jun 1999

Sieber has used false logic.

He suggests: If politicians want to change the YOA (B), they must have a reason and that reason is the "slap on the wrist" premise (A). Even if B is true, that does not imply that A must be true. Perhaps A is not true and the politicians have another reason C (perhaps getting re-elected). Sieber's logic is therefore false.

I suggest "not A" based on 20 years experience in the Youth Court and on empirical data which can be found elsewhere at this site.


09 Jun 1999

2 months ago, well in Febuary, me and 4 other of my friends got caught stealing a car. First it was me and my buddy stealing the car and then we picked up 3 girls that are our friends. We went cruising and they knew the car is stolen and when we seen the cops we all split up..... So we all went to jail and had to appear in court. Things got held up because it was a long day at court so we got set back a month, went back in the next month, and we have to now appear in court June 22 to set a trial date. Ok, hears the catch!!! 2 girls are not pleading guilty, and my buddie and this other girl that live on the Rezervation are pleading guilty, but there Band Office is taking thier records and almost Literaly ripping them up. So that just leaves me. I am a Band member on a different Reservation and they aren't doing anything. Us, as native people are all equally the same people, why shouldn't I get my record ripped up. Thats bull-shit!! Thier rez council won't help me, and I'm a better person then the other 4 people, I'm a clean guy joining the military soon or next year. Also we are all under 18, well between 16 and 17 years of age. I don't know what I'll get Probation for a year, but the thing is I'm **** because they get thier record wiped and here I am!!!!!!!

 

 


11 Jun 1999

make them pay for there crimes too


27 Jun 1999

The greatest remark by Mr Harris "You do adult crime, you do adult time!" To everyone, this may come as a solution and a relief~ Is it? Is rewriting the old Y.O.A necessary? Is it going to prevent crime? Is it going to radically change our society? Is this amendment really needed? Well, Harris and his followers certainly thinks that it will. I on the other hand have some doubt as to the effectiveness of this new proposal. First of all, it is not a solution to better punish people who after committing the crime. Locking away and throwing the key out the door is not a long term and effective solution which everyone can benefit from. To rehabilitate and further prevent these kids from committing crimes, that my friends can only be called effective solution to the current Y.O.A. Amending anything can possibly prolong the politician's terms, but it's the society that has to deal with the on going problems of Youth Crime. Rather than spending millions of dollars researching things that everyone already knows, money should be spent in educating these young people who are exposed to violent environment. I would like to challenge all politicians and law makers to come up with more effective and direct approach to solve the current problem.


06 Jul 1999

The new act is a waste of time and effort, it will in no way better the old act. The time spent ammending this act could be put to better use. The old act was far better.


10 Jul 1999

CAINING? no,no,no, Just like in the real world, this type of thing should never happen. Lets say you cheat on your girlfriend, It would cer tianly be easier for her to just slap you in the fa ce and be back together, But it never happens that way, I almost wish that is what they were going to do to me, cause it would be a lot better!


12 Jul 1999

I beleive that the victims of the crimes should be able to have some say in court during the hearings as to the impact and damage that the young offender has caused. Our youth of today are not being held responsible enough for the crimes that they committ. At 13, 14 and so on they know the difference between right and wrong. Especially if they have previous records. I think that too much time is spent on protecting the youth that are already career criminals. The time is now to make sure that they do not become adult criminals.


28 Aug 1999

The fact of this matter is that it is a change to satisfy the effects of previous changes only to create the need for another change in the future to come.

Why must we persist to engage in this perpeptual circle of confusion? We think we know whats gone wrong only to find out we didn't in the end. It's rediculos! Who really are the children in this whole matter? I'd have to say it's the Politicans who sit back and play the game of running a Society.

The biggest problem today is that there is no group roles in our society. Everyone works for themselves and themselves only! Selfishness (Period) Until we can begin to function as a group and articulate solutions based not just on what a group of Politicans think but to meet the best interests of everyone.

This involves everyone! Everyone works towards everyone elses best interests active citizens who control everything not some screwball Politicans that can't learn that their pethetic ways of dealing with problems only results in other unexpected problems.

Expect the unexpected this is how we just know that our current ways simply do not work worth a damn. Anarchy in the truest sense is the best functionality that a society can accomplish.

We must wake up and stop playing these childish games it's time our society peers over the confines of our crib and acknowledges how really childish we really are.

A society which works by the permisis of everyone being involved in a group commitment to such will ensure that our young grow up with a sense of group role and not a sense that they are completly alone and must function entirely for themselves.

In regards to this new bill perhaps we should really take a look of what is really important instead of trying to change the superfical face of society a body operation is need.

Jeff Banks


02 Sep 1999

i think as a minor thatthe laws and punishment are to heavy in cases. The yo crimes are taken to seriuos in many cases. r.b.


15 Sep 1999

The young offenders act should be eliminated there is no point punishing them when they dont know what they're doing.


21 Sep 1999

I don't believe that the Y.O.A. should be abolished. Although I do believe that there needs to be stronger penalties for young offenders. I was reading through some of the past debates on the Y.O.A. and I believe that people like Tim Reich are correct. I am from Calgary and I heard all about the stabbing that took place on Oct.31, 1998. I don't understand how Mr. Biss can be so cold hearted, mind you he is a lawyer. Anyways, I just thought I'd give my opinion on the whole situation. Bye for now. P.S. In the debate section ,the kid named Colin asked for more sites that could help him for a report on the Y.O.A. I think you need to go to the hooked on phonics site first so you can learn how to spell properly first.


22 Sep 1999

I think that the repeal of the YOA and replacing it with the YCJA is a good idea. It combines both punishment and rehabilitation in a way that the YOA never did. Although the YCJA contains some of the same themes as the YCJA the YOA lacked clarity in regards that it did not identify the principal goal of the system; it contained inconsistend and competing principles; and it is not supplemented by more specific principles at the various stages o the youth justice process. The YCJA encourages measures other than court proceeding as well as it provides more guidance on appropriate use of alternatives.

The YOA and the YCJA differ as well in respects to that victims are more recognized in the YCJA. There is no mention of victims in principles and they must ask for access to youth records. In the YCJA the concerns of victims are recognized in the principles of Act ( the first time in federal legislation) and the victims have a right to access youth records. These are just a few of the different things in the YCJA. This new Act signals a major change in the way Canada deals with young offenders. It emphasizes accountability, respect, responsibility and fairness. Although the primary purpose of the youth justice system is public protection, it is best achieved through prevention, meaningful consequences and rehabilitation.


26 Sep 1999

09/26/99

I am sixteen year old, who believes todays youths are getting away with too much. Harsh crimes need harsh consequences, of course age and maturity are considerations but we must not be too leanient.

S. Chander


29 Sep 1999

I strongly agree with imposing stiffer penalties upon young offenders. The reason for this is very clear. Research shows that most adult offenders have committed previous crimes in their adolecence. Getting away with crime is one thing, but to be caught and then breeze through the system like it's no big deal has obviously devastating results. Look at the stats. Adult crime is up. Youth crime is up. Shall we let this thing work itself out, or do something about it? -L.M.


18 Oct 1999

As sixteen year old myself, I know that youths are not as naive as adults may wish to think. When we do something deliberatley, we have thought through the consequences, and are aware of what our actions may cause. There needs to be stricter penalties for young offenders. If a man commits murder he may get a stricter penalty than a 10 year old boy who walks into his parents bedroom at night and kills both his parents in cold blood. Where is the justice in that?

CD Cool Pool, Alberta


18 Oct 1999

I feel that young offenders should be tried and punished the same way that adults are. They feel that they are adult when the do the crime, they should be able to do the adult time. These problems could be the fault of the parents but whatever the case may be, they need to be properly punished.


25 Oct 1999

Hello, I am a grade ten student from Ontario who is doing an independant study on how and why the Canadien young offenders act should be changed. Any information on this subject would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.


27 Oct 1999

speaking as a teenager the YOA has long needed reform. i'm not sure that i agree with all propsed changes, however it is definitely a step in the right direction.


28 Oct 1999

Please write more to this because i'm trying to do a project about young offenders act. Everytime i come into a website it's always a short little sentence saying oh please tell us your comments on the young offenders act. Can't you atleast explain to us what is the young offenders act. What if i didn't know what a young offender act was. Please be more descriptive!!!!


01 Nov 1999

the blame goes with the kid...i like what i read on this before.....if your old enough to commit the crime, your old enough to do the time....from myself, a youth's, point of view


23 Nov 1999

I think that harsher law for children that adults is a good idea. I think that as a child myself, there is still time to straighten us out and harsher penalties would do the trick nicely. Scott Hodgson.


24 Nov 1999

I think that the young offerenders act is heading in the right direction . It looks at the type of crime the offerender has commited and takes many things into account . Even if you are over the age of 18 lets say 19 for example and you commit the crime of shop lifting you can be tried as a minior . Anther example would be if you where lets say 15 and you commited a crime of murder you could be tried as as adult . I think that this is a change in the right direction .


24 Nov 1999

My comment is directed to the person who expressed their concern ( 3/26/99) I feel that the idea of a parent being held responsible for their child's actions is a good idea. If a parent is going to be sent to prison for something that their child has done I believe that parents would become more aware of what their children are doing and what environment is being created for them. I also feel that children in society today feel that if they were to commit a crime that they could get away with it without really being punished. Being a student in high school myself I have been witness to bragging and other induviduals who have been involved with the law and know what they can do to win a situation if one were to occure. I think that the moral values and standards of society today have fallen to intolerable levels. For this to improve it has to begin with the family and the structure that the child grows up with. Our problems today are because our community does not have structure and instead of dealing with a problem and acknowledging it when it happens right away, society tends to make excuses and avoid dealing with it immediatly. Before someone can state that children cannot deal with the punishments that the law has given, take a step back and realize that the children of today know what is happening and know exactly how to manipulate their way out of it.


25 Nov 1999

i think if a youth takes another youths life they should get the same amount of time as an aduld murder is murder no matter the age if u can kill some one then u must think your big so u should be treated big of the YOA does not get stronger then more and more teens will kill One year ago in calgary we lost a teen at a party on halloween he was only 17 ok now u tell me does a 17year old need to die and should his killers get away with it they were 15 and 17. Well i can tell u if it was your child who was killed then im sure if the judge said 3 years u would be mad and u would want the YOA to change so dont lie tell the truth i think there should be a longer sentince for youth killers the YOA spends to much time on shop lifters then teen killers and that should change a teen killer can get the same time as a teen with an autotheft charge does that make sence NO I DONT THINK SO if an adult get charged with murder they get like 10 or more so why is a youth different MURDER IS MURDER its an adult crime and should be an adult time Right


25 Nov 1999

does the sentance of 5 years compair to the sentance of DEATH no it does not so as soon as the YOA sees that mabe they will change a life is so pressious and should never be taken by anyone


28 Nov 1999

Young offenders....hmmmm where is the line drawn? At 17 .... 18.....19.....20 Even 25 is a young age. "Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding" - Albert Einstein



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