The Great Youth Criminal Justice Act Debate

The Act goes into force April 1, 2003

YCJA

YOA

New: December 2010: Enter Your Comments and Opinion Respecting the YCJA

Debate for December 2002:

Should 10 and 11 year olds be prosecuted under the Young Offenders Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act?

Resolved that the definition of "young person" in s. 2 of the Young Offenders Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act be repealed and replaced by:

``young person'' means a person who is or, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, appears to be ten years old or older, but less than eighteen years old and, if the context requires, includes any person who is charged under this Act with having committed an offence while he or she was a young person or who is found guilty of an offence under this Act.

See also Department of Justice Research Papers


City:
Mississauga, ON
Date:
11 Nov 2002
Time:
20:12:05

Comments

Children ages 10 and 11 have no understanding of legal processes.


City:
Brighton

Comments

I feel that if a "young person" is of the age 10 they do have an understanding of what they have done. Even if they do not understand the Justice System fully, they still realize that they have done something wrong or even harmful. I am 16 years old and when I was 10 I knew right from wrong, simple as that. Young people today are not stupid and are also not blind to what is going on in society. The only way to keep these young people from becoming future criminals is to show them that they can't get away with doing something they know is wrong.


City:
Toronto
Date:
17 Nov 2002
Time:
20:13:54

Comments

No, I think that 10 and 11 year olds are way to young, and even though they committed a crime, there could have been many pressures behind it. Such as with school, peers and the home front.


City:
St. Theresa Point
Date:
18 Nov 2002
Time:
16:37:05

Comments

It's crazy to sentence children to jail.


City:
ORANGEVILLE, Ontario
Date:
18 Nov 2002
Time:
19:59:48

Comments

No, I think they shouldn't be prosecuted, I still think twelve years old is to young and it use to be seven years old. I think that during a child's time of development hormones are ranging and the pressure is on and you might do some mistakes. This, is why it is the age of learning, and even if the crime was murder, there must have been something behind it such as improper guidance. Thus, I feel that children should be given a lighter sentences and more help to shape a better person for society instead of trying to cover up that inner rage with discipline.


City:
Cranberry Portage, MB
Date:
19 Nov 2002
Time:
14:52:31

Comments

why is the government trying to put little children in jail. Don't they know that children are our future at least that's what they say. They should try and solve the problems that occur around them. It's not their fault that they are pressured. Some kids can be helpless!!!!!!


City:
Whitby
Date:
21 Nov 2002
Time:
09:08:10

Comments

I think that they know what they are doing and they should be prosecuted and sentenced further.


City:
Greensboro
Date:
23 Nov 2002
Time:
18:20:48

Comments

That is sick how people would even question if a little child should be arrested and charged witha crime he/she probably didn't even know they were committing. At 10 or 11 you go by what people tell you to do if someone continues to influence you to do something at that tender age you probally will do it REMEMBER YOU GUYS THE CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


City:
Garden Hill, MB
Date:
26 Nov 2002
Time:
14:43:55

Comments

I agree with the person from Cranberry Portage!! Children are our future. What will happen in the future with the kids being sentenced to jail. We can teach the children to solve the problems before it gets worse. We should watch what we're doing, that way we won't influence the children.


City:
Whitby
Date:
28 Nov 2002
Time:
09:47:45

Comments

The biggest misunderstanding made in regards to young people is their sentencing. Young Offenders are not sentenced to jail time when convicted, unless under an indictable crime, which again can only be taken to adult court when the offender is above the age of 14. Young Offenders are not sentenced to jail time, but are put in homes or taken away from the cause of their behaviour. The main cause of this is not retribution, it is rehabilitation. We do not place young offenders in jail, of course that is going against their rights under the charter. It would be cruel and unusual punishment. Therefore, the age of young offenders should be lowered, however, this does not mean send them to jail earlier, i completely disagree with that train of thought. Deter them from crime at a younger age, but sending them to jail so young will not achieve this


City:
Winnipeg,MB
Date:
02 Dec 2002
Time:
13:22:17

Comments

I feel that people who are under 18 but over the age of 9, should be charged, convicted and possibly serve jail time for their crimes. I am 17, and have been aware of the actions I have committed since I was 10. I believe that any child/teenager understands their actions and the consequences of their actions just as well as I do, why should someone get away with credit card fraud at the age of 16, where as an 18 year old could receive jail time. There is not much difference between an 18 year old and a 16 year old. As a teenager, I feel that my age category should not have "softer" punishments just because of our age!!!


City:
Russell
Date:
02 Dec 2002
Time:
16:23:47

Comments

You must understand that even though children are the future if they are not educated properly then our future is over. either way they commit a serious crime then they should have to deal with serious results. just because they might be 10 or 11 doesn't mean that they shouldn't have to deal with a murder charge. they killed someone and have brought horror to one family if not more. that child should have to deal with it. the way to fix them is to punish them for serious offences. other wise the future that was mention before won't mean squat.


City:
Winnipeg, MB
Date:
03 Dec 2002
Time:
12:02:44

Comments

I believe that kids, ages 10 & up, know very well the consequences of their actions, therefore, should be held responsible. If I lose my house and countless irreplaceable items (and possibly a life) because of a child arsonist and that child is punished by way of minor community service (if I'm lucky!) or by grounding them to their room, has justice really been served? I don't think so. I believe we need a tougher system for those kids to go through. It doesn't necessarily have to be jail, but a youth centre with some good psychologists to sort them out. If kids don't know the difference between right and wrong and the consequences of their decisions by the age of 10, then this raises a whole new debate.


City:
Kitchener
Date:
05 Dec 2002
Time:
00:01:09

Comments

It's not a matter of putting little kids in jail. No one wants to do that anymore. However, we as adults have lost control over disciplining or kids and now have to let the courts decided their fate. Thanks to the judicial system, I can no longer discipline my child to the same level as my parents deemed necessary to control my destructive behaviour nor that of others. Kids are learning more at a younger age, so let's be naive here. Either give us back the right to secure our children and discipline them without the fear of prosecution if I have to grab my child's arm to direct them to their rooms or refrain them from leaving the house just because they know we cannot touch them without them screaming abuse. I do not want my 10 year old telling my to fuck off and if I have to physically discipline them for their actions which I know they understand better, and have them tell me they will call the police if I touch them. What's causing this to happen? We as parents have lost controlled of dealing with these problems and hey to the lawyers and judges....do you want to pay for their clothes, hockey, schooling, video games, for us as well.... No I don't want to see 10-11 year olds prosecuted, but they should receive the necessary help ALONG WITH THE PARENTS! They know right and wrong, parents know right and wrong. How can parents discipline their kids at this age without fear of prosecution. 


City:
Grand Juntion
Date:
06 Dec 2002
Time:
12:23:28

Comments

I have seen many people, who are adults, who have made ignorant decisions such as some ten and eleven-year-olds have made. Whether or not a young person can think on their own, or knows the right from the wrong, is irrelevant to an adult not knowing some of the laws that he or she breaks everyday. I have lived with cops all of my life and I have learned laws that hardly anyone knows. As an adult you should know your laws of your country and your city. As well as your state. So lets say you find a child who murdered an animal or a dog. This kid is an orphan on the streets and has no one to look after him or her. Should this kid be punished for the dirty deed they have committed? For those of you who say, no, the kid had no one to teach him right from wrong. You have to consider what you were told as a child. Did your mother or father ever sit you down for a discussion about murder? Did they tell you specifically that it was a bad thing, and you shouldn't do it? I sure don't remember that conversation held with mommy. The point is, we all know right from wrong regardless of what you were taught. This knowledge of being good or bad is almost habitual. Like an instinct. Being good or bad is something you are possibly born with. Almost preordained in your genes. What I am getting to is that young people who commit crimes have just about as much knowledge as an adult about right from wrong. So, should children be tried as an adult for crimes that are violent or rather big? I believe so. Don't let a cute young "innocent" face disarrange the atrocity of an act. 


City:
Regina
Date:
08 Dec 2002
Time:
14:14:55

Comments

I am a 17 year old and feel that young offenders is a bunch of BULL! I knew the difference between right and wrong when I was 2 years old. There is no way that a 10 or 11 year doesn't know what they are doing. If parents do their job of raising their children properly then we would have a lot less young criminals. I think they should be charged and treated like an adult because it would lower the numbers of young people committing crimes. Why baby criminals because of their age?


City:
California
Date:
09 Dec 2002
Time:
16:09:02

Comments

10 and 11 year olds know that killing a person is bad unless they were taught differently. Young people have no understanding of what the is about. If they commit a serious enough crime they'll know it wrong and they understand what the did and should probably go juvenile hall.


City:
Barrie
Date:
10 Dec 2002
Time:
22:54:20

Comments

Six year olds often know right from wrong but do you want them facing jail terms?

Treat 12 year olds like adults the day they are allowed to vote and share the same rights that adults have. We don't let 15 year olds sign contracts because they are not deemed to have the maturity, knowledge, responsibilities or rights of an adult. While many agree to withhold rights from persons under 18 they want them to bear the full responsibility an adult would in criminal circumstances. Which is it? If they must bear full responsibility they must also have full rights. They don't. They can't. And they shouldn't.


City:
Date:
16 Dec 2002
Time:
12:29:49

Comments

I have a question of which different people might have different opinions on (this is for a class debate) the question is "should young offenders be put in adult prison?"


City:
Mississauga
Date:
17 Dec 2002
Time:
18:06:40

Comments

young offenders should not be put in adult prison because they are too young to understand the consequences of their actions and what they did wrong


City:
Toronto
Date:
29 Dec 2002
Time:
17:01:39

Comments

Yes, i believe that children around the age of 10 or 11 should be held accountable for the acts committed. One must remember that these are criminal acts and that if a child was "influenced" or misguided, then that of course will be argued during the case in defense. Though the context of the crime always differs, this does not and should not take away from the fact that a criminal act has been committed.


City:
Thunder Bay
Date:
02 Jan 2003
Time:
15:46:46

Comments

I do believe a young person of the age 10 or 11 should be prosecuted under the Y.O.A and YCJA because these persons are old enough to realize the damage they have done. At this age, these persons have seen a movie or television show where someone has committed a serious crime. Even though they may not understand all the legal terms, they will still understand the crime they committed and why they decided to commit the crime.


City:
Toronto
Date:
02 Jan 2003
Time:
17:54:46

Comments

"Young Persons" who are 10-11 years old perhaps do have the mental capacity to understand that what they are doing is technically wrong, however, they do not understand what they are doing fully. Their minds do not comprehend what they are doing as a criminal act. Obviously they know right from wrong, but they do not know the full impact of their actions. When you are 10, you are not thinking like an adult, nor do you think of the consequences of your action. To say that they are not liable for their actions is one thing, but to hold them criminally responsible like an adult is not right. To treat a 10 yr. old the same as a 35yr. old is a HUGE mistake. Youth Courts, and the Youth Criminal Justice Act are in place to protect societies youth's from ill-treatment. And i feel that although kids can acknowledge what they are doing is bad, they can not rationalize it into a criminal charge or even a criminal action since they have not been educated on that subject.


City:
Toronto
Date:
03 Jan 2003
Time:
15:24:43

Comments

Why is this debate all about what is best for the young offender? They should be incarcerated to protect the rest of us from them. Check out the stats on recidivism rates and get over this misguided notion of rehab.

Moderator's Note: see Youth Court Recidivism and judge for yourself.


City:
Vancouver
Date:
07 Jan 2003
Time:
11:57:18

Comments

you guys all sa the childre are our future but if we let them do crimes and get away with it the fuuture will hold nothing but criminals and no one will be safe


City:
Thorndale
Date:
07 Jan 2003
Time:
16:46:54

Comments

To commit any crime you must have the mens rea to commit the crime to be found guilty. If the child is proven to have such, he/she should be sentenced to the proper consequence. Children have much more mental capacity then we tend to put upon them, they know what is going on, though they may not the judicial system to the extenet that we do but they have knowledge of right and wrong and hopefully the knowledge that there is a price to pay if you do something wrong. I do not believe that children should be placed in jail they should be given proper consequences that provide deterance and a lesson to the specific child and others.


City:
vancouver
Date:
08 Jan 2003
Time:
13:52:37

Comments

for the people who said that the children are our future and we have to let them get away with everything its like hey son/daughter its ok if you go kill someone cause your the children of the future and i can't have you punished like an adult that a whole load of crap,and also if they are old enough to do the crime they are old enough to handle the punishment


City:
Toronto
Date:
14 Jan 2003
Time:
12:38:06

Comments

I think that children of 10 and 11 do understand the difference between right and wrong however, they do not fully understand the serious consequences of their actions in relation to the young offender's act and therefore, they should be punished, however, the sentence should be lighter.


City:
London
Date:
14 Jan 2003
Time:
14:21:08

Comments

I think( from a childs point of view, as i am one) children might not actually understand at that age and thats why the goverment should act! i think that children should have police officers etc actually come and talk to the children about it! to give extra lessons at school about these problems, try and find out why a child would do this? and i think that once you become a teenager, you hold more responsibilities which is the time where you understand whats going on


City:
rock island
Date:
15 Jan 2003
Time:
10:11:48

Comments

the children no what they do is wrong so they need to be punished but not as bad as the older people because the older people have known the conquence for a much longer time than we have. some of us think we no what we are doing but inside we are probably doing it for a different reason like if we had our parents killed and think that if we kill some one it we take away our pain and bring back the parents. but the older people it seams as if they are all in it for the pleasure and they should be punished worser than any of us because they kinda know better. love annabelle lee foster


City:
saskatoon
Date:
16 Jan 2003
Time:
15:20:52

Comments

You can give a 12 year old a babysitting certificate, why can't they be responsible for there doings? Depends on the crime on what they should be tried for. There is situations here that can make a person sick. Example gangs going out and beating another human just so they can get into a gang, and beat the person lifeless, that is so wrong and then nothing is done for the crime of the 14 year olds, and these are not first time offenders!! I think the system has just given up on these kids, and yes the parents who raise these kids should be held partially responsible. i think the problem is now a days there is not enough stay at home moms (dads), and that would make if free will for the child and the parent is not there to keep an eye on the child. I know a few young offenders, and yes they get a slap on the wrist for there crimes. They should put up a camp for these young offenders where they have to make there own meals even grow there own food, make them work hard!!!! Just maybe they will know how it feels to have some morals. Our laws are not strict enough, obviously not when they are doing the crime for the second time. They should just bring the cane in, and then maybe they will think about the next time, but all in all there should'nt even be a first.


City:
Date:
21 Jan 2003
Time:
19:27:43

Comments

I believe that anyone who is old enough to commit a crime; should be able to serve time in a detention centre or a place of correction. If someone who is 11 or 12 committed a crime. Are we just going to let them go free and just say 'No, no tisk, tisk. You have been naughty. Bad you.' And then let them have their freedom? I don't think that is a good idea; due to the fact that they will think 'Oh, wow. I got away with armed robbery when I was 12. I think I can get away with it when I am 13 or 14.' If you let them off with nothing saying they are too young to know anything about the law, then you will be giving them the immpression that they can do anything they want. Is that the immpression that we want the youth of today to have? That they can take whatever they want from anywhere and it has no conseqeunces?


City:
Enfield Nova Scotia
Date:
23 Jan 2003
Time:
11:02:49

Comments

Most kids this day in age understand the meaning of the law, I think 10 years old should be punished, even if that means they should be put in jail


City:
N/A
Date:
24 Jan 2003
Time:
13:25:07

Comments

I believe that 10 and 11 year olds should be prosecuted as criminals because they are old enough to understand the difference between right and wrong. They must be rehabilated before it is too late. The youth Criminal Justice act promotes consequences that are proportianate to the seriousness of the offence, but it doen't promote tougher consequences. Why? Also, I think mitigating factors must be considered. After all, it wouldn't be apprropriate to give the same sentence to an orphan and a well-raised child for stealing a loaf of bread! So, therefore it depends on the circumstances of the case.-Marie


City:
barrie
Date:
28 Jan 2003
Time:
09:54:33

Comments

if a person is old enough to break the law then way can't they be punished according to there act. look i am `17 years old and yes ever day there are thing s i want to do but just because there are there to do doesn't mean i can or will.so if some teen(youth)wants to do something then why can't they be treated fairly.


City:
Kitchener
Date:
28 Jan 2003
Time:
12:22:56

Comments

I am not sure procesuted is the term i would use. I feel that with new Act coming into play in a few months they should be able to be delat with legally. However, i feel that the less intrusive measure should be used until such an age they can have a better understanding. On the other hand i have dealt with 16/17 year old that do not have a clear understanding and we cannot judge by emotional age.


City:
Halifax, N.S
Date:
31 Jan 2003
Time:
13:28:52

Comments

I think it is in the best interest for the child to be punished under the act, the problem with the general public is that they think it is automaticlly "kid going to jail" because of the media. I think that if the children do get punished that it would help them in the long run, it would educate them and teach them the differences between right and wrong, sadly it is usually a child from a broken home or an abusive home,so if we can help get them on the right track then I agree that we should Punish children ages 10, 11 under the young offenders act.


City:
Barrie
Date:
03 Feb 2003
Time:
18:09:53

Comments

As an 18 year old I know that I was not taught about the laws of our country till I took the course in high school. I had still known that murder was to kill someone and that it was bad when I was 10. I had also realized over the years that the young offenders act is a joke since I know many that have stolen from stores, smoked weed and cigarettes knowing that even when caught they are always just let out with a tiny punishment of having a curfew of 11:00 on school nights. Every person at the age of 10 knows about stealing and murder and they may not know that it is followed up by prison but they do know that it is bad and that it does have a substantial consequence. In conclusion I belive that children at the age of 10 should be prosecuted with a punishment similar to adults.


City:
Medicine Hat, AB
Date:
07 Feb 2003
Time:
16:31:47

Comments

I, being a grade 8 student, know first hand that children from about the age 8 know the difference between riht and wrong, but also think that everyone deserves a second chance, so to me this is disputed.


City:
Belfast, PEI
Date:
15 Feb 2003
Time:
21:41:24

Comments

10 and 11 year olds should be charged and prosecuted for their crimes. By the age of seven you know the difference between right and wrong. For close to eighty years, under the old and better Juvenile Delinquents Act, children seven and older could be sentenced to reform school. Then, in 1984, the Youth Offender's Act came along and let even the worst youth criminals literally get away with murder.

Note from S. Biss: 

Do you have empirical evidence of this? In fact, the Young Offenders Act was introduced to make young persons more accountable for the specific crime they had committed rather than the JDA social work model wherein young criminals were adjudged "delinquent" and "treated" in a training school or under the "supervision of a friendly probation officer." The shift from child welfare model to adult criminal law model required that if young persons were going to receive real punishments, they needed to be afforded real criminal law rights. Those rights require understanding of complex legal concepts, thus the need for 1. age cutoff at minimum 12 years and 2. special provisions eg. YOA s. 56 to enhance understanding of the processes. Don't just follow the crowd and belittle the YOA and the YCJA because the politicians do. Think for yourself and look for empirical evidence. Perhaps 10 and 11 year olds should be dealt with by a child protection/JDA model, but isn't that precisely why they shouldn't be dealt with under the YOA or YCJA.


City:
Date:
17 Feb 2003
Time:
20:12:09

Comments

you should never do that to a child


City:
Barrie
Date:
18 Feb 2003
Time:
14:07:42

Comments

They still know right from wrong if you kill some one you kill someone just because you are under 16 you should not just get a slap on the wrist you should be in jail. And if they really wanted it no matter how sufere the crime they should be tryd as young adults or adults


City:
Buffalo Grove
Date:
19 Feb 2003
Time:
18:12:36

Comments

Shouldn't kids know the difference bettween right and wrong? The fact of the matter is, if a 10 year old was convicted of murder...don't you think he knew it was against the law? it is entirely obvious by the age of 5, probably, that a child knows whether something is right or wrong. A child knows they have killed a person. Shouldn't that child be tried just like any other murderer? They knew it was wrong and they should be punished fairly and accordingly to the law.


City:
Thunder Bay
Date:
20 Feb 2003
Time:
01:29:54

Comments

I do not believe 10 and 11 year olds should be sentenced to jail. I work with young offenders in a secure custody facility and it is hard enough to explain to a 14 year old that they are responisble for their own actions, I cant think of how I would explain that to a 10 year old. If the crime was serious enough, I do think consequences should be given but I can think of many alternatives than custody for the child.


City:
INDIANAPOLIS
Date:
21 Feb 2003
Time:
11:59:28

Comments

NO, I DO NOT THINK CHILDREN SHOULD BE SENTENCED AS ADULTS. CHILDREN ARE CHILDREN AND ONE MISTAKE SHOULD NOT COST THEM THERE LIFE.


City:
Richmond Hill
Date:
22 Feb 2003
Time:
12:16:49

Comments

The young offenders act sucks! Kids are not stupid these days. They know if they did something wrong. If you kill someone, your going to know! And hey, I'm only 12, I am learning about the young offenders act now at school, and if a kid any age does someting wrong, and you do not do anytihng to help them, like put them in jail, they will keep doing it, and then become a murderer, maybe. I watch Jenny Jones, and I allways see kids like 8, 9, 10 years old taking drugs, smoking, beating other kids up, and all they do is yell at them. Ya there going to cry, and it might help for a bit, but then if their friends keep peir pressurring them to do stuff they dont want to do, its hard to say no. Kids understand, I'm a kid, when I was 7, I understood, and if I can, then everyone can! The Young Offenders Act should stop now, show kids what they do wrong! Help this world be a better place!


City:
Dallas
Date:
27 Feb 2003
Time:
20:04:05

Comments

no they should not be tryed as adults


City:
Belfast, PEI
Date:
04 Mar 2003
Time:
14:38:20

Comments

I think 10 and 11 year olds are old enough to be held criminally responsible for their actions. If a 10 year old does something serious like murder someone, they cannot be charged and most times will get away with it. From 1908 to 1984 seven was the age of responsibility in Canada. When the Juvenile Delinquants Act was repealed in 1984 only 12 to 17 year olds could be tried for offences. It should be 10 to 17. Sometimes sending young people to jail for a while is the only way we can reform them and keep them from becoming professional adult criminals.


City:
jersey city
Date:
05 Mar 2003
Time:
14:33:31

Comments

i feel that kids who do adult crime should do adult time.we shouldn't have little killers out in the streets killing people and getting away with it. 


City:
jersey
Date:
05 Mar 2003
Time:
14:40:35

Comments

Why shouldn't 16 and 17 year olds be treated the same as adults?


City:
rentaville
Date:
05 Mar 2003
Time:
14:44:29

Comments

i feel anthony has a good point. he is very well spoken.


City:
Date:
05 Mar 2003
Time:
14:48:16

Comments

I feel that if a "young person" is of the age 10 they do have an understanding of what they have done. Even if they do not understand the Justice System fully, they still realize that they have done something wrong or even harmful. I am 16 years old and when I was 10 I knew right from wrong, simple as that. Young people today are not stupid and are also not blind to what is going on in society. The only way to keep these young people from becoming future criminals is to show them that they can't get away with doing something they know is wrong. I think they shouldn't be prosecuted, I still think twelve years old is to young and it use to be seven years old. I think that during a child's time of development hormones are ranging and the pressure is on and you might do some mistakes. This, is why it is the age of learning, and even if the crime was murder, there must have been something behind it such as improper guidance. Thus, I feel that children should be given a lighter sentences and more help to shape a better person for society instead of trying to cover up that inner rage with discipline.


City:
CVHS
Date:
06 Mar 2003
Time:
11:17:25

Comments

I THINK 10 TO 17 SHOULD BE TRIED AS ADULTS, if they are old enough to know the difference Between right and wrong, surely they are old enough to be tried.


City:
Victoria
Date:
06 Mar 2003
Time:
21:57:47

Comments

At the age in question, a child has the cognitive ability to understand their actions. If no consequences are to happen for committing a crime there won't be much of a future. There is always a natural consequence for doing wrong. If you touch a hot flame, do you not get brunt. It is the responsibilty of the law to enforce whatever decision is made by the courts. Children have to take responsibilty for their actions.


City:
Victoria
Date:
06 Mar 2003
Time:
21:58:22

Comments

At the age in question, a child has the cognitive ability to understand their actions. If no consequences are to happen for committing a crime there won't be much of a future. There is always a natural consequence for doing wrong. If you touch a hot flame, do you not get brunt. It is the responsibilty of the law to enforce whatever decision is made by the courts. Children have to take responsibilty for their actions.


City:
toronto
Date:
07 Mar 2003
Time:
05:18:41

Comments

the definition of "young person" is 12 yrs old, absent evidence to the contrary...someone should update this site.


City:
cambridge
Date:
17 Mar 2003
Time:
13:29:14

Comments

I do not think 10 and 11 year olds should be prosecuted. I do not think any child should be put into a juvenile home or jail until the age of 14.

 


City:
Halifax
Date:
24 Mar 2003
Time:
11:22:11

Comments

The law states that any person over the age of 14 can consent to sexual intercourse, therefore no one under the age of 14 should be prosecuted because they do not understand the law or between right and wrong. This is a load of crap, because there are many children out there under 14 who are having consensual sex, and know what they are doing. If one of these youth were arrested for a crime, you mean to tell me that if they are in their right minds to have sex, they cannot determine whether the crime they committed was wrong or not? Bull!!!


City:
listowel
Date:
03 Apr 2003
Time:
14:19:49

Comments

There has not been any crimes because this is the best town ever


City:
Calgary
Date:
04 Apr 2003
Time:
18:33:13

Comments

Absolutely they should be prosecuted under the YOA, now YCJA. I think that it is highly naive to believe that these 10 and 11 year olds don't understand what they are doing is wrong.

When it comes right down to it, the ones that we should be worried about are laughing at us because they know that what they are doing is wrong and they also know that under the law there are no consequences to their actions.

What happens to the children who are under their parents guardenship, where the parent(s) have absolutely no control over the child and are scared to take control because heaven forbid they do something that they could get arrested for.

Irregardless of popular thought children are not stupid they know how to play parents, teachers, eachother and the law.


City:
Alberta
Date:
04 Apr 2003
Time:
19:59:58

Comments

I was reading everybodies comments on why 10 and 11 year olds should and should not be included and under the now YCJA, and WOW with some of the thought processes going on it's now wonder there is such strong debate.

Here are some points to consider:

First, the majority of people use the crime of murder as an indicator of why/why not include the 10 and 11 year olds. What I would like to know is how many 10 and 11 year old murders are out there and if there were that many I think they would need some massive psychiatric help as well as closed custody (sorry). Anyway the point of this is that there are more crimes out there to consider then just murder. The last time I've seen the stats violent crime was on the rise, and we also have to consider such crimes as theft, weapons possessions, etc.

Second, no where in the question is there any mention of prison. Closed custody facilities are very rarely used and generally only on those who are a "real" danger to society, we have purposely set up alternative measures for the minor crimes.

The point of the above is can we get away from the extremes for a second and take a look at reality. One of the realities that most people don't know is that 98% of those who are sent to closed custody (youth prison) for a week-end, week- two weeks do not reaffend, that is a fact. I would say those are pretty good odds, and maybe we should send more youth to closed custody facilities for a short duration and on first or second offences so that we are sending the message that there are very real consequences to your actions. Send the message early and send it strong, rather then "oh slap on the wrist, slap on the wrist, bad you, tsk tsk."

Further, there are a lot of comments on adults, and their understanding of right v. wrong, and the justice system and chids understanding of the justice system. I'm sorry to inform some of you but learning about the justice system from the news does not really teach you about the justice system. If you are not in a job related to the justice system, and not have been formally educated in the justice system, how many have you have ever seen a criminal code, let alone actually read.

Children are taught so much more, and know so much more about their Act then adults. Maybe we should have this as the thought of the day.


 

Note from S. Biss: The Grisso and Abramovitch, Higgins-Biss studies show that children have a very poor understanding of their rights. 


For stats on youth crime see the Department of justice web site.

Principal charge in majority of cases

Cases Sentenced to Custody

Administration of Justice Offences and Custody

Cases transferred to Adult System

Provincial Differences in Transfers to Adult Court

Number of Youth transfers

Rate of Bringing Cases to Youth Court

Custody Rates in Canada and the US

Children under age 12 Who Offend

 


City:
Toronto
Date:
08 Apr 2003
Time:
13:29:36

Comments

i agree


City:
Vancouver Island
Date:
08 Apr 2003
Time:
16:17:49

Comments

I think that if they are old enough to commit the crime they are old enough to face the consequences.


City:
Alberta
Date:
10 Apr 2003
Time:
16:32:04

Comments

i think that all children of the age 10 and 11 should not be punished for the action or crime committed it should be the parents of the young offenders that get the charge because if the parents can't control there own 10 or 11 year old then the should get the charge of the crime it would still be the same charge. Its not going to be an over 18 charge for the parents or jail time but the parents should be responsible for their children's actions so they should get the slap on the wrist for the crime.


City:
Brampton, ON
Date:
10 Apr 2003
Time:
19:25:55

Comments

I'm 16 years old and I believe that it is the parent's fault for youth crime. Parents should take more responsibility in controlling their child. That way, we wouldn't have all this crime. Under certain circumstances, the child should be disciplined, so i agree with the new act, but also the parents should be disciplined even more than the child.


City:
Guelph ON
Date:
13 Apr 2003
Time:
15:22:04

Comments

As a teenager myself (16), I feel that it is necessary for prosecution of children (from age 10 to 13). They should receive lesser punishments, and should never be sent to adult prison. From age 14 to 15, they should be prosecuted as adults and possibly be sent to adult prison for the most serious of crimes. From 16 and up, they should be prosecuted AND sentenced as adults. If society allows you to make conscious decisions about driving, then it is obvious that you can make conscious decisions about committing crimes. Another issue I'd like to address is that regarding "Youth Records". I believe that youth records should only be erased if the offender is 30 years of age and has not committed a criminal code offence since their first youth conviction. Time is the only tool that can be used to measure whether or not a citizen has rehabilitated since conviction.


City:
Winnipeg
Date:
14 Apr 2003
Time:
10:47:28

Comments

Children at the ages of ten (or eleven) do not understand the processes of the courts, but also, (if they have commited a serious crime) have major mental disturbances and need to be dealt with in a more psychiatric manner rather than be punished severely as criminals.


City:
Ottawa
Date:
14 Apr 2003
Time:
18:17:25

Comments

no I think that 10 and 11 year olds should be prosecuted because they are just children who are just starting to grow up. They don't know yet what is going on in the world around them!


City:
ONTARIO
Date:
15 Apr 2003
Time:
12:41:48

Comments

I have been through the YOA act a number of times with my son, and I have to admit that what I have learned is that it really doesn't do them any good. In reality all it teaches them is that they can commit a crime and virtually get away with it, or serve an amount of time in a juvie centre that is really a vacation spot. Here they eat regular meals (maybe more then they get at home for some of them), go on outings during the afternoons and evening hours once they attain a certain level. They do have chores to do and responsibilities. I believe that a lot of societies problems with the young people today came about when parents lost their right to punish their children. Think about it, back in the 60's and 70's crimes by young people were no way near as bad as they are today. Yes, today's young children are learning the rights and wrongs a lot earlier then we did and they are growing up a lot faster as well.


City:
Ontario
Date:
16 Apr 2003
Time:
07:39:58

Comments

For the past 20 years, I've worked in the correctional business. The past six years, I've worked in one of these Juvi Centers that seem like a vacation spot to some people. Granted, not all programs are the same. But I would not want to lose the right to go to the washroom without permission, or to get a glass of water without staff following me to the kitchen. I would not want to have to wait 15 minutes, when I'm thirsty, to get a drink of water because staff are too busy to take me to the kitchen. Neither would I want to be force to spend 45 minutes in my room alone twice a day, while staff write reports.

I would not want to put up with the hours of boredom because some programs are so short funded that there are no outings, no craft supplies, no sports equipment, and too few staff to ensure that I can get a glass of water or go to the washroom when I have to.

If you really think Juvi centes are a holiday, Rent a room at the Holiday Inn and spend a month in it without ever going out unless you check with me first. Then be prepared to stay in if I can't find a staff person to go with you. Remember not to take any of your favourite personal belongings with you. Many kids in Juvi Centres don't get to have their own CDs, or Walkmen, for entertainment, because they may be stolen or conflict might arise.

It's not that these facilities are not entertaining, indeed the youth entertain each other with stories of their crimes, how they committed a BNE, how they coerced some kid from school into giving them his jacket, or worse. It's not only entertaining, it's educational!

Yes, there are rules prohibiting the youth from sharing such information, but you would have to have a staff ratio of at least one staff to every youth to prevent it from happening. Then people wouldn't be so keen to sentence kids to jail because it would become too expensive.

It is true that open custody facilities are not exactly like jail. The doors are unlocked, but youth cannot step into the yard unaccompanied by staff, the doors might as well be locked. Youth are not even permitted to move from one room to another without both permission and staff accompaniment.

Not all facilities are pretty little group homes with Mom and Dad and the family dog, either. I used to work in an adult federal prison that was a more attractive setting, and a less depressing atmosphere than the youth facility I work in now. And if a youth is sentenced to secure custody, that is jail, you can't describe it any other way.

Yes, our young people are our future. They need to be disciplined, they need to know right from wrong, and they need to know that their parents care enough to want to know where they are and who they are with. They need to know that they matter and that they take priority over most everything in their parent's life. They don't need to be beaten or spanked to be disciplined. They need to be taught consistent values before the age of five, and they need to have privilages taken away when they break the rules. They need for the discipline to be consistent, the privileges can't just be taken away sometimes when they break the rules. No matter how hard it is, or how much they wear you down, you have to be consistent, until they learn that every time they do x, y will happen. The real trick is learning what privileges matter. There is no point in turning off the TV if they don't care for TV. There is no point in grounding them and letting them use the phone to contact friends. There's no consequence involve if that's the approach.

Granted, it's harder to get control, and to gain respect after they are half grown up, than it is to earn it when they are little and keep it as they grow.

I'm sorry for the rant, but I see so much of this stuff, and it just blows my mind that people want to lock our kids away. Why not just put all dogs and kids on a desert island until they turn 18?


City:
Wyoming, ON
Date:
17 Apr 2003
Time:
10:31:29

Comments

I believe that 10 and 11 year old's should be charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act because they are old enough to know that they are breaking rules. If we start charging these aged kids then maybe it will prevent them from doing it again when they are older because they remember the punishment they had from when they were younger.


City:
ontario
Date:
17 Apr 2003
Time:
16:39:24

Comments

i'm 10 and now all my friends are going to jail cause they comited a crime. 


City:
Ontario
Date:
20 Apr 2003
Time:
05:50:15

Comments

I do agree that 10 and 11 year olds are old enough to know that they are breaking rules. I also agree that these kids need to learn not to do this. It used to be the parent's job to teach this.

Most kids do not commit seriously violent offences. Of the violent crimes, with which youth are charged, and do go to jail, most are of a minor nature and do not involve a weapon. These crimes include pushing a peer on the school yard, slapping a sibling and the like. Yes, our "zero tolerance" policies are resulting in young people being incarcerated for just such activity.

It is no longer the job of the parent or the school to deal with this behaviour, the justice system is expected to raise our kids. Why not just send two year olds to jail, they need to learn not to break rules too.


City:
st. marys
Date:
23 Apr 2003
Time:
11:10:34

Comments

well, im in law right now and i say yes... 


City:
Northeast
Date:
23 Apr 2003
Time:
22:53:12

Comments

im a 14 yr old student who recently got off probation for some of the stupidest things. THIS IS WRONG! and they shouldnt be treated this way... its dumb! and mean to everyone


City:
Saskatoon
Date:
25 Apr 2003
Time:
23:31:14

Comments

If these young people are commiting these crimes, you have to wonder where they learned it from. You must take a look at the child's background before you can make an informed decision. Many of these children grew up with violence in their homes and that is what they know. If you saw your family members beating on each other day after day while growing up I'm sure that you would be making the same decisions as well. When these children get older they are told that it is wrong but they don't know any different. What we must do is try to teach these children the correct way to deal with things.


City:
Wichita
Date:
29 Apr 2003
Time:
14:58:46

Comments

I think you should give 10 and 11 year olds another chance, because not all children are like that.


City:
Wichita
Date:
29 Apr 2003
Time:
16:06:59

Comments

what do you mean 10 and 11 year olds commited a crime, what kind of crime did they commit?


City:
wichita
Date:
29 Apr 2003
Time:
16:10:02

Comments

I think that you can't go off on just what one set of 10 and 11 year olds did, you should give back, show a little annitiation.


City:
missisauga
Date:
07 May 2003
Time:
18:51:25

Comments

i certainly think that 10 and 11 year olds should be prosecuted under the youth criminal justice act. But it depends on the seriousness of their offence


City:
New Liskeard
Date:
18 May 2003
Time:
10:52:41

Comments

Young offenders are not adults and should not be punished as adults. Children have not learned enough in 10 years to make educated decisions that will affect the remainder of their life. Instead of learning about math and science they will learn about murder, rape, and mutilation from the older convicts in prison. If they are given 25 years in prison they will be released at the age of 35 knowing more about rape, murder, and mutilation than when they entered. They will be more dangerous to Canadian society then when they were 10 years old. The younger a child goes in the more prison has an effect on them. They wouldn't be able to survive 3 years inside without being affected. Young offenders in prison are used in exchange for sex, cigarettes, and anything else the lifers want. In the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom it states in section 12 that everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. By placing 10 year olds in prison they will lose that right. No 10 year old should be placed with dangerous criminals, murderers, or rapists. Also, for every person in prison it costs tax payers $71 000 per year. If all young offenders were placed in prison the number of inmates would rise dramatically as will the taxes of Canadian Citizens. Obviously they know right from wrong, but they do not know the full impact of their actions. Instead of placing them in prison, we should put them in correctional institutes, rehab, and counselling. Places that allow them to be protected and to help them improve. Because this is our youth and it is our duty to protect them.


City:
Walla Walla, WA
Date:
22 May 2003
Time:
13:55:12

Comments

I believe that no child of 10 or 11 years should be prosecuted under the YOA or YCJA. Think about it. The kids would be between 4th and 6th grades! They don't know what they're doing. I believe 14-18 year old is the space for the YOA and the YCJA. You know what is happening, and self restraint should have kicked in by then. It's crazy to send children that young to jail, and they aren't going to understand legal processes, etcetera. Oh, and a note to the person from Winnipeg, Congrats! Most ten year olds aren't as mature as you were.


City:
Ithaca Ny
Date:
29 May 2003
Time:
17:05:49

Comments

Yes i think children should go to jail i think they should be prosecuted along with 12 and 13 year olds. Unless the child has a past filled with abuse and misery


City:
Kamloops
Date:
03 Jun 2003
Time:
22:30:32

Comments

We are 18. Everyone is commenting on how 10 and 11 year olds know right from wrong, so if they commit murder they should be tried as adults. So a child who is 10 murders and is convicted of second degree murder. He goes to jail for max. 10 years before parole. Let's say he makes parole. Now he's 20 years old, has lost his childhood -half his life so far- and the ability to survive in society. That is, he is so used to being institutionalized that he cannot function properly in society. What then? The only life skills he knows are the criminal ones he has learned in prison.

How does this benefit him and other young offenders? They need another chance to change their life. So, no, we do not think 10-11 year olds should be tried as adults.


City:
Windsor Ontario
Date:
11 Jun 2003
Time:
02:22:31

Comments

I am 13. When I was 10, I commited theft,which I regret. I got a criminal record and I was not put in jail or anything like that, but i was arrested and taken out of the store. You kno how people say that when you get a criminal record when you are young, it clears when you reach a age of I think 16 or 18? Well I was wondering if FOR SURE that record will clear. And at what age? 

Editors note: There is no provision in the YOA or YCJA for the record to be purged or destroyed. The police may keep it indefinitely depending on their records policy. It may be with you for life. Contact a lawyer to write to the local police. 



Revised: 09 Dec 2010 11:43:23 -0500 .