The Great Youth Criminal Justice Act Debate

The Act went into force April 1, 2003

YCJA

YOA

Criminal Code

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

January 2004

Resolved that: 

The use of conferences under the YCJA (see sections 18 to 19) will be a farce.

We have no significant history of using this method of dealing with crime in Canada. Members of the conferences will have little or no experience in substantive criminal law, criminal procedure, sentencing principles or rehabilitation. Young persons will not respect this procedure and will consider it a joke. This is a very weird mix of social work and criminal law. The conference members will provide the young criminal with useless information making them think they are the victim instead of holding them responsible for criminal acts. 

Will using conferences and social work help a young criminal be a better person? 


City:
Mississauga ON
Date:
27 October 2003
Time:
12:28:12

Comments

Using conferences and social work will not make the criminal a better person, it will make them feel sorry for themselves and make them think that they are the ones who are the victims. That will not at all be a punishment for what these individuals have done and it will definitely not be wise to deal with criminals this way where it will make them feel innocent and use the defence that there might be something wrong with them and how they are not responsible for their actions because they were not thinking straight or otherwise.


City:
Belfast, PEI
Date:
13 November 2003
Time:
12:56:17

Comments

This is a step in the wrong direction. It's high time that we started getting tougher with young punks, not softer. The bleeding heart, liberal child welfare advocates still have too much control over our youth justice system. It has to stop.


City:
Missisauga, Ontario
Date:
27 November 2003
Time:
20:37:42

Comments

Hi, it's my first time here and I'm in a grade 12 law class. In my opinion I'm going to have to agree. This YCJA is too soft. The truth is youth persons are becoming too violence and creating more crime. The solution is harsher punishment and rehabilitation. Now I hear about the 12- year old killed by two 15 and one 16 year old. That is sick they should be punished in adult court because they had both the mens rea and actus reus of bring a knife to the house that automatically conforms to a murder planning.

Note from the editor: If the behavior was automatic how could there be mens rea? Who brought the knife? Did one know the other was bringing it? How do you know one of them brought a knife to the house? Was the knife carried for protection? Why not manslaughter rather than murder? Do you believe everything you read/hear about in the media? Was it a game? Was it planned and deliberate? Maybe we should let the court/jury decide?


City:
Dalmeny Sask
Date:
03 December 2003
Time:
12:27:19

Comments

If the kids are already bad and doing stuff that they aren't supposed to do, then they may have their mind set on being bad and may never want to quit. unless we enforce something that will change their mind.

Note from the editor: Are you suggesting that badness is genetic? Or that minds are set at an early stage? Are you suggesting that we genetically or behaviorally modify such persons through forced treatment? Or does the criminal law respond with punishment that matches the crime; historical origin an "eye for an eye", rather than execution for the theft of bread.


City:
Waterford
Date:
12 February 2004
Time:
19:18:47

Comments

Yes, it will . For a youth criminal who wants to change to become a better person .If they don't want to change and continue with previous crimes then the social work hasn't necessarily failed but rather the youth is choosing harsher punishment.


City:
London, Ont.
Date:
16 February 2004
Time:
18:00:52

Comments

It appears that no one who has written comments on conferences so far has actually read sections 18 an 19 of the YCJA. For the sake of discussion, I'll stick to the role conferences can have in advising sentencing decisions, since other comments appear to deal with sentencing issues.

The idea that conferences are "softer" is nonsense. A conference isn't either softer or harsher, it's just another way of gathering information and engaging the perspectives of different people, with the same thing resulting at the end: a sentence.

A conference does not replace a sentence under the YCJA. And, a young person cannot be sentenced by a conference under the YCJA. A conference can, at most, recommend a sentence to a youth justice court judge. The conference simply allows more people to become involved in the discussion. A conference can make a recommendation that is "soft," "harsh," or anything in between.

Far too many people confuse conferences with restorative justice measures, and in particular victim-offender mediation conferences. That is not the role that conferences play in relation to sentencing decisions under the YCJA.

Please, read the YCJA before reaching conclusions about conferences. There is no reason to believe that conferences represent a softening of youth justice legislation.


City:
Sackville, Nova Scotia
Date:
29 February 2004
Time:
09:04:59

Comments

Are you guys half simple? No REALLY bad teenager would listen to the cops if they just went lighter on us. I'm doing an essay on this right now, and the lack of respect for the cops is despicable already! You want to take away the fact that they already sucked out most of it. I think not. Personally, even speaking as one of the people the YCJA affects, we should all be tried as adults. Supposedly, we are "the worst generation"  so there is way more reason to act stronger on us. the 3 point system in California didn't work. Lets go back to our old system. Basically, you are teaching us that we can get away with murder for 3 years in a juvenile detention center. I'm only in grade 8 and I can see the the adults need to toughen up. Teenagers can get a lot worse.


City:
Waterford
Date:
20 April 2004
Time:
21:16:09

Comments

I totally agree to it being too soft. I am doing a civics project on the YCJA and find that it isn't making teens accountable for their actions. Giving them therapy isn't going to help! It's like a holiday for them sitting on a comfy chair while a shrink scribbles on a notepad. They need to be put in jail even if it is only for a short while to see where a life of crime can lead them!


City:
Cleveland
Date:
06 May 2004
Time:
19:21:06

Comments

I'm sorry to disagree with you all of you guys. But I'm a social worker, rehabilitating juveniles from being criminals to good citizens, will only help the society we live in on multiple levels. First of all, you're giving a most likely misunderstood and attention deprived child, a chance to make it right. Secondly, I don't know about Canada, but in the States, we waste too much money on our prison system, and by the time these people get out they have a mindset to hurt others. Why? Because that is all they know, from their experiences within the prisons. Also, most of these children who commit crimes ARE usually victims of crimes done to them. If you just put them away for life without a fair chance, then that is just ignorant.


City:
Maple
Date:
07 May 2004
Time:
11:04:04

Comments

I think it will.


City:
Kanata
Date:
12 May 2004
Time:
19:24:21

Comments

I am in grade 7 and in my school we are studying about the YCJA. I really don't know what the punishment is for young kids that has killed someone.


City:
The Metaverse
Date:
23 October 2004
Time:
01:35:28

Comments

I see two influences to the problem: parents and the media. Until parents are forced to become responsible for raising their kids with proper values, through legislation and serious repercussions if necessary, you will continue to see five year olds trying to drown their two year old siblings. And until media stops glorifying violence and making it "cool" to be out of control and irresponsible as well as shun, deride and completely ignore the serious issues that kids have growing up (for example, with sexuality), you will see teenagers seeking vengeance against the world for what they truly think are crimes against them. Children are not born criminals; they become criminals through subliminal teaching, through role models, and through neglect. Treat the cause and the symptoms will disappear.


City:
Peterborough
Date:
04 November 2004
Time:
12:52:45

Comments

Social work should be relegated to those who wish to change. Also, why protect the identity of young offenders? This just lets them get away with murder!


City:
mississauga
Date:
17 November 2004
Time:
17:12:08

Comments

first of all, everyone needs to calm down and maybe look at some statistics before they start ranting about youth crime. it's on the decrease so stop talking about youths being out of control. Second, no one is getting away with murder, the percentage of youths that are commiting murder is so small you are wasn't your time. Also, youth commiting murder are not getting differed custody. the whole point of conferences is to free up the courts from kids who steal packs of gum so those that do commit serious crime will get attention quickly so that they can be punished right away. I will agree that media is at fault, not for making violence look cool to youths, but for convincing all of you people that youths are so out of control by sensationalizing the few cases that do occur. All the ycja is trying to do is make the punishment fit the crime so that the possibility of reducing youth crime is in grasp. prisons don't cure youths, fact. So if you can keep a child out of prison, why not reduce the number of going in so that less children will grow up to be corrupted adults?

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Revised: 09 Dec 2010 11:29:43 -0500 .