Canadian Justice: The Youth Criminal Justice Act Essay

Canadian Justice: The Youth Criminal Justice Act Essay

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Youth within the Canadian justice system lose their identities. Their age places them under the jurisdiction of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The criminal charges identify them as criminals and their “’character traits’ … label [them] for society” (1957:45). Such procedures as pre-sentencing reports, encapsulate their history and reduce the youth to “object[s] of a more or less easy absorption” (1957:45). It is this pre-sentencing report compiled by a probation worker that gives direction to the judge in determining a sentence. A probation officer will interview the youth, their families and friends and will create a picture of the character of the accused and how they plan to reform. This is used to help the judge determine sentencing but it is also used as a means to identify the character of the youth and his subsequent labelling and treatment in the future. This documentation will follow them throughout their youth within any governmental agency. Youth are misled by those within the system, not for their own good, but for what those within the system believe is in their best interest. This includes such things as plea bargains, chemical restraints and permanent labels; all of which rob them of their voices and their identities.
A risk-needs assessment is also developed by the probation officer that follows the youth to their custodial facility, group homes and community intervention programs. The risk-needs assessment was developed in the 1980s and is founded on an ideology that has three beliefs. The first is that criminal behaviour can be accurately predicted and the higher the risk means the more treatment that should be provided. The second is that this behaviour has triggers that cause it and these should be the focu...


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Canadian Mental Health Association. n.d. "Fast facts about mental illness in youth." Retrieved from http://www.cmha.ca/bins/content_page.asp?cid=6-20-23-44 (accessed March 3, 2014).

Ogrodnik, L.
2010. "Child and youth victims of police-reported violent crime — 2008
(Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics Profile Series)". Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.

Roumeliotis, Ioanna. “Canada’s Crime Rate in 2011 lowest since 1972.” CBCNews, July 24,2012. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/canada-s-crime-rate-in-2011-lowest-since-1972-1.1166759 (accessed February 22, 2014).

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