The Young Offenders Act

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The Young Offenders Act

The federal government of Canada fifteen years ago, in 1984, the Liberal party changed the Juvenile Delinquents Acts to the Youth Offenders Act to have a “More human approach to the rights of young people before the law”(Leschild and Jaffe, 8:1991). In the present such as Premier, Mike Harris, of Ontario wants the federal government of Canada to scrap the Young Offenders Act. In 1999, the same party that came up with the act is making majors changes to the act. This report will look at the young offenders act at the present time, look at why kids commit crime, what is being done to improve the act, what has the province done towards teenagers and also a look at the United Sates youth system.


The YOA the Young Offenders Act, which replaced the 75 years old Juvenile Delinquents Act in 1984, came into effect because since the courts where acting in the best interest of the children, little attention was paid to the rights of the children (Dickinson et al, 1996: 403). This had to be changed because of the new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom which was passed in 1982 stated that in section 15 that “equality before the law without discrimination based on age ”(Dickinson and others, 1996:744). The changes that were made to the YOA were that age that a child under the age of 11 could not be held criminal responsible. While between the age of 12-17 he or she could be held partial criminal responsible. Once you reached the age of 18, an adult you were full criminally responsible (Dickinson, 404:1996). If a young offender is sent to court the detail of the crime may be published, but the young person’s name or a young witness’ name could not be identified. The reason for this was for young people to have another chance in life if they screw up and also to protect a young person’s identity especially a witness (Justice Canada, 19:1988).


Why do kids commit crime, they are many answers but are there any correct answers to that question. Andree Ruffo is a youth court judge in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. She believes that kids commit crime and have to appear in court because of expressing themselves or trying to tell someone that their something wrong with their life, or their needs are not being met. She also feels that parents have a lot of problems on their own as she stated that “M...

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...en cutting the number of new crimes committed by teenagers as much as 70%. The provincial government is now using this program. This program is known as MultiSystemic Therapy or MST, which is working the problem with the troubled kid. You are in the kids home almost every second day and Kelly McDonnell, a clinical supervisor for Peel area said, “You are in there. You are getting to the bottom of the problem”(Tyler, 1998: Internet).


The Youth Offenders Act is a hot issue. On any given day you can not open up a newspaper or turn on a T.V and not find an article or a broadcast about the Young Offenders Act. The government has started to make changes, but could more changes be done or even faster? . The question will these changes make it better or turn it into a worst system then it is at the present, only the future will tell. Who is to blame for the youth offenders of this country could it be the parents who sometime do not have too much control of them or who do not care or known what their kids are doing are could we blame the media for influencing their minds. Let put a stop to youth crime and help these children before they get into trouble with the law.

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