The predecessor to the YCJA was the Youth Offenders Act (YOA), enacted in 1984. Entering the new millennium, there were numerous concerns about the effectiveness of the YOA. There were large numbers of minor cases going to court, of which a majority resulted in a sentence of imprisonment. (Doob & Sprott, 2005). By the beginning of the 21st century, Canada had “one of the lowest rates of youth diversion and one of the highest rates of youth cust...
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...mportant function of keeping youth out of the formal criminal justice system. The more punitive turn in sentencing procedures has been demonstrated to have a substantial negative impact on youth offenders, to a substantial extent that contradicts the “tough-on-crime” approach that the Harper administration enforced. While the goal of reducing the numbers of youth in incarceration was effectively achieved during the first decade of implementation, the original intent YCJA was substantially weakened by the Harper amendments. Youth justice issues remain controversial in Canada, especially in regards to sentencing procedures (Bala et. al, 2009). The fine line between punitive sentencing and the proper positive use of alternative community and extrajudicial measures is difficult to discern, yet the original Youth Criminal Justice Act was a step in the right direction.
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