There should be no special treatment for convicted young offenders. They should be treaded as adults.
In the year of 1982, Parliament passed the Young Offenders Act (YOA). Effective since 1984, the Young Offenders Act replaced the most recent version of the Juvenile Delinquents Act. The Young Offenders Act's purpose was to shift from a social welfare approach to making youth take responsibility for their actions. It also addressed concerns that the paternalistic treatment of children under the Juvenile Delinquents Act did not conform to Canadian human rights legislation. The guiding principles of the Young Offenders Act include the following young people who commit offences must take responsibility for their actions. However, young people have special needs and cannot be held accountable for their illegal actions in the same way as adults. Society has a right to be protected from offences committed by youth. However, where possible, it is in society's best interest to address youth crime through social and community based solutions, rather than incarceration. Children have legal rights and freedoms, including those outlined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Parents have the right to be notified of all court proceedings affecting their child. Major Differences between the Young Offenders Act and the Juvenile Delinquents Act The legalistic approach of the Young Offenders Act represents a major change in legislation dealing with the treatment of juvenile delinquents. ·
Instead of being charged with delinquency, children are charged with violating a specific statute or section of the Criminal Code. The sentence should reflect the seriousness of the crime. ·
The Young Offenders Act's authority does not extend to provincial laws and statutes. In addition, it is no longer possible to transfer jurisdiction over certain cases to the provinces. ·
It discontinues the practice of charging children with "status offences" that are not illegal for adults. ·
It does not allow for indeterminate sentencing. Under the original 1984 Young Offenders Act, the maximum sentence for crimes that would not be punishable by a life sentence if committed by an adult was two years. The maximum sentence for crimes that would incur a life sentence if committed by an adult was three years. ·
It raises the minimum age for charging a child from seven to twelve. ·
It legislates the use of alternative forms of sentencing for youth, such as making restitution or performing a community service. Although judges made frequent use of alternative sentencing under the Young Offenders Act, their authority to do so was not spelled out in legislation. ·
It establishes the right of youth to due process, such as the right to appeal and the right to legal counsel. ·
It establishes a policy with respect to fingerprinting and photographing youth, and the disposition of youth court records ·
It abolishes the offence of contributing to juvenile delinquency. Policymakers believed charging adults with this offence conflicted with the idea of making youth take responsibility for their actions When is a Young Offender an Adult? Maximum Age Limits
Under the Young Offenders Act, the maximum age at which a youth could be prosecuted as a juvenile varied from province to province, and between genders in certain cases (Alberta set the maximum age at sixteen for boys, and eighteen for girls). By contrast, the Young Offenders Act legislated a uniform maximum age of seventeen across Canada. The Young Offenders Act applied to all youth who committed a crime before their eighteenth birthday. Due to disagreement between individual provinces and the federal government on what the maximum age should be, this section of the Young Offenders Act was not implemented immediately. It came into effect in April 1985, to make the Young Offenders Act comply with the Equality provisions outlined in section 15 of the Charter. The Young Offenders Act did not change the minimum...
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