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NCJ Number: 191090 Find in a Library
Title: Juvenile Curfews: A Canadian Perspective
Journal: Children's Legal Rights Journal  Volume:21  Issue:1  Dated:Spring 2001  Pages:12-20
Author(s): R. Brian Howe Ph.D.; Katherine Covell Ph.D.
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 9
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This document provides the Canadian perspective on juvenile curfews.
Abstract: During the 1990’s, the United States established juvenile curfews of various types, including nighttime and daytime after-school restrictions. A number of municipalities in Canada adopted curfews also. Persuasive arguments have been made against curfews in the United States The argument here is that despite differences between the United States and Canada, curfews are undesirable in both countries. Youth curfews cannot be defended on legal and constitutional grounds in the United States. Based on findings in developmental psychology, the use of curfews is detrimental to the healthy social development of the child. Curfews are undesirable because they unjustly discriminate against youth from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. The growing demand for youth curfews in Canada is part of a larger “get tough” movement against young offenders. The conflict between curfew and the rights of youth as provided for both in the Canadian Charter of Rights and in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is not difficult to identify. Evidence suggests that in the general absence of juvenile curfews, the incidence of youth crime in Canada has been stable or has decreased. There are many good reasons that young people would be out of their homes during curfew hours, such as jobs, schoolwork, or extracurricular activities. It is suggested that governments should not enact curfews because they are at odds with the principle of the best interests of the child. The key developmental task for the young adolescent is the attainment of personal identity. Curfews interfere with the development of positive identity by limiting the freedom adolescents have to explore society’s range of roles, and sending a strong message that they are not trustworthy. 100 endnotes
Main Term(s): Curfew; Rights of minors
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Juvenile codes; Juvenile status offenses; Physical restraints; Police emergency procedures; Restoration of rights
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