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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 134515 Find in a Library
Title: Assessing the Needs of Young Offenders (From Young Offenders Act: A Revolution in Canadian Criminal Justice, P 173-185, 1991, Alan W Leschied, Peter G Jaffe, et al, eds. -- See NCJ-134506)
Author(s): G A Awad
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: University of Toronto Press
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2W8, Canada
Sale Source: University of Toronto Press
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Suite 700
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Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: Canada's Young Offenders Act has provisions that clearly define the role of mental health providers in assessing the needs of juvenile offenders, but these provisions are unduly restrictive and should be changed to give the needs of young persons equal status to their legal rights.
Abstract: The law introduced a new philosophy of juvenile justice by emphasizing legalistic issues and devoting only 3 of its 100 pages to the assessment of a youth's needs. These pages specify the purpose of the medical and psychological assessment, when and what type of an assessment to order, who is qualified to do an assessment, the length of time allowed for the assessment, to whom the report may be disclosed, and other provisions. Most clinicians find working under the new law to be quite different from doing so under the previous law and from their other clinical work. Instead of being part of a team, they are more likely than before to be viewed as an adversary and to be cross-examined. In addition, the lack of a correlation between the clinical findings and the dispositions has produced a sense of futility. Therefore, the law should be modified to increase the emphasis on needs and to specify a range of useful treatment options. However, these changes are unlikely, and clinicians instead must become familiar with the law and use its sections on probation and secure custody to meet the needs of juvenile offenders. 7 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile psychological evaluation
Index Term(s): Canada; Foreign juvenile justice systems; Juvenile codes; Mentally ill offenders; Needs assessment
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