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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74406 Find in a Library
Title: Young Offenders Bill - Destigmatizing Juvenile Delinquency?
Journal: Criminal Law Quarterly  Volume:14  Issue:2  Dated:(February 1972)  Pages:172-219
Author(s): R G Fox; M J Spencer
Date Published: 1972
Page Count: 49
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: A proposed Canadian parliamentary bill (the Young Offenders Bill) revising the process of judicial treatment of young offenders is critiqued.
Abstract: The Young Offenders Bill was formulated during a period when juvenile law in the United States showed increased emphasis on court proceedings while United Kingdom juvenile practices focused on deemphasis of court involvement. The bill redefines the grounds upon which a child may be tried in juvenile court to include breaches of Federal, provincial, or municipal laws as well as conduct such as sexual immorality and incorrigibility without differentiating between serious and minor infractions. The proposed lower limit of juvenile court jurisdiction is raised from 7 years to 10 based on the percentage of offenders convicted of serious crimes at those ages; however, age 12 represents a better lower limit based on this criterion. The bill raises the upper limit of judicial jurisdiction from 16 to 17 while continuing the provinces' power to set a maximum age of 18. This provision places an added burden on correctional programs and may cause younger juvenile offenders to be incarcerated with older juveniles convicted as adults. The proposed legislation also includes provisions for eliminating the arbitrary treatment of juveniles during trial proceedings and includes mandatory provision for notifying juveniles charged with serious offenses of their right to engage counsel. Although juvenile counsel rights might create an adversary process, the presence of counsel has helped to ensure juveniles' legal rights in systems where this practice is common. The bill has been criticized for deemphasizing social rehabilitation; however, the focus of the act is on regularizing judicial procedures while maintaining the juvenile court's rehabilitative goals. The basic problem in juvenile offenders' services is not in the mechanics of the Juvenile Offenders Act, but in the legislature's failure to implement a corollary upgrading of the Canadian Assistance plan to include Federal support for juvenile corrections. Tables and footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Canada; Incarceration; Juvenile codes; Juvenile court procedures; Juvenile courts; Juvenile rehabilitation; Laws and Statutes; Rights of minors
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