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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98081 Find in a Library
Title: Assumptions and Implications of New Canadian Legislation for Young Offenders
Journal: Canadian Criminology Forum  Volume:7  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1984)  Pages:1-19
Author(s): S A Reid; M Reitsma-Street
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 19
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This analysis of Canada's 1981 Young Offenders Act (YOA) concludes that the law reflects assumptions from three somewhat contradictory models of juvenile justice and discusses the implications of these contradictions in terms of the delicate balancing of governing principles and the struggle among individuals and bureaucracies empowered to implement the act.
Abstract: Following a review of the YOA's legislative history, the paper presents four sets of assumptions regarding man, society, and the purpose of juvenile justice policy which are termed the crime control, the justice, the welfare, and the community change models. Values assumed by the YOA's major provisions are analyzed, based on rating by 48 university students, and then compared to these four sets of assumptions. These responses indicate that the YOA reflects the crime control, justice, and welfare models. For example, while the law insists on a uniform maximum age jurisdiction and due process protections, it leaves to the provinces' discretion whether alternative measures to formal court proceedings, community and treatment-oriented dispositions, and review boards will be provided. The inclusions of three models of juvenile justice may avoid the unintended consequences of the extremes of any one model and provide something for everyone. Also, the flexibility of several sets of assumptions may encourage creative responses to individual cases. On the other hand, there are no priority assumptions in the YOA, no points of resolution for the persons and agencies responsible for administering the act, and many possibilities for discretion. The current climate of economic restraint and conservatism may create additional difficulties in implementing the YOA. Without defined priorities, the crime control provisions which focus on the State's responsibility to maintain order probably will be emphasized in practice. Scenarios for prioritizing the YOA's principles and avoiding such problems are suggested. Charts, footnotes, and over 50 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Canada; Juvenile codes; Juvenile justice reform; Legislative impact
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