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John Muncie and Barry Goldson have done a fine job of bringing together a group of commentators who know the inner workings of juvenile justice and what it will take to change the current law and order model. A book that is required reading for practitioners, professors, policy makers, researchers, and students concerned about the bankrupt state of juvenile justice and willing to consider new ideas and directions' - Tony Platt, California State University, Sacramento. He is the author of Youth and Crime 4th edition, Sage, , and he has published widely on issues in comparative youth justice and childrens rights, including the co-edited companion volumes Youth Crime and Justice and Comparative Youth Justice Sage, Welfare in Crisis?

Du kanske gillar. Youth Justice John Muncie Inbunden. Youth and Crime John Muncie Inbunden. Permanent Record Edward Snowden Inbunden. Spara som favorit. Skickas inom vardagar. Comparative Youth Justice will be of interest to all criminologists concerned with comparative penal policy and will be essential to all scholars of youth justice' - Professor Tim Newburn, London School of Economics and Political Science and President of the British Society of Criminology ' Comparative Youth Justice is what we need in an era of hardening social policies and irresponsible political demagoguery: thoughtful critiques, comparative analysis, and a commitment to the rights of youth.

Several patterns and recurring themes emerged during our research. Many western nations developed separate youth justice systems at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Juvenile delinquency, welfare, justice and therapeutic interventions: a global perspective

In Canada this was evident with the passage of the Juvenile Delinquents Act of The forces present in Canada at the time were also visible in other western nations. These included two competing concerns: i the notion that children were different from adults and needed care and protection; and ii rates at which youth were being charged with crimes were rising and the authorities were under pressure to respond.

After World War II, the child welfare and crime control concerns which had sparked the introduction of the original youth justice legislation re-emerged. The rates at which youth were being charged with crimes were rising, prompting calls for increased crime control measures. At the same time, child welfare advocates pressed for a rehabilitative approach.

These forces led many western nations to revise their youth justice legislation. In Canada, this was evident with the passage of the Young Offenders Act in The calls for change, however, did not end with the introduction of new legislation.

Public concerns over rising youth crime and youth violence helped to politicize youth justice. The pressure for change did not end there, since amendments to this legislation are currently being considered. The Youth Criminal Justice Act intended to reduce the use of custody for minor offences, since Canada had one of the highest youth custody rates in the western world. At the same time, the Act includes harsher measures for those young people convicted of serious and repeat offending.

Interviews with provincial and federal youth justice representatives and a review of available materials indicate that since the Youth Criminal Justice Act was implemented, the number of youth charged has decreased substantially.

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Comparative Youth Justice

So, too, has the number of youth receiving custodial sentences. Additional resources have been directed at community alternatives for youth, including community service orders and restorative justice measures. As well, more resources have been devoted to young people in the youth justice system with mental health and substance abuse problems. An analysis of police and youth court statistics shows that since the mid s, the rates at which youth have been charged with crime have been slowly decreasing, despite slight increases in and At the same time, several tragic incidents of youth violence, coupled with sensationalized media coverage, have politicized the issue of youth violence far beyond what is supported by the statistical evidence.

The media frenzy has been driven by events occurring in a few major urban centres, including Toronto. In many ways, this has led to the demonization of youth.

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Police charging practices have changed considerably under the YCJA. More and more young people are being dealt with through extrajudicial measures and sanctions, and the number of youth referred to court has also dropped. This indicates that the police and Crown prosecutors are focusing on more serious crimes. We also observed a fundamental shift in the sentencing of youth under the YCJA, with custodial sentences decreasing.

However, a large number of youth are still being given custodial sentences for non-violent crimes, despite the YCJA provisions regarding the use of custody. The patterns observed in Canada are similar to those we noted in other western nations.


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Several key trends are visible, which have had a profound impact on the nature and operation of youth justice systems in these countries. First, there has been an uneasy relationship between child welfare and crime control in youth justice legislation since separate youth justice systems first appeared. The emphasis in youth justice has alternated between the two approaches, depending on the social, economic and political climates of the countries involved. Second, increasing rates for youth charged with crimes have led to calls for more emphasis on crime control and harsher punishments.

This has resulted in amendments, and in some cases, the introduction of new youth justice legislation. At the same time, public perceptions of the nature and extent of youth crime have been higher than is warranted by the statistical evidence. This, too, has had an important impact on youth justice. Again, the nature of the consensus on these issues has varied in relation to the social and political context of particular jurisdictions. Fourth, there has been a steady move away from the child welfare approach that inspired early youth justice legislation toward a more adversarial, criminal court approach.

This has come about largely in response to concerns over youth violence. As a result, there is pressure to move toward harsher and more punitive sentences. In Canada, this has been seen in the creation of longer sentences and presumptive offences for serious and repeat offenders. However, some jurisdictions, including the United States, are beginning to move away from this approach, since harsher sentences have not resulted in the types of outcomes that were expected. Interestingly, many jurisdictions are adopting a more holistic approach and developing a comprehensive continuum of services, including community-based treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration.

This reflects a recognition that they must address the root causes of crime rather than respond only to its symptoms. As well, they are putting additional resources into mental health and drug abuse treatment programs for youth. In Canada, we discovered that many of the young people in conflict with the law are facing serious mental health and substance abuse issues. Fifth, in most of the jurisdictions we examined, youth justice has been increasingly politicized. This is due to both public concerns over perceived increases in youth crime and youth violence and to sensationalized media accounts of tragic but isolated incidents.

In the United States, for example, this has led a number of jurisdictions to lower their minimum age waivers so that harsher punishments are available for younger people. In Canada, public fears have kept youth justice near the top of the policy agenda. This has led to a significant public and political reaction, which has reverberated throughout the justice system.

The data reviewed in this paper indicate that this is a complex problem requiring careful analysis. It is too easy to define the problem on the basis of what is going on in only a few large cities. In Canada, the YCJA has led to harsher punishments for serious and violent young offenders as well as fewer charges, fewer custodial sentences, and an increase in the availability and use of community alternatives for those involved in less serious offences.

However, the pressure for harsher and more punitive responses has not abated. Such a move is being resisted in most countries by the people who work with and provide services to young people. They understand that we must address the root causes of crime if we are to have a positive impact on youth crime and violence. This is one of four papers commissioned in the fall of by the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence. This paper provides an overview of how youth justice legislation in Canada has developed since the s.

This is compared with approaches in other countries England and Wales, France, the United States, and Scandinavia with broadly comparable systems of justice. A synopsis is also provided of the youth justice approaches used in recent years in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. The specific focus here was on the way these provinces have designed and implemented their youth justice systems and on what is known about victimization rates, reported youth violence levels, and recidivism rates in these jurisdictions.

Finally, these four jurisdictions were contrasted with one another and with available information from other jurisdictions with respect to issues surrounding youth violence. It is clear that during the time period in question, Canada's youth justice legislation has undergone a number of significant changes.

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In the years that followed, several amendments were made to this legislation, until it too was replaced, in , by the current Youth Criminal Justice Act YCJA. In the process, youth justice in Canada has been fundamentally altered.

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Despite two new pieces of youth justice legislation since and several amendments along the way, debate over youth justice in Canada has continued unabated for over three decades. Many of the issues that led to the original calls for change are still with us today.

Juvenile justice in Australia Part 1

Ironically, while those young people charged with the most serious crimes are being dealt with more severely, the legislation has also led to efforts to provide a broader and more comprehensive set of community-based alternatives for youth involved in less serious offences. In the process, we examine the context within which these changes were made, the issues driving the changes and the intended outcomes.

We also consider research and statistical evidence related to the operation of the youth justice system, to try to better understand the issues that have influenced the ongoing public debate over youth justice during this period. Building on this analysis of the history of legislative change, a brief overview is provided in Part II of how various Canadian provinces have implemented the YCJA.


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We examine, in particular, what they have done in response to concerns over youth violence and consider the strategies that have been developed to prevent young people from becoming violent in the first place. This review is followed by a short description of a few initiatives supported by Justice Canada aimed at reducing youth violence.

An assessment is also provided of statistical information available on the operation of the Canadian youth justice system, including police and youth court data related to charges, dispositions, recidivism, and diversion. We conclude with an assessment of what we have learned in the process of completing this work. In particular, we reflect on the nature of the changes that have been made to youth justice legislation since the s; the impact they have had on the youth justice system; and the implications that can be drawn regarding the future of youth justice in this country.

In order to successfully complete this research paper, a multi-faceted approach was used to gather the different types of information required. The specific activities undertaken are outlined below.

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They included the following:. The core activity of this project involved a focused review of relevant research literature and related documents on the youth justice system in Canada and in comparable jurisdictions. This literature review was based on our own papers and reports as well as our extensive collection of materials related to youth justice. As well, a search was conducted of electronic data bases available through Carleton University and of federal and provincial government youth justice-related websites.

A series of in-depth interviews was completed with key informants from Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, as well as from Justice Canada. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with federal and provincial youth justice representatives, law enforcement officers, and youth service providers. The interviews with the provincial and federal youth justice representatives lasted from sixty to ninety minutes, while those with law enforcement officers and youth service providers lasted approximately thirty to forty-five minutes.