Youth Criminal Justice

The Youth Criminal Justice Act of Canada

The Youth Criminal Justice Act was created by the Canadian Government in April 2003 for the young offenders. The Act applies to all the youth of Canada aged between 12 and 17 years that have broken the law stipulated. Once the child has turned 17, the Act is applicable to him or her until they turn 18. The Youth Criminal Justice Act summarises how the police, diversions programmes, court system and correction system will react to a young offender that has been accused of, or has broken the Youth Criminal Justice Act of Canada.

The Principles of the Act

  • It holds the youth responsible for breaking the law;
  • The youth faces supportive, yet significant consequences for his or her crime committed;
  • The youth aged between 12 and 17 years receives legal rights;
  • The society is protected through the provisions of positive solutions to youth offenders that are long-term and helpful;
  • It supports a separate justice system to young offenders and that they alone are accountable for their crimes;
  • The Act encourages the system to react quickly when a youth breaks the law; and
  • It also encourages victims, family and community to be involved when a youth has committed a crime.

Custody and Community sentences of Young Offenders

The Solicitor General and Public Security Minister are responsible for the administration of custody and community sentences. It includes the provision of programmes supporting these sentences as well as advising the court of incidents of non-compliance with sentences. Solicitor General and Public Security’s staff is also involved in the cross ministerial initiatives that involves the youth: their educational, mental and physical health, treatment and housing needs.

Community based programmes for young offenders in Canada

A network of community corrections offices provides young offenders with community based programmes. Probation officers at the community corrections offices provide supervision of the programmes to the young offenders. Young offenders undergo community based programmes when they have received bail orders, community service orders and probation, alternatively other type community sentences are supervised by the probation officers as mentioned above.

Interesting fact about Young Offenders in Canada

  • At the end of March 2007, the average number of young offenders in custody in Canada totalled 205. 
  • Aboriginal admissions as a percentage of the total number of admissions totalled 36%.