To What Extent is the Justice System Fair and Equitable for Youth?

How do Canada’s justice system and the Youth
Criminal Justice Act attempt to treat young offenders
fairly and equitably?
 Imagine you saw the following news bulletin:
 To all Canadian citizens:
 Effective immediately, a new law has been established
by the federal government to curtail the increase of
youth crime, particularly gang violence, in Canada.
 All youth, ages 12–17, will be required to inform their local
government agent about any travel outside of their
community. This is to reduce the problems related to the
recent rise of gang violence in Canada. It is the belief of the
federal government that youth are central to this issue. The
gangs are training youth to move illegal goods from area to
 The controlled movement of youth should assist in
the reduction of violence and contact of gangs
from community to community. Please be advised
that this new law will be in place indefinitely.
 The Government of Canada
 Consider your initial reaction to this bulletin.
 You may be questioning how fair this new law is; the
idea that not every citizen in Canada is treated the
 Or, you might be concerned about the law being
equitable, taking into account that this new law
affects all youth, even those who have nothing to do
with gangs.
 What do you think fair and equitable mean?
 Let’s look at some multimedia to help your
 What is fair and equitable?
 Would you accept the decision of the federal
government and follow the new law? Is it fair and
equitable? Are there other options that you might be
able to consider?
Justice System for Youth
 Imagine this scenario:
 Two youth are caught committing the same crime. The first
youth remains anonymous when the crime appears on the
front page of the local newspaper. The second youth has
both a picture and a name published on the front page of
another local newspaper.
 How these events will affect both the identity and future
quality of life of these two young offenders?
 A very important part of governance in Canada is the
justice system.
 An important part of creating laws is ensuring that
they are fair and equitable for all Canadians. The
Supreme Court ensures laws are just and fair and do
not infringe on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
 Protecting youth is an important part of Canada’s
justice system. The Youth Criminal Justice Act was
created to deal with youth who break the law, whereas
adult offenders are tried under the criminal code.
 Let’s find out your thoughts on youth justice before we
get into the chapter by completing a prequiz!
 In this chapter, we will discuss how the Justice
System is fair, equitable, and how it impacts identity
and quality of life. Specifically, we will look at the
YCJA, since it directly relates to you.
 Justice System = institutions and procedures for
applying laws in society.
 How effectively does it protect society, the innocent,
and ensure those who break the law face proper
Let’s think…
 What do you know about the justice system?
 Think about TV court dramas. What are some plot
 Think about how justice in these plots are portrayed.
 Do you think they are accurate interpretations?
 Do you think these examples have fair, just or equitable
 Read pg 57 in your textbook. Be prepared to answer
the three questions on the page.
What is the intention of the
Youth Criminal Justice Act?
 The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) replaced former
legislation dealing with youth crime, the Young
Offenders Act, in 2003. Generally, the YCJA focuses on
rehabilitation of young criminals but also carries
heavier punishment for youth convicted of serious and
violent crimes. The YCJA aims to help young people
who get into trouble with the law to understand how
their actions affect other people and deter them from
committing crimes again.
True Story
 Look at the picture at the bottom of pg 60. What do
you think would be fair and just consequences?
 Read pages 61-63 in your textbook about a girl who gets
 Prepare point form thoughts based on the question at
the end of pg 63.
Did you think of…
 Pg 63:
 Recognition that what she did could have led to far more
serious consequences, such as jail time and a record.
 Had she received a record, many of the rights we take for
granted, such as being about the travel to other
countries, would be taken away.
 Life lessons include being aware of the consequences of
your actions. One seemingly small mistake can have
repercussions for a lifetime.
Comparing youth justice and
adult justice.
 Youths are treated differently than adults by Canada’s
justice system. All youth who come into conflict with the
law are dealt with under the under the Youth Criminal
Justice Act (YCJA). All adults must face the law as it is
defined in the Criminal Code of Canada.
 These two laws have similarities and differences. The
consequences for offenders are meant to be fair and
Comparing youth justice and
adult justice.
 Read page 64. Using a Venn diagram, compare the
YCJA and the criminal code of Canada.
 Answer the two BTQ on the page.
Did you think of…
 Is a separate justice system needed?
 Young people do not understand what they are doing in
the same way adults do.
 Putting young people in jail with older criminals does
not help them change for the better. It not only
jeopardizes their well-being, but can lead to acquiring
habits that would affect them as an adult.
Did you think of…
 How would a criminal record affect your quality of life
and identity?
 A record can permanently bar you from some jobs,
volunteer positions, and travel to some countries.
 You might not be able to become a (lawyer, teacher,
police officer) as you would like.
 Some people might not want to be your friend any
Factors that determine
 Look on pgs 66-67. Make a list of all the people
involved in making sure that justice for youth is
equitable. Include their roles.
Let’s look at another flow chart here.
1. Complete the three BTQs on pgs 66-67.
2. Read pg 68. Summarize the main factors in
determining consequences. Answer the BTQ.
3. Read pg 69 and complete the BTQ.
Did you think of…
 Pg 66; Two crimes; same might be consequences?
 I think it would be unfair if two offences were not
treated equally.
 I recognize that people are different so the decisions may
vary, based on personalities of authorities, where they
live, how the community feels about justice.
 Young people live in different areas of the country. The
circumstances of a young offender living in the Yukon
might be more difficult than someone living in Banff.
What would best help each offender would be very
important in the decision.
Did you think of…
 Pg 66; Is it fair and equitable justice?
 Canadians are more concerned about rehabilitating
young offenders than punishing them.
 Justice can involve many other professionals, not just
police officers, lawyers, and judges. There are social
workers, mental health workers, Elders, and volunteers
who help rehabilitate young people.
 Did you note that this system gives more rights to the
young offender than to the victim?
What are the objectives of the
 Read about the main objectives of the YCJA on pg 70.
Who does each objective affect the most: young
offenders, victims, or everyone in society? Why?
Create a chart like the one below to organize and
reflect on your ideas:
Who it Affects
the Most
Reasons Why
Are the consequences
 Let’s think…
 Let’s look at the graph on pg 71 and answer the main
 What further questions would you like to ask about
this chart?
 What about rural vs. urban crime?
 What about the number of offences based by age?
 What are the types of crimes youth are committing?
Are the consequences
 Turn to pgs 72-73. Four newspaper articles are
represented here.
 In your row, decide who is going to read which article.
 Identify the MAIN POINT of the article.
 Answer the BTQ for your article.
Are the consequences
 Lets read and take point form notes about a 12 year
old girl who was convicted of killing her family.
Teen receives sentence for killings
Teen gets more freedom
 Do you think the consequences were fair and
appropriate for the conviction?
 Do you think her name should be released? Then? Now?
Reading Political Cartoons
 They reveal an opinion about a topic.
 Seen as a persuasive way of communicating.
 Most cartoons attempt to use humor about serious
topics within politics.
 Political cartoons focus around:
-public figures
-government decisions
-breaking news events
Reading Political Cartoons
 Cartoons establish situations
 They exaggerate aspects of events to make a point
about certain issues.
 Cartoons portray a message the author is trying to get
 Let’s look at the political cartoon on pg 74.
 What is the cartoon suggesting?
 How do you know? What are the clues?
 Search for a political cartoon on an issue in the news.
Be prepared to explain:
 The background of the issue
 What the cartoon is showing
 Summarize the cartoon in one sentence
 Some resources to use:
 Edmonton Journal
; click on Online Reference Center
YCJA and You
 SO….How does the Youth Criminal Justice Act protect
 The Youth Criminal Justice Act protects young people
who commit a crime. The act ensures that agencies
and officials in the justice system provide fair and
equitable justice. The main objectives of the act are to
reduce crime and provide justice for the youth, the
victims, and for the community as a whole.
 How the police or the court system determines the
consequences for a young offender has an influence on
his or her identity and quality of life. Ensuring that
youth are given a chance to redeem themselves in as
many cases as possible is an important aspect of the
 Let’s check our knowledge about the YCJA by playing
some games!
Video time!
Let’s watch the video on Youth Justice; A New Approach.

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