Lesson 4: Youth Criminal Justice Act Introduction


Complete one of the activities for a classroom assignment.

  1. Work with a partner and another team to prepare a debate on one of the following topics, and present the debate to the class. Have the class decide who argued the topic most effectively:
    • BE IT RESOLVED that children as young as ten years old who commit serious crimes should be held responsible through the criminal justice system.
    • BE IT RESOLVED that when giving statements to police, young people should not have more protections of their rights than adults have.
    • BE IT RESOLVED that children as young as 10 should be held responsible through the criminal justice system for serious crimes.
    • BE IT RESOLVED that the law should allow youth as young as 14 to receive adult sentences for serious violent offences including murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault.
    • BE IT RESOLVED that the media should be able to publish the names of all youth convicted of offences.
    • BE IT RESOLVED that criminal trials are a better way of preventing crime and protecting the public than extrajudicial measures or extrajudicial sanctions.
    • BE IT RESOLVED that parents should be financially responsible for crimes committed by their children.
    • BE IT RESOLVED that special consideration should be given to youths who commit crimes if they have disabilities such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
  2. Do you think there are problems in life that put some youth at a higher risk of offending than others? If so, describe these problems and how they lead to youth crime. If not, explain what you believe causes youth crime.
  1. What type of programs could be set up to help youth who are committing crimes? Look in your own community to see what type of programs exist.
  1. The YCJA encourages the use of options other than going to court. For example, the youth may have to apologize, attend counselling, or do some community or personal service to repair the harm. Do you think this is a good idea? Explain the advantages and disadvantages.