New Directions in Youth Justice

New Directions in Youth Justice teaches students the principles of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The program includes a teacher’s guide and features four modules: Law 12, Social Studies 11, Alternate/Youth-at-Risk and Adult ESL.

The program uses interactive Lessons and activities – including case studies, mock trials, sentencing hearings and community justice conferences – to help students understand in an experiential manner how the Act impacts youth.

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Law 12

The Law 12 module of New Directions in Youth Justice includes opportunities for research, debate, a simulated sentencing hearing, community justice conferences and healing circle. Case studies add interest and reality to the unit.

It’s expected the students will:

  • Evaluate law’s purposes in society
  • Describe how and why laws change and the consequences of such changes on society
  • Demonstrate and understanding of the structure and jurisdiction of the Canadian court system
  • Describe the processes involved in resolving disputes
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the duties and expectations of witnesses, jurors, litigants, court officers and interpreters
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the Victims of Crime Act and the rights of victims and services available to them
  • Demonstrate an understanding of criminal procedure
  • Analyze sentencing considerations
  • Use appropriate vocabulary to communicate legal information
  • Use information technology tools to gather, process and present legal information

The program includes seven lessons which can be taught over three-to-five days or extended over several weeks.

Social Studies 11

The Social Studies 11 module of New Directions in Youth Justice uses simulations to generate an understanding of the principles of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. By having students participate in two meaningful activities, they will become more aware of the breadth and scope of the Act.

Simulations are an excellent way to fully involve the students in gaining an appreciation of the Act. The simulations in this unit involve a conference and a mock trail. They can stand alone as distinct activities or work together as a separate unit.


The Alternate/Youth-at-Risk module of New Directions in Youth Justice uses a comic strip to increase students’ awareness and understanding of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Emphasis is placed on:

  • Changes made to the Young Offender’s Act
  • Extrajudicial measures and extrajudicial sanctions
  • Publication of young offenders in the media
  • Adult sentences for youth
  • Legal rights of youth under the Youth Criminal Justice Act

The module’s comic strip follows a character named James from 12 to 19 years of age. James is involved in the youth justice system and, eventually, the adult justice system.

Adult ESL

The Adult ESL module of New Directions in Youth Justice helps newly-arrived immigrants to BC understand the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The material is designed for a variety of English language skill levels, from pre-intermediate to upper-intermediate.

The module’s information is presented through interactive activities and readings which are followed by group discussions and writing activities as well as vocabulary and grammar exercise. The material is designed to offer flexibility. Teachers may select tasks which are suitable to their students’ levels.