How are the Youth Criminal Justice Act Consequences for Young Offenders?
How are the Youth Criminal Justice Act consequences? This may be a question that is never going to be answered. There are many sides, opinions, and views to issues, and this is certainly one of them. One party, usually victims or their relatives, states that it is much too “soft” on offenders, claiming they’re getting off easy. On the other side of the argument, you have that party claiming kids are getting too harsh a sentence over insignificant things. Then, you have people who think everything is already up to par. They think that the consequences on young offenders are neither too harsh, nor too soft. The latter is where I stand in this debate. I believe that, a) new, “fresh” bills are only because politicians want seats in government, b), what we already have has been perfected over many decades of experience and c), there is already the right consequences for the right crimes.
Have you noticed that politicians sometimes cater to minorities groups to win over more seats from them? A great example of that is Ed Stelmach catering to farmers, but leaving everyone else hungy, even though that everyone else is the vast majority. But that is beside the point. This happens especially regarding justice when a politician makes a law for a minority, which is not in the best interest of the majority. A democracy is all about the citizens running the country, and decision-making is by majority or consensus rather than minorities. However, this doesn’t happen very often.
The majority and the minority bring forth change in policy in a democratic society. Majority rule means that, if there were an over whelming amount of support on a issue their voices would be heard by the government. Our government is run on a majority rule. People in our society elect officials and put their faiths in them to make their choices. In a majority rule the basic concept of democracy ...
If you committed a crime, would you want the fairest sentence you could get? Experts have been fine-tuning youth offender sentences for decades here in Alberta. Actually, the Juvenile Delinquents Act was passed over a century ago, in 1908. Since then, there has been the Young Offenders Act, passed in 1982, with key points like only children over the age of 12 can get charged, and taking into account that youth are people too, and therefore the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Bill of Rights, and the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child apply to them, too. The public then helped create the Youth Criminal Justice Act in 2003, as the Young Offenders Act lacked certain points that government experts, like Anne McLellan, as well as us, the public thought fit. Do you see where I am going with this? Over a century ago, Sir Wilfred Laurier passed the Juvenile Delinquents Act. The public, politicians and experts improved upon this and created the Young Offenders Act. Consequently, they then improved upon that, and made the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Do you think they got something right with 100 years of trying to make it better?
Do you remember when a 12-year-old girl met Jeremy Steinke, a 23 year old and they plotted for him to murder the girl’s mother, father and brother? Under the YCJA, she was sentenced to 6 years in custody, followed by 4 months of community supervision, including taking supervised trips through society to rehabilitate and reintegrate her back into society. I think this was a very good, and accurate sentence, as I find that little things to a young girl can quickly escalate, so she knew no better, and six years in custody is a long time to be isolated from the rest of society, especially through her most crucial life learning steps: being a teenager. The four months of community supervision is, in my eyes, a great halfway point between custody with all your choices made for you, and society where all choices are made by you, particularly for a troubled young girl who made a simple wrong choice in life. This is a very good example of the Youth Criminal Justice Act’s key intents: prevention of crime in the first place, as she is being taught about good and bad choices in life; and second chances for our choices, as she didn’t waste the rest of her life, because she made one bad choice when she was twelve, and therefore learned the life lessons that you do when you are a teenager, including how to live in a society.
In conclusion, I have given my opinions on a question that might never get answered: how are the Youth Criminal Justice Act consequences for young offenders in Canada. I stand in between two arguments: the argument that consequences are too harsh, and therefore should be softened, and the argument that states that the Youth Criminal Justice Act is too soft, and that the government should make amendments to the act to make it tougher on youth, or give harsher penalties already in those guidelines. As I do understand both sides of the argument, I can make a suggestion to make stronger those consequences for serious crimes, like in the case of the 12 year old mentioned above, and make the consequences for less petty crimes like petty theft less severe. I personally do not agree with the previous statements, however I am willing to stand beside them as they are not far off of what I believe. I stand in the middle because a) new, “fresh” bills are only because politicians want seats in government, b), what we already have has been perfected over many decades of experience and c), there is already the right consequences for the right crimes.