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Persistence of Status Offences in the Youth Justice System

NCJ Number
Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice Volume: 54 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2012 Pages: 309-332
Jane B. Sprott
Date Published
July 2012
24 pages
This article discusses the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) and appropriate bail conditions.
The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) has been successful in removing minor cases from formal youth court processing. Whether in relation to police charging, guilty findings in court, or the use of custody, there have been considerable reductions. However, this article argues that Canada continues to struggle with keeping status-type offences (e.g., failing to comply with bail or probation conditions) out of the youth justice system. While other minor types of offences were declining before the YCJA came into effect, failing to comply offences needed legislative change to reduce their rates, and the greatest, sustained reductions have been seen in the areas of the YCJA that are specific and leave little ambiguity. The less specific areas of the Act have, on the other hand, allowed for increases with respect to these types of offences. Failing to comply with bail conditions appears to be particularly difficult to remove from formal youth court processing, and questions are raised in the article about whether these types of cases are being created by the courts themselves. (Published Abstract)