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Young Offenders Act: Innovation and Implementation

NCJ Number
Guidance and Counselling Volume: 1 Issue: 5 Dated: (May 1986) Pages: 25-29
L Carty
Date Published
5 pages
This article outlines key principles of Canada's Young Offenders Act and describes the House of Shalom Youth Centre, a community alternative to institutionalization for juveniles.
There are four key principles embodied in the Young Offenders Act. First, youth are held accountable for their behavior, but due to their immaturity they are not considered as responsible as adults. Secondly, society has a right to be protected from juveniles' illegal behavior, which encompasses delinquency prevention. Thirdly, juveniles have the same rights to due process and equal treatment under the law as do adults. Fourthly, juveniles have special needs because they are at varying levels of development. Under this latter principle, juveniles are placed in programs and settings commensurate with their needs and the public's need for protection. Alternatives to institutionalization and formal processing are emphasized. One alternative measure is the House of Shalom Youth Centre, located in Amherstburg, 20 miles south of Windsor, Ontario. The program uses group counseling as mental health support for adolescents and young adults. It is open to every youth in the community and offers drop-in time for informal socializing, planned social activities, and participation in larger community activities. All groups get together for a weekly 3-hour meeting that uses music, group discussion, audiovisuals, role playing, and other group counseling techniques to encourage self-awareness, independence, communication, and social skills. 8 references.