Source: (1988) Access to Justice Network

Section 4 of the Young Offenders Act (Canada, 1984) legislates the use of alternative measures where it is in the best interest of the youth and of society. The intent of alternative measures is to reduce the stigmatizing, harmful effects on the young person. The fundamental principle of alternative measures is to maximize the use of resources within the community when dealing with young offenders. The use of community alternatives can be beneficial to the young person, his or her family, and the community. Alternative measures provide a young person with the opportunity to make restitution both to the victim (if one exists) and to the community. Young people will therefore be seen as taking responsibility for the offence. As a result, there will be less alienation and more acceptance of the young offender in the community. Alternative measures can prove to be a more effective way of handling some youth crimes, and community involvement in these programs will assist in crime prevention as well.