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Alberta Program Opens Communication Between Communities and Young Offenders

O'Brien, Kevin
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Corrections Today. 65(4): 74-76.

YJC’s are comprised of groups of volunteers working in partnership with the justice system, assisting in its response to young offenders ages 12 to 17. YJC’s bring together these offenders, victims, and community members to explore and resolve issues, determine and administer non-judicial sanctions, and recommend formal sanctions. They provide an important and valuable opportunity for communities to assume greater ownership of the criminal justice response to offending youths and provide an effective alternative to the formal court process. Throughout Alberta, the solicitor general has formally designated 98 total committees, and more than 1,300 community volunteers are now active in the program providing services to 1,600 youths in conflict with the law. The guidelines for appointment to a YJC include a commitment to the interests of young people, victims, and the community; a representation from the community at large; and the ability to consider all deliberations of the YJC regarding individuals to be confidential. Alberta’s current rate of incarceration for youths is the third lowest among Canadian provinces and territories. It has the second lowest probation rate for youths in the country. Young offenders that have committed a first or second nonviolent offense and have accepted responsibility for their crimes can be referred to the alternative measures program. Alternative measures sanctions can include community service, compensation, education programs, written or personal apologies to victims, and essays or presentations about how offenders’ crimes have affected others. The number of offenders appearing before YJC’s has steadily increased each year. The program has earned a gold medal from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, which is the country’s top award given for excellence in public service administration. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Refrence Service,


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