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Sentencing Juvenile Offenders in Canada: An Analysis of Recent Reform Legislation

Roberts, Julian V
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice. 19(4): 413-434.

Statutory reforms of the juvenile justice system came to Canada in 2003 when the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) became law. This article reviews the principal sentencing provisions and, in particular, the purposes and principles that are now codified as a result of the new legislation. The legislation attempts to reduce the number of young offenders sent to prison while facilitating the imposition of harsher sentences on a small number of juveniles convicted of the most serious offenses. The YCJA moves youth court sentencing closer to sentencing as it is conducted in adult court but also maintains some important differences between the two levels. These reforms are likely to reduce the number of young persons sent to prison in Canada and change the composition of the juvenile prison population by reducing the number of young offenders incarcerated for minor crimes or property crimes. Author’s abstract.


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