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Canada's Young Offenders Act

Uploaded by Lorri-Ann on Oct 25, 2001

Officially passed in Parliament in 1984, the Young Offender’s Act was the final say in the rights of all criminal offenders of the ages 12-17. Most children under the age of twelve are not held responsible for crimes they may commit–any one over 18 is considered an adult and tried according to the Criminal Code of Canada. The Canadian government managed to agree that young children and teens have special needs that the Criminal Code couldn’t provide for. The YOA provides more opportunities for rehabilitation, with less of the repercussions that usually come hand-in-hand with criminal activity. (All About Law 237-253)

Before the YOA was passed, youth were often thrown into the same class as hardened criminals (unless they could be placed under the Juvenile Delinquency Act), with very few extra rights afforded to them. The Young Offender’s Act includes provisions for all children, with special regard for their age, maturity, and the severity of their crime. Extra rights provided for young offenders include :

The young person under 56(2)(c) must be given a reasonable opportunity to consult with a parent and/or a lawyer prior to the taking of any statement. "Consult" means far more than a telephone call, or a "talk to". A young person is entitled to privacy, face to face conversation, quality advice, and reasonable time. A young person may consult both a parent and a lawyer, on the telephone or in person, as the adolescent wishes. Under s. 56(2)(d) any person so consulted, must be present during the taking of the oral, handwritten, typed, or videotaped confession. A young person who clearly understands what he or she is giving up may waive the requirements of s. 56(2)(c) and (d). Any such waiver must however be in writing or videotaped (Internet).

This is so that a young offender is aware of their rights, and are given full access to adults that would help them understand more fully how to deal with the situation. Other rights also include :

When you are arrested, the police must immediately tell you the following:

1. You do not have to say anything or answer any questions;
2. Anything you do say can be used as evidence in court, whether or not you say it in writing;
3. You may speak to a lawyer and a parent or other adult before you say anything; and,
4. The lawyer or an adult must be with you when...

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Uploaded by:   Lorri-Ann

Date:   10/25/2001

Category:   Social Issues

Length:   5 pages (1,101 words)

Views:   1831

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