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Copyright (c) 2003 The Alberta Law Review
Alberta Law Review

FORUM: THE YOUTH CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT: Diversion, Conferencing, and Extrajudicial Measures for Adolescent Offenders

April, 2003

40 Alberta L. Rev. 991





Although levels of youth crime in Canada actually seemed to be slowly falling or at worst had plateaued 1 during the decade prior to the coming into force of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, there was, somewhat paradoxically, a dramatic increase in concern among politicians and members of the public about youth crime. Reflecting and perhaps fanning the flames of public concern, conservative politicians in federal opposition parties and provincial governments were demanding a "get tough" approach to youth crime. At the same time, academic critics and youth justice system professionals, including many judges, 2 were expressing concerns that Canada was making far too much use of courts and custody under the Young Offenders Act, and that many cases should be diverted from the formal youth justice system.

The dominant public rhetoric of the Liberal government at the time of the introduction of its Strategy for Youth Justice Renewal in 1998, which resulted in the enactment of the Youth Criminal Justice Act in 2002, was about the need "to deal more firmly and effectively with violent and repeat young offenders." 3 There are provisions in the new Act that facilitate the imposition of adult sentences and the publication of identifying information about serious violent offenders.

Probably the most significant parts of the YCJA, however, do not deal with the relatively small number of serious violent offenders, but rather deal with the large majority ...
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