Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA)
The YCJA tries to prevent youth crime, help youth fit back into the community, face meaningful consequences for their behaviour and repair the harm done. The YCJA outlines the different options police and crowns are to consider when dealing with a young person that has broken the law.
Take no further action
Police warning informal
Police caution (More formal)
Crown caution. Ex: Referral to community programs (Extrajudicial Measures)
Police can send to court and then the crown may refer to a community program (Extrajudicial Sanctions)
Who is eligible?
Youth from age 12 to 17, who have committed minor offences and who are taking responsibility for their actions.
How does the program operate?
The police refer cases instead of laying a formal charge, or the Crown Attorney refers cases once a charge has been laid.
The young person appears before the committee with a parent/guardian or a responsible adult.
Victims are invited to attend or are contacted for their views of the offence.
Sanctions may include the following: Community service, restitution, curfews, charitable donations, counselling, attendance monitoring programs or any condition that would bring about the good behaviour of the young person.
It is mandatory that an apology be made, even if the victim wishes not to participate.
The young person must sign the agreement to complete the sanctions that are imposed by the Committee.
Youth who do not accept responsibility, do not accept or fail to complete their sanction, or who fail to attend their committee meeting are returned to the formal justice system.
Youth Justice Committee Program
The committee is made up of screened and trained volunteers from the community, who implement alternatives to formal court proceedings. This allows the victim to be involved and suggest sanctions for the youth. Resources and referrals to the community are utilized.
Active participation from relevant justice partners such as crown attorneys, probation and police is necessary.
Extrajudicial Measures Program
This program is available to police services as an alternative to laying a formal charge. Referrals made by the police are typically first time, nonviolent offenders. The program is voluntary and the youth is required to accept responsibility for their actions. The young person will be required to attend a Youth Justice Committee meeting with their parent/guardian, and when appropriate, the victim will also be invited to attend. At the meeting the participants will decide on meaningful consequences for the young person and a formal contract agreeing to these terms will be signed.
Youth who successfully complete the program will not have a conviction on their record.
Extrajudicial Sanction Program
Extrajudicial sanctions are referrals made from the Crown Attorney or Probation. The youth will be given a return court date to confirm completion of the program.
Restorative Justice Program
This is an approach to conflict resolution focusing on the community and the perspective that, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The program seeks to repair harm caused by the youth, while holding them accountable for their actions. It ideally involves the active participation of the community, the young person, their parent(s)/guardian and the victim(s). The cooperation of local police services, courts and community agencies wishing to use this form of conflict resolution as an alternative to the formal justice system is fundamental.
Upon referral, the youth will sit in a Restorative Justice Circle with trained volunteers from the community, staff, and the victim in an effort to make amends for their actions.
For more information contact Rhonda Leduc at 705-725-0613 ext 222 or email her at email@example.com