Criminal Justice: Young Offenders

Thousands of young people commit crimes every year and receive punishment for them. The state is also passing other laws to increase criminal liability for incarcerated juveniles. The official Criminal Justice Act is different from other laws that also provide punishment for juvenile delinquents. When considering the law on Young Offenders, it is worth understanding that this version of the sentence is almost the best for minors, after which alternatives are provided for young people.

Analyzing statistics in the period 2014-2018, it is worth noting that there is no significant difference in crime among young people. According to statistics, the difference between the total crimes committed between 2014 and 2018 is only 4% (Youth crime severity index in Canada 2000-2021, 2022). That made the possible indicator of the quality of the Youth Offenders Justice Act and the work of the police (Moreau, 2019). That should consider 2014 and the imprisonment of young people from several characteristics. First of all, this is related to what crimes were committed, and it is worth considering that it was during this period that most sexual crimes were committed (Moreau, 2019).

Compared to 2014 to 2018, such arrests decreased, but they were still detained for this. In different cases, they did not entirely accept the punishment for crime, but the young people often had to undergo retrials (Moreau, 2019). The following characteristic of crimes that distinguished 2014 from 2018 was the use of prohibited substances. According to police reports for 2018, twice a lot of people were imprisoned as usual (Moreau, 2019). The high rate among minors was associated with the active distribution and introduction of specific laws regarding cannabis.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act (s.42(2) YCJA) offers alternatives to prison terms. In the case of property damage or theft, the law provides that a minor can make restitution for all lost items (Youth Criminal Justice Act. n.d.). This alternative method can avoid prison time and teach the young person how to behave appropriately. In the same way, the court can impose a fine on a minor (Youth Criminal Justice Act. n.d.). This punishment involves teaching and developing a conscious vision in the prisoner, which should also teach a person to act correctly and consciously.

In addition, as an alternative method of punishment, the court can reprimand the young person. Such a reprimand can be considered a kind of warning, and if the criminal is caught again committing something against the law, then the minor will face complete imprisonment (Youth Criminal Justice Act. n.d.). It is worth noting that the Youth Criminal Justice Act often proposes to enroll young offenders in various groups, aiming to teach the correct behavior towards a minor (Youth Criminal Justice Act. n.d.). That program assists in multiple areas; volunteering will be a punishment for a juvenile.

I think such legislation works because we can see the results of all these actions. In particular, we see that not all juvenile crimes end in imprisonment. It was striking that most of these young people receive alternative punishments that the court chooses. In particular, it is strange that the law for minors provides many things but nothing concrete at this point.

Diversionary programs aim to improve juvenile offenders and allow them to undergo rehabilitation. In particular, mentoring programs often work for minors. This group will enable you to work directly with someone and maintain high-quality communication (Hoke et al., 2020). It is also essential that this type of punishment is the best option for young people because they can rethink a lot themselves and learn something new (Hoke et al., 2020). Considering that specialists from various fields will work with them, this allows to improve the condition of the minor and rehabilitate him in society.

Canada is doing everything it can to reduce crime among young people. All introduced and developed legislation affects minors in one way or another. However, various violations have decreased over the years while others have increased. The court must have the opportunity to qualitatively assess the crime of a young person and provide an already appropriate punishment according to the law, which includes alternatives and mitigations. That must constantly adjust the rules to modern realities that young people are increasingly shown what not to do.


Hoke, S., Baker, K., & Wenrich, K. (2020). An assessment of officer attitudes toward the training and use of a pre-booking diversionary program. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 115.

Moreau, G. (2019). Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2018. Juristat: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 1-67. Web.

Youth crime severity index in Canada 2000-2021. (2022). Statista. Web.

Youth Criminal Justice Act. (n.d.). Web.

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1. LawBirdie. "Criminal Justice: Young Offenders." October 14, 2023.


LawBirdie. "Criminal Justice: Young Offenders." October 14, 2023.