issues for canadian textbook chapter 2 : To what extent is the justice system fair and equitable for youth?
Imagine this scenario. You and a friend are hanging around the local store after school. You accidentally break a window. The store owner calls the police, who arrest you and want to charge you with vandalism. How would you want this situation to turn out? What would be just?
Chapter 2 explores the extent to which Canada’s justice system is fair and equitable. How effectively does it protect society, protect the innocent, and ensure that those who break the law face appropriate consequences?
The justice system is an important aspect of governance in Canada, and Canadians have different views and perspectives about how justice should be served. One of the fundamental principles of justice in Canada and other democratic countries is that a person is assumed innocent until proven guilty.
issues for canadian textbook chapter 2
This chapter focuses on youth justice, because this is the part of the justice system that directly affects Grade 9 students. The questions of fairness and equity you will wrestle with, however, are the same for the justice system as a whole.
As you work through the chapter, think about the challenges and opportunities citizens face to shape what justice means, and the impact it has on their identity and quality of life.
As you work through the activities in this chapter, think about what parts of the justice system, in your opinion, are fair or should be changed.
- How do Canada’s justice system and the Youth Criminal Justice Act attempt to treat young offenders fairly and equitably?
- What role do Canadian citizens and organizations play in the fairness and equity of Canada’s justice system for youth?
How are youth justice and adult justice different in Canada?
- Canada has different legislation for young people who break the law and for adults who break the law.
- The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) was passed by parliament in 2003. Canada has had laws like the YCJA — that treat young offenders differently from adult offenders — since the 1890s.
Canada’s justice system to young offenders
- Deals with 12- to 17- year olds in trouble with the law.
- Allows some young offenders to face consequences such as counseling and community service.
- Prohibits adult sentences for youths 12 to 14 years of age. Allows adult sentences for young people 14 years of age and older who have committed serious crimes.
- Protects the privacy of young offenders. News media may not publish their names unless they receive an adult sentence.
- Allows most young offenders to avoid a criminal record.
Canada’s justice system to adult offenders
- Deals with adults in trouble with the law.
- Makes going to court the usual consequence for breaking the law.
- Defines adult sentences, which can include long periods of imprisonment for some crimes.
- Allows the publication of offenders’ names.
- Creates a criminal record for most offenders.
What consequences do young people face when they break the law?
When a young person breaks the law, many agencies and officials in the justice system help decide what happens. The flow chart on this page shows the possible consequences. Before the YCJA, every young person who broke the law was charged and went to court. This often meant:
- Young offenders did not face consequences for a long time, because the courts are busy with many cases and offenders.
- The consequences did not always connect back to the people and communities the offence affected.
The YCJA allows police, prosecutors, judges, and volunteers and professionals from the community to decide what happens to each young offender. They consider factors such as:
- The seriousness of the offence. For example, a violent offence is more serious than a non-violent offence.
- The history of the young person. Someone who’s been in trouble before may face more serious consequences than a first-time offender.
- The attitude of the young person. A young person who takes responsibility for their actions will face less serious consequences than someone who does not.
- The circumstances of the young person. For example, a young person’s actions may relate to substance abuse, or to a situation they face at home or in their community. They may need support from a social worker more than consequences from the justice system.
What’s a jury?
- Under the YCJA, a person 14 years of age or older may choose to be tried by a judge and jury for certain serious offences, such as assault or murder.
- For these offences, juries always have twelve people and all twelve must agree on the verdict. Their decision must be unanimous.
- Anyone 18 years of age and older who is a Canadian citizen is eligible for jury duty, with some exceptions. For example, people convicted of some crimes are not eligible.
- Serving on juries is considered a duty of Canadian citizens.
- If you are summoned to jury duty, it’s your responsibility to appear at the courthouse on time. You must make whatever arrangements are necessary for transportation, time off work or classes, and rebooking appointments.
- Employers have to give you time off for jury duty, but don’t have to pay you.
- People are excused from jury duty only if they can demonstrate that it would cause them undue hardship.
What are advocacy groups?
- Canada has two major citizen-led organizations involved in the justice system: the John Howard Society and the Elizabeth Fry Society.
- These organizations work independently of government. They try to solve the underlying reasons for crime.
- They provide public education about laws and the justice system, including the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
- They work with youths and adults who have broken the law to help them return to their communities. For example, they may help them find jobs and places to live. Sometimes they arrange meetings between victims and offenders to help everyone move forward.
- They stand up for the rights of youths and adults accused of crimes.
- They call for measures to improve the fairness of the justice system for people accused of crimes and those harmed by crime.
- The Elizabeth Fry Society focuses on justice issues for women and girls. The John Howard Society works with men, women, boys and girls in trouble with the law.
What role do Elders have in the justice system?
Under the YCJA, young people can face consequences from Youth Justice Committees. These committees exist in communities where volunteers agree to work with young offenders. Youth Justice Committees reflect the idea of sentencing circles.
Sentencing circles come from the traditions of some Aboriginal peoples, whose systems of justice can also include consequences such as banishment. The committees act on the idea that breaking a law harms everyone in a community, and that the community must become involved in solutions. Any community can have a Youth
As respected members of their communities, Elders play an important role in this approach to justice.
Get more: Issues for Canadian Textbook all chapters
Dear reader, Above we have discussed some parts of the issues for canadian textbook chapter 2 book. If you want to read the complete part of this chapter, then collect this book using the option given above.
If you have difficulty downloading, inbox on our Facebook page. Students can SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel to get notes and suggestions on other topics.
Leave a Reply