The number of youths being involved in criminal activities has been on the rise over a couple of past decades. The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) was established to handle all matters relating to youth criminal activities. The justice system corrects and rehabilitates those above 12 years and below 18 years of age.
In youth/juvenile courts, there are no trials and the youths are given less punishment with a chance of getting counseling after getting out. In extreme cases, youth offenders are given adult punishment.
1. Protects youth identity: YCJA protects the identity of juvenile suspects. Your records are wiped out once you turn 18. No one cares about what you did before turning 18.
2. Separate youth from adults: YCJA aims at separating youth from adults who can drag them to further criminal acts or abuse them. It ensures youths are not mixed with adult offenders.
3. Justice for extreme cases: The justice system is intended for the youth to be accountable for their action. They should distinguish between what is right from what is wrong in any circumstance.
4. Provide rehabilitation: The YCJA aims at providing rehabilitation and reintegration of the offenders to programs in the community that addresses their offending behavior.
5. Lenient punishment: The youths receive less punishment compared to adults who are given harsh punishments. The punishment helps the youth avoid any further legal problems and reduces youth crime rates.
6. Alternative sentencing methods: The youths have reduced jail time and are given an alternative option to complete their sentences like imposing curfews and house arrest. If sentenced to 5 years; they can spend 2 years in jail and 3 years in a rehabilitation program.
7. Protects the rights of youth offenders: YCJA helps protect the rights of youth and makes them feel safe. It also helps prevent youth from committing crimes.
8. Mandatory supervision after release: Once the offender is out of custody, close supervision is given to ensure they change their violent behavior and do not commit more crimes.
9. New chance in society: The rehabilitation program for the youth, helps put them on the right track in society through reintegration and gives them a new start.
10. Less youth in jail: This justice system ensures only fewer youths are retained in jail for serious offenses.
1. Rehabilitative custody not well utilized: Intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision of punishment and sentencing given to the youth have not been fully utilized.
2. Lenient to youths: The youth criminal justice act is very lenient to the youth making it difficult to reduce youth crimes. There are controversies that the act should provide harsh punishment for violent crimes.
3. Doesn’t deter criminal act: The youths believe that in case of any criminal act, they will be given less punishment compared to adults and this may not be an effective method to handle youth criminal activity or deter criminal acts.
4. No distinction of the crime: The act doesn’t give a clear distinction between a serious violent crime act and a less serious crime.
5. No effective integration: There is no proper integration system for the youth after leaving the police custody.
6. Not effective: The number of incarcerated youths over the years has not reduced. The laws are not tough enough to prevent youths from committing more crimes.
7. Confusing to law enforcement: There are inconsistent penalties and sentences offered. Police discretion on young offenders can be misleading.
8. No justice for the victim: Regardless of the age of the offender, offering rehabilitation to the offender is not justice to the victim, s/he suffered in the hands of the offender.
9. Overusing courts: The courts are overused for minor cases which would have been dealt with outside the court
10. Release of offenders: YCJA requires the offenders to be released out of detention when they turn 18 or 21 regardless of incarceration at the time of the crime.