Application of the Youth Criminal Justice Act
The Youth Criminal Justice Act applies to youth who are 12 years old or older, but who are less than 18 years of age. The Act recognizes that youth from ages 12-17 may not have developed to a level of maturity and decision making that most adults have achieved or should have achieved. The Act also recognizes that a sentence an adult may receive for a criminal offence may not be appropriate for a youth between 12- and 17 years of age.
Principles of Sentencing
Generally, the principles of sentencing under the Youth Criminal Justice Act are designed to encourage young offenders take meaningful but fair proportional responsibility for their actions, while ensuring the penalty imposed rehabilitates and reintegrates young offenders back into society. More specifically, any measures against a young person who has committed a criminal offence should promote respect for societal values, encourage the young person to make repairs for harm done to both the victim and the community, be meaningful to the young person taking into account his or her needs and level of development.
Extra Judicial Sanctions
In certain circumstances, a young person who is before the court for the first time may be eligible for extra judicial sanctions or enhanced extra judicial sanctions. Often these sanctions involve completing a number of hours of community service and/or attending programs with respect to drug or alcohol use. If a young offender successfully completes the requirements in a timely manner, the charge or charges against the youth will be withdrawn.
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