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Social Science Criminology

Trauma-Informed Youth Justice in Canada

A New Framework toward a Kinder Future

by (author) Judah Oudshoorn

Canadian Scholars' Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Dec 2015
Criminology, Juvenile Offenders
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2015
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Most youth who come in conflict with the law have experienced some form of trauma, yet many justice professionals are ill-equipped to deal with the effects trauma has on youth and instead reinforce a system that further traumatizes young offenders while ignoring the needs of victims. By taking a trauma-informed perspective, this text provides a much-needed alternative—one that allows for interventions based on principles of healing and restorative justice, rather than on punishment and risk assessment.In addition to providing a comprehensive historical overview of youth justice in Canada, Judah Oudshoorn addresses the context of youth offending by examining both individual trauma—including its emotional, cognitive, and behavioural effects—and collective trauma. The author tackles some of the most difficult problems facing youth justice today, especially the ongoing cycles of intergenerational trauma caused by the colonization of Indigenous peoples and patriarchal violence, and demonstrates how a trauma-informed approach to youth justice can work toward preventing crime and healing offenders, victims, and communities.Featuring a foreword written by Howard Zehr, case stories from the author’s own work with victims and offenders, questions for reflection, and annotated lists of recommended readings, this engaging text is the perfect resource for college and university students in the field of youth justice.

About the author

Judah Oudshoorn is a Professor of Community and Criminal Justice at Conestoga College. He is also a Restorative Justice Mediator with the Correctional Service of Canada, a Sessional Instructor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Waterloo, an Editorial Board Member of the Internet Journal of Restorative Justice, and the Editor for restorative justice titles in the Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding series. Professor Oudshoorn has worked in diverse capacities with youth in Toronto and with First Nations people on issues related to residential schools; he is also widely involved in community services that work with men, particularly fathers, on issues of abuse.

Judah Oudshoorn's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This is the Canadian, if not international, text that many of us have been waiting for, and the time is ripe. ... While Canada has a rich history in the theory and practice of restorative justice, there is a dearth of good books [with] Canadian content. This book puts Canada back on the international map. ... It is an impressive text that draws together a broad range of topics—trauma, colonialism, and youth justice—in a coherent framework. It doesn’t provide all the answers but develops a fresh new framework to address the systemic problems and build a hopeful future."
—?Brenda Morrison, PhD, Director of the Centre for Restorative Justice, Simon Fraser University

"The author offers a compelling argument that challenges the reader to consider that community healing comes from unveiling the trauma and distress created by the very systems meant to support and protect our youth. This is a challenge to all members of our communities—but especially to the justice community—to build resiliency, foster healing, support accountability, and tear down the walls of injustice. This text reveals a refreshing and pivotal perspective of youth justice that offers a practical approach to reaching youth and addressing the limitations of our system."
—?Cynthia Booth, MA, Coordinator of the Community and Justice Services Program, Cambrian College

"As an Indigenous scholar, I was engaged from the onset and value the accurate inclusion of Indigenous peoples’ history and correlating problems in justice. The chapters are comprehensively sequenced, thought-provoking, and innovative. By problematizing a punitive approach and casting a critical gaze on structural violence, colonization, and patriarchal violence, the author creates an ethical space for affirming the principles and values of trauma-informed justice with the goal of restoration and holistic healing. In this manner, this book becomes an educational catalyst for anyone interested in informative critical reading, dialogue, and creating change."
—?Kathy Absolon, MSW, PhD, Coordinator of the Aboriginal Field of Study Program, Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University

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