The way in which the justice system responds to young persons who violate the criminal law is profoundly significant, not only for those who are directly involved in the process but also for society as a whole. A society’s response to young offenders conveys important messages about its attitudes to youth and has significant implications for its future.
While the primary focus of this book is on the legal issues that arise in the youth justice system, the book is premised on the belief that youth justice issues must be understood in a broader context. This book includes some discussion of constitutional, evidentiary, and procedural issues that are relevant to youth justice; it also explores some of the ethical and practical issues that confront lawyers and other professionals working in the youth justice system. The book considers the broader social and political context for issues of adolescent offending and youth justice.
This is the second edition of Youth Criminal Justice Law. The first edition was written by Nicholas Bala before the YCJA came into force, but it has been frequently cited by the courts in interpreting the Act. That earlier work has been substantially revised, with the present edition discussing caselaw interpreting the Act, recent social science literature, and political developments since the YCJA came into force; however, some parts of the earlier text have been incorporated into this edition.
This book will be of interest to students in law schools, criminology programs, and other related disciplines, as well as lawyers, judges, teachers, probation officers, social workers, mental health professionals, and other justice system professionals. The book is intended to give an introduction to the laws governing young people who come into conflict with the law. It has a particular focus on Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act, which came into force in April of 2003.