From today's Star;Youth crime bill pushes deterrence
OTTAWA–Tougher sentences for young offenders can be expected under legislation introduced yesterday that makes judges take deterrence into consideration.
The bill introduced by the Conservative government would also allow the jailing of teenagers charged with serious offences right from the start until their trials are over.
The legislation is part of a law-and-order agenda being pushed this week by the government.
But experts, including Martha Mackinnon of Justice for Children and Youth, a legal clinic for low-income youth, say serious youth crime is not increasing, except for a blip last year. Mackinnon says the Conservatives are addressing a perception that has been exacerbated by politicians and the media. She also criticized the government's move to bring back "general deterrence" for youths, saying "there's no evidence that deterrence works for young people."
This is absolutely goddamned apalling. This government is continuing to pander to the most mean spirited elements of it's political base, and do so on the backs of our weakest and most vulnerable. Like all conservatives, they stay in power by marketing fear.
Philosophically, they are taking the foundational principles of youth justice legislation back over a hundred years, when the first such legislation appeared in Canada. In 1892, Canadian legislation was changed to recognise that "juvenile delinquents" were not to be treated as regular criminals, but were to be viewed as victims of poverty abuse and neglect and "in need of guidance and protection". This philosophy was behind the Juvenile Delinquents act of I think 1905, which lasted until the YOA of 1982. For all the abuses of how the act was used, these founding principles were sound.
Thank you very fucking much for taking us back 115 years in our child welfare legislation. One can see why they dropped the word "Progressive" from the party name.
[ 20 November 2007: Message edited by: oldgoat ]