The facing appropriate punishment for their actions. The

The Youth Justice Act is an integral part of our society’s law. Just as we have the strong belief that all citizens deserve rights against being tried unfairly in court, trying young people differently than adults has been a belief in law for centuries. This is due to a number of reasons, one being that the brain of a child and an adult are very different in many ways. Very young children do not have the proper maturity and mindset to even form the required mens rea to be found guilty of a crime. In addition to that, the mind of a young person is much more susceptible to correction than an adult’s mind, with rehabilitation being extremely effective on young people without chance of future offences. This means that correction plans for adults and children should differ as well, with even more emphasis placed on rehabilitation and reintegration with society for younger people. Not only this, but one has to take into consideration that a young offender often won’t understand the extent of the consequences for their actions, and will not be prepared to go to court, much less have a proper understanding that the process entails. The Youth Justice Act addresses all of these problems in a way that allows young people to rehabilitate after offences and reintegrate into society successfully, while also facing appropriate punishment for their actions. The idea of treating younger people different than adults in court has been around for almost as long as the court system itself. 14th century English courts stated that children were not capable of forming the appropriate mens rea to be found guilty of a crime. This applied to anyone under 15 years of age and was known as the defence of infancy. Today we still have the defence of infancy, though it is very rarely used because young offenders go through a different court system than adults, the juvenile justice system. The juvenile justice system is a far better solution than something like the defence of infancy because it offers an alternative to traditional court for young offenders, while still having punishments for their actions. Having the juvenile justice system gives us the best of both worlds, being a much prefered alternative to the regular court system for young offenders, while also making sure to deal with their wrongdoings. It is so beneficial to young offenders because it’s main function is to rehabilitate and educate offenders, rather than just to punish them. Offenders are also taught to reintegrate properly into society after being in programs like Juvenile detention which greatly decreases their risk of reoffending. All of these things aim for and aid towards the offender becoming a law abiding, productive member of society in the future. In addition to this, the Youth Justice Act places emphasis on protection and preservation of the young offenders rights, the fairness of their trial, and protection of proper trial procedure. This is to make sure that a young offender is not being taken advantage of at any point in their trial. The Youth Criminal Act states explicitly that young people have the right to immediate counsel, the right to speak to an adult and a lawyer. They can also request legal aid if they are not able to afford a lawyer. The young person is also required to be provided with a statement that reminds them that they have the legal right to request and be represented by legal counsel at any time during the judicial process. The statement makes certain that the young person fully understands their rights. They also have the right to be told what they are being charged for immediately, using proper language and terminology so that they may understand, for example not sighting different laws from the criminal code by section, rather actually explaining what they have done that has broken the law. The officer must also assess the young person’s ability to understand their rights and what has been explained to them. This is an important step because in court they will evaluate how well the officer explained the situation in accordance with the offender’s age and level of understanding, rather than just evaluating if the offender understood. This again is another precautionary measure to help young offenders have a faire trial and not be taken advantage of in any way.All of these things together are extremely important in any young persons case, with young offenders being much more susceptible to manipulation and far easier to take advantage of in court than an adult. The Youth Justice Act does all it can to make sure that a young person is getting a fair trial and will have an outcome that best suits the situation. Within a juvenile justice case, social values are also taken into consideration alongside the unique situation of the offender to help lead to the best form of rehabilitation for the offender. Different forms of rehabilitation include reinforcing respect for social values by giving things like community service, encouraging the offender to repair any damage to the a victim or the community, providing helpful roles to the parents or guardian of the offender, and encouragement towards respecting those of different ethnicity, social status, religion, or gender. After having the most appropriate form of rehabilitation chosen for the particular offender taking into account all factors, reoffence is very unlikely. Having a supportive and positive attitude towards their recovery and reintegration into society for youth is extremely effective, far more than the adult system where punishment is far less specialized to the case and person. This emphasis on special care with the outcome of juvenile cases is so important because it can change the life of a young person that may have led a life of crime without the proper rehabilitation.The Youth Justice Act also outlines extrajudicial measures for young offenders, less formal responses to crimes committed by minors. Extrajudicial measures are important because they deter young people from illegal actions, while also properly outlining how to deal with more minor cases where the young person might not have any ill intent. There are four types of extrajudicial measures not including extrajudicial sanctions; informal warnings issued by police officers, formal police cautions where the police contact the offender’s parents and in some cases summon them to the police station to discuss the situation, next is a crown caution which is similar to a police caution but is given by the prosecutor after the police refer the case to them, finally they are referred to a community program to help prevent further law breaking. Extrajudicial sanctions refer to extrajudicial measures that need to be used to deal with a young person if they cannot be adequately dealt with by the other measures mentioned above. The decision to use an extrajudicial sanction is dependant on the seriousness of the offence, the nature and number of previous offences, or any other significant circumstances. Examples of extrajudicial sanctions include restitution or compensation, service to the victim or community, attendance and participation in counseling and treatment programs. They are important in the juvenile justice system because they are a good alternative option to the formal court process for the young offender, with softer punishments and lack of a formal criminal record being placed on the offender. If they comply satisfactorily with the sanction, the charge can be dismissed, however failure to properly comply can result in a charge or return to court. The decision whether to apply an extrajudicial sanction lies with the police officer, Crown Prosecutor, or other officials. Though the charge will be dismissed, if the youth reoffends, the sanction can be brought up again at the hearing. Extrajudicial sanctions can only be used if the other extrajudicial measures are not suitable, the program suggested is allowed by the government of that jurisdiction, the program is appropriate considering the individual’s needs and the interests of society, the young person has made informed consent to participate, the young person accepts responsibility for the crime, there is sufficient evidence for the crown to proceed with the charge and prosecution, and a parent is notified. Extrajudicial sanctions can not be used if the young person denies being involved in the offence, the young person wants a trial in court, or the person fails to be allowed into the program.


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