What is the Youth Criminal Justice Act?
The Youth Criminal Justice Act, also referred to as the ‘YCJA’, is a piece of statutory legislation passed in Canada in which the adjustment and standardization of the operations latent within Canadian criminal justice system responsible for the oversight and regulation of juvenile criminal law. Within the classification of criminal activities under the jurisdiction of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, both the nature and severity of the crime in question are taken into consideration, as well as the understanding that a minor or youth was involved in the criminal activity in question.
The Classification of a ‘Youth’ within the Youth Criminal Justice Act
In accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act, a ‘youth’ is defined as a minor or child who is below the age of legal majority. Although the stipulations corollary to the determination of a youth varies by the regulatory age of majority enacted with individual Canadian provinces, the following parameters can be used to identify a minor or an individual legally classified of minority age:
A Youth will be required to be in the care of a legal guardian or custodian;
A Youth will be denied the ability to construct a legal contract until reaching the age of majority;
A Youth will be denied the ability to endorse any legal documentation without a consenting adult;
A Youth is considered to be below the age of consent. The age of consent is only applicable to those of majority age(s).
The Statutes of the Youth Criminal Justice Act
The Youth Criminal Justice Act creates a standard for legislative protocol with regard to the classification and subsequent punitive recourse latent within the distinction of violent crimes from non-violent crimes with regard to sentencing. While violent crimes are expected to be tried in the similar fashion undertaken prior to the passing of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, non-violent crimes are allowed for alternative methods of sentencing. Furthermore, the Youth Criminal Justice Act requires that the court reports belonging to a youth who has been convicted of a crime, regardless of the inherent presence of violence, be sent to the associated victims.
Violent Crimes and the Youth Criminal Justice Act
Violent crimes are defined as behaviors, activities, or sentiments consisting of destructive, harmful, or malicious tendencies. Violent crimes can be expressed either in deed or in word, entailing a multitude of respective expression.
Non-Violent Crimes and the Youth Criminal Justice Act
Non-violent crimes are defined as criminal activity in which physical harm or damage does not directly befall the victim mentioned within the criminal activity. Currently, theft is the most common non-violent crime within Canada. This crime involves the unlawful attainment of property belonging to another individual.
Court Records and the Youth Criminal Justice Act
Court records are the recorded documentation illustrating the proceedings of the legal hearing involving the youth in question. These reports depict both testimony, as well as sentencing.