The judges decide on thesentences based on the gravity of the offence, in hopes to hold young offendersaccountable for their actions. In 2003, The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA)was passed. The latter set principles to guide judges in their decision, thepurpose being to “promote their rehabilitation and reintegration into society”.
When the YCJA was passed, Canada had one of the highest youth-incarcerationrates amongst Western nations. Under this Act, custody sentences are onlysupposed to be intended for violent offenders as well as repeat offenders.According to Statistics Canada, two years after the YCJA implementation, 90%young convicted offenders were on supervised probation, while 7% were servingjail time, and the 3% remaining were in custody awaiting trial. With an averageof 25,000 sentences to jail per year for young offenders, Canada had to reformits youth justice system, hence the creation of the YCJA.
Despite this Act,some youth offenders are still sent to prison, before the adult age. Some aregiven adult sentences. The YCJA allows judges to give adult sentences to youngpersons – 14 years old or older when the crime was Despite the fact thatthe YCJA advises judges and youth courts to consider the difficult conditionsin which Aboriginal youth are brought up in, they are still overrepresented inyouth custodial institutions. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, in 2015/2016,54% of Aboriginal youth who had gotten admitted in correctional services werein a custodial setting, while the same figure for non-Aboriginal youth was 44%. The fact that they are over punished translates the harshertreatment they are the victims of.
The situation is even more alarming forfemales as in 2015/2016, they accounted for 43% of all female youth in acustodial setting, while males accounted for 31% of all male youth in jail.Just like the previous figure, there is an increase compared to 2011/2012,which means that the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth is gettingmore and more important. The main critique against these findings is that they areonly based quantitative data. This means that it gives trends on the populationof youth custodial institutions without providing the readers with moreinsights