To the editor,
In February 2002, the House of Commons passed the Youth Criminal Justice Act, replacing the Young Offenders Act. The YCJA was designed to provide youth in conflict with the law several extrajudicial options. One of the main thrusts of the new act was to do everything possible to help youth back onto a lawful path. In fact, under the act, police must consider all options before laying charges.
It didn't take long for disaffected youth to learn this usually means the consequences for fairly serious crimes were not so serious. It's not a coincidence that the recent wave of youth crime coincides with the passing into law of the YCJA. Its intent was to create a more whole society, when in fact it is helping diminish our basic sense of safety.