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In 1984 the Criminal Code of Canada changed What was once known as the Juvenile Delinquents Act was over turned and the Young Offenders Act YOA took its place The preceding Act was based on the notion that adolescent offenders were just miniature adults that were slow Youth in Conflict with the Law 2000 and could not form the intent mens rea to commit a crime The Juvenile Delinquents Act mainly revolved around incarceration for these perpetrators and just recently the adolescent has come to be accepted as separate from adults The Young Offenders Act basis is that young people do not have the mans rea or culpability to perform most criminal endeavors that they may know about justice and their rights but their understanding develops with age Since psychologist say that the majority of intellectual growth takes place throughout adolescents the YOA helps establish the idea that incarceration may not be the best way to deter young adults from committing future crimes The notion that youth in trouble with the law may just be misguided has the youth courts not treating these matters strictly as criminal issues but helping to divert the juvenile from a potential adult life of crime The Young Offenders Act starts with the idea that youth should be responsible for their actions but we must take into account that some youth make mistakes and there is no evidence that long sentences reduce youth crime Singer and McDowell 1987 Child development and juvenile experts agree that the correction of young offenders should be positive and influence healthy development They say that a sense of responsibility and judgment are less developed in adolescents and thus makes rehabilitation that much greater and that the traditional sentences and emphasis on incarceration do not work well They believe that rehabilitation where possible can address the needs and circumstances under which a crime was committed for example killingmaiming animals at a young age often indicates an
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