The Canadian Press MONTREAL – While the economy will no doubt take centre stage when Parliament resumes sitting in the new year, the Conservatives are making it clear that plans to get tough on youth crime will also be high on their agenda. Should the Tory government survive, there’s little doubt it will move forward with strengthening the Youth Criminal Justice Act to have it include life sentences for convicted murderers as young as 14. It would come in a year in which Albertans mark the 10th anniversary of the Taber school shooting and months after a rise in the number of iPod muggings was brought to light by the trial of a teen who fatally stabbed a man on a city bus in Ottawa With that backdrop, the Tories’ tough-on-teens approach sits well with many, mianly according to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson. But there’s one place in Canada where authorities have long taken a different approach – Quebec. Tackling youth crime was among the Conservatives’ key election planks, but it was also one of the issues that angered Quebecers and prevented the Tories from broadening their support in the province. Figures compiled by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics show Quebec’s emphasis on prevention and rehabilitation over incarceration has served the province well. In fact, the youth crime rate in Quebec has consistently been the lowest in all of Canada. In 2007, for example, for every 100,000 young people aged 12 to 17 in Quebec, just 1,610 were involved in a crime. In the Northwest Territories, the region where youth crime rates have traditionally been the highest, that figure was 10,491. British Columbia recorded the second lowest youth crime rate in Canada, followed by Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Newfoundland and New Brunswick. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Alberta recorded the highest crime rates. Montreal criminologist Michele Goyette said the Conservative mentality of setting minimum penalties doesn’t sit well in Quebec, where there was strong opposition to replacing the Young Offenders Act, which combined punishment and rehabilitation, with the YCJA, which favours increased penalties. “Anything that seeks to create automatic sanctions for us, that’s against our beliefs,” said Goyette, who works at the Centre jeunesse de Montreal, a social-services agency for troubled youth. Each person is evaluated individually and a rehabilitation program that might include drug treatment, anger management, job training or academic classes is established regardless of whether the individual is in custody or serving a sentence in the community. While many other parts of the country have since caught on, Goyette said Quebec also has a long-standing practice of handling minor offences outside of the court system. Theft or shoplifting cases, for example, might be dealt with through mediation or reparations with the victim, she said. Universite de Montreal criminologist Jean Trepanier said Quebec’s approach to juvenile delinquency dates back to the 1950s when an institution for boys known as Boscoville introduced a variety of psychological and educational interventions aimed at rehabilitation. By the 1960s, the Universite de Montreal had even developed programs in “psycho-education,” he wrote in a 2004 article published in the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice. “With good programs, what we can hope for is the delinquent activity will diminish and disappear earlier,” he said in an interview. The use of extra-judicial measures has traditionally meant far fewer young people ending up before the courts in Quebec, Trepanier said. Statistics show the introduction of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which placed a greater emphasis on such measures, led to similar trends across the country. It also led to fewer and shorter custodial sentences, but Trepanier said a lack of flexibility within the YCJA has effectively limited the ability of youth workers to design effective rehabilitation programs. “Youth are often sentenced to very short custodial sentences in which we can’t undertake a rehabilitation program and as such… they re-offend and they end up in custody for another short period,” he said. “Six sentences of one month don’t have the same effect as one six-month sentence even if the total length is the same.” Statistics show about 10 per cent of convicted youths in Quebec received a custodial sentence in 2006-2007, the second lowest in the country after Manitoba. Two-thirds of guilty-youth cases resulted in probation. Quebec was by far the province most likely to sentence teens to community service at 48 per cent, double the national average. Irvin Waller, a criminologist with the University of Ottawa’s Institute for the Prevention of Crime, suggested Quebec’s strong social safety net and “sophisticated” youth protection system have also contributed to lower crime rates. Besides focusing on rehabilitation for those already in trouble with the law, Quebec has invested heavily in programs that prevent crime. “The city of Montreal has invested in youth centres in areas where there were likely to be a lot of young people joining gangs,” he offered as an example. “It’s not a coincidence that (Montreal) has the lowest estimated number of youth gang members per capita of any major city in Canada.” He also touted the province’s $7-a-day daycare system as the sort of social policy that’s likely to reduce youth crime rates over time. While he agrees Quebec has consistently been the most progressive when it comes to its approach to youth crime, Waller said Alberta is poised to outpace it. In November 2007, the province launched a three-pronged “Safe Communities” initiative aimed at reducing crime by focusing on enforcement, prevention and treatment. The $468-million, three-year project has resulted in the opening of 20 new treatment beds for 18-24-year-olds recovering from addictions and the elimination of cheap drink specials at bars to improve staff and patron safety and avoid excessive liquor consumption. Alberta also plans to boost mental health services for children, substance abuse awareness in schools and make the transition back into the community easier for high risk youth. “This is the first three years of changing the way that government approaches these situations,” Alberta Justice Minister Alison Redford said. In Ontario, a recent report on youth violence found racism and poverty were direct contributors and recommended providing anti-racism training to police officers and ensuring teachers and school administrators better reflect the neighbourhoods they serve. It also called for $200-million for improved mental health services as well as better co-ordination among government ministries. Critics have argued the $2-million report, commissioned by the province after the fatal May 2007 school shooting of 15-year-old Jordan Manners in Toronto, merely stated the obvious and that the cash-strapped province likely won’t be able to implement the recommendations anyway.
I am always amazed when some ignorant, immoral persons demand, especially it seems uncompassionate Conservatives, who clearly too often still fail to change themselves, so they falsely think others being able to change is impossible as well, so they do try to enforce the “letter of the law” over the “spirit of the law”.. the “spirit of the law” means an attempt to allow a person to repent, rehabilitation, where as the “letter of the law” falsely demands full incarceration, punishments. Furthermore punishing children for the often neglect, sins of their own parents is still also absurd.. if anyone who should be punished here firstly it should be the parents anyway! Parents buck passing their sins onto the others is really criminal.
(Prov 22:6 KJV) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Ironically this issue was one of the main reasons that the Tories failed to get reelected and now they are stupid enough to try it again, they thus will be making the alternative coalition government of liberals being even more attractive to many next instead.
(John 8:7 KJV) So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
Like I wrote before
“The Bloc got another break when Stephen Harper made a statement pushing for teens who commit serious crimes to serve jail sentences in adult prisons. Mr. Duceppe slammed the Prime Minister for delivering “fresh meat” to prison pedophiles and sending young criminals to “the university of crime.””
Now really How can a now Alberta, redneck that was personally now even raised in Montreal, Quebec, now get it so wrong, did he accidently offend the people of Quebec or did he do so knowingly because he not care if it did cause he was trying to please so hard his hypocritical, Conservative rednecks of Alberta, who do emphasize now wrongfully now the letter of the law over the spirit of the law.. for now when there is an increase of problem children, juvenile delinquents, it is the parents firstly who have to take the majority of the blame and not the children. Surely the self professing Christian evangelical, Alliance church, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper knows this from his own personal Bible readings? (Prov 22:6 KJV) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
or is Stephen Harper now also, still just a pretender Christian now too not just a pretender poltician?