Youth Crime

The Canadian government has decided to create a new bill called  Safe Streets and Communities Act. This bill is said to be a ” comprehensive legislation that will target crime and terrorism and provide support and protection to victims of crime”¹.  This bill  re-introduces reforms that were turned own before the conservative party gained the majority. Some of the reforms would affect how youth crimes are dealt with and how severely a youth would be punished in a Canadian court of law.

 Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders (previously Bill C-4), which cracks down on young offenders. Among other things it would change the rules to allow the pre-trial detention of young people accused of property crimes that are punishable by a maximum of five years or more. It would order the court to consider seeking an adult sentence for young offenders aged 14 and older convicted of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault. (

This reform would hurt the public more than it would help protect it. 14 year-olds should not be tried as  adults because they simply are not adults. They still need the guidance that their parents and teachers give them.  Putting them in a prison is not going to help them develop the skills that they will need in order to fit into society either. It would be better if 14-year-old was sent to be rehabilitated instead because in my opinion if a 14-year-old is committing the crimes that are listed above, then they are doing it for a reason .  That reason should be sought out to help the child instead of putting them into a tough environment like a prison.

Along with new act however, comes a new need for prisons to detain the increase of prisoners that the Canadian government is predicting once this new bill passes. They estimate that it will cost $2.1-billion and “(t)he budget for the Correctional Service of Canada has already increased 86.7 per cent, from $1.597-billion annually since 2006 when the Conservatives took office”². The government should be finding ways to cut how much they are spending and shouldn’t be piling on more debt. After Texas changed it’s “tough on crime” stance, their crime rate went down. Instead of jailing young offenders, Texas put them back into their community rehabilitation programs and they put more money into those programs. The crime rates in Texas have gone down because of this. Now Texas is warning Canada that the approach that Canada is taking on crime is a bad idea and it “didn’t work”³ for them. I do not see why these measures need to be made in the first place when crime rates have been decling over the past twenty years²in Canada.

In closing, I think that the government of Canada should look more closely at the bill and decide whether they really need it. If they do decide that Canada would benefit from this bill, then they should inform Canadians about it. They need to tell Canadians how this new bill would affect them, why they need it, when will it be put in place or if it will be put in place and if it will affect all of Canada or only certain provinces and territories. These are only some of the questions that should be answered. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.”                                                                       (  

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