Further Consideration of Bill C-4 Should be Suspended
OTTAWA - The CanadianCouncil of Child and Youth Advocates (CCCYA) today strongly recommended thatParliament should stay any further consideration of Bill C-4, the Act amendingthe Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).
In a submission to theHouse of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights Mary EllenTurpel-Lafond, president of CCCYA and British Columbia’s Representative forChildren and Youth, and Sylvie Godin, vice-president of CCCYA andvice-president of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de lajeunesse, Quebec, presented seven recommendations regarding Bill C-4.
“We see no evidence thatshows the proposed amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act will decreaseyouth crime or increase safety of the Canadian public,” said Turpel-Lafond. “Weunderstand that any incident of violent crime is egregious. It has devastatingeffects on families, communities and the public.
“However, despite ourdistress at such incidents, we must not respond by locking up more youth andhanding out more adult sentences to youth.”
The CCCYA’s views are inagreement with the findings of the federal government’s national stakeholderconsultative process, which concluded that there is little support for changesto the Act at this time.
“Aboriginal youth aregrossly over-represented in the youth criminal justice system,” said Godin.“When policies and changes in criminal law move the system in the direction ofmore detention, we can expect a more negative effect on Aboriginal youth thanon any other group in Canadian society and that is unacceptable.”
The CCCYA also called onthe federal government to find ways to stop the inappropriate criminalization ofyouth who have mental health issues or cognitive impairments through a nationalstrategy that responds to their treatment needs rather than increasingincarceration.
It also recommends thatthe federal government adequately fund the non-custodial options provided forin the YCJA by ensuring that money is channelled to provincial and territorialgovernments who administer the Act.
For a copy of thecomplete submission please go to www.rcybc.ca.
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