QUEBEC, June 16, 2011 /CNW/ - Changing Canada's youth crime law to allow
stiffer sentences for children as young as 14 years convicted of
serious or violent offences will have significant negative
consequences, says the Canadian Paediatric Society in a statement
The CPS joins the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Council of
Child and Youth Advocates in calling on the federal government to
revisit proposed changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Bill C-4,
An Act to Amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was first introduced by the Conservative government in March 2010, but
died on the order table when the election was called. It is expected to
be reintroduced early in this new session of Parliament along with
other law-and-order measures.
"The Youth Criminal Justice Act should not be amended as proposed," says
Dr. April Elliott, member of the CPS Adolescent Health Committee and
co-author of the statement. "The proposed changes could create
dangerous gaps in services, education, and healthcare that will have
negative health effects for incarcerated adolescents."
Sensible and effective public policy around youth justice must
acknowledge that adolescents are different from adults. The current
Youth Crime Justice Act, which reflects the UN Convention on the Rights
of the Child, supports rehabilitation and reintegration. Proposed
changes threaten to put the emphasis on incarceration.
"We need a system that is developmentally appropriate for teens," says
Among the CPS recommendations:
The federal government should work with provincial/territorial
governments to establish a national youth crime prevention strategy
that includes early detection and treatment of mental and behavioural
health issues that might otherwise lead to criminal activity.
Youth convicted of a crime and incarcerated should receive appropriate
mental and physical health care, as well as rehabilitation and
educational services, consistent with Canada's commitment to the UN
Convention of the Rights of the Child.
Any future amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act must consider
the rights of youth and their mental, physical, developmental, and
The Canadian Paediatric Society is a national advocacy association that
promotes the health needs of children and youth. Founded in 1922, the
CPS represents nearly 3,000 paediatricians, paediatric subspecialists
and other child health professionals across Canada.
SOURCE Canadian Paediatric Society
For further information:
For a copy of the full statement visit:
Media Relations Coordinator
Canadian Paediatric Society
613-526-9397 ext. 247
On-site in Quebec (June 15 - 18)