Section 16: A hidden self-contradiction of the Y. O. A. Section 16 contradicts Young Offenders Act. The ability of the courts to divert young offenders into ordinary court goes against section 3, the declaration of principles, particularly section 3 (c. ) of the Y.
O. A. , which states that young persons who commit crime require supervision, discipline and control, but, because of their state of dependency and level of development and maturity, they also have special needs and require guidance and assistance; Young people who commit manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault, murder or attempt to commit murder, should suffer retribution for their crimes, because the fact is that these are grizzly acts of animosity that cannot go unpunished. Though section 16 allows this punishment to occur, and maybe even addresses another very important factor in assuring the victim and his or her family, that justice has been done; at such a young age, offenders need more than a lengthy prison term.
This may be necessary to protect society, but clearly, young people who commit such heinous acts are severely reckless and misguided and have no regard for society s most basic rules. They need direct one on one counseling, guidance, and support that an ordinary adult sentence may not sufficiently provide. The fact of the matter is that there are no panaceas for this problem, and we can t make it disappear. As disturbing as it is, there will always be the shocking horror stories of children turned savage murderers.
There was the 12-year-old boy who savagely beat a 6-year-old girl to death, supposedly mimicking his favorite wrestler while he pummeled this girl to death, who was one-third his size. In Sacramento, 14-year-old youth, who while apparently mimicking a TV show, gruesomely stabbed and murdered a minim art clerk. Then there is what seems to be the perpetually increasing number of school shootings. These savage criminals should not be sent to a typical young offender center for a couple of years and released as if nothing had happened. However, section 16 does not provide an adequate solution to this epidemic of kid criminals. According to an article in the Sacramento Bee by Marie Lindstrom, Research suggests that adolescents squeezed through the adult system are more likely to come out as violent career criminals than similar kids handled on the juvenile side.
Though I do agree with the method for making the determination of transferring to ordinary court section 16 (2), which is based on the seriousness and circumstances of the offence, the age, maturity, character, and background of the young person, I do not agree with the general idea of transferring young offenders to adult court. A young person who commits serious offences must often be detained to uphold society s right to be protected from crime, but sending youths to an adult penitentiary contradicts section 3 (c. 1). This section states that the protection of society, which is a primary objective of the criminal law applicable to youth is best served by rehabilitation, wherever possible, of young persons who commit offences, and rehabilitation is best achieved by addressing the needs and circumstances of a young person that are relevant to the young person s offending behaviour; I do not entirely agree with the way the criminal justice system is run, nor all aspects of the Young Offenders Act. As much as it pains me to see young offenders constantly get off with a slap on the wrist, I do feel that under any and all circumstances, young offenders must be treated differently than adults. Young offenders need guidance, as many of the young offenders may have had very little deep-seated guidance to begin with.
A lengthy prison term with hard-assed criminals is simply not the way to rehabilitate a young person, no matter how serious their crime was. Simply put, section 16 contradicts the declaration of principles set out in the Y. O. A. act itself, and as such has no place in the act.