Chapter 2.docx - Chapter 2 Nothing but the Facts Measuring...

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Chapter 2: Nothing but the Facts’: Measuring Youth Crime in Canada Two separate sources of measurement: official accounts of social control and unofficial sources. Official account police, courts and corrections Unofficial sources self-report studies and victimization surveys The unofficial sources of crime allow us to see the extent of the unrecorded delinquency or “dark figure of crime” Dark figures of crime: incidents of crime or delinquency that go undetected or unreported to the police. Youth at risk : young people whoa re ‘at risk’ of being offending or being victimized because of various social, family, and/or personal factors. Delinquency or juvenile delinquencies were terms used in the 1908 Juvenile Delinquents Ac t to describe ‘any child who violates any provisions of the Criminal Code or any federal or provincial statue’. With the passing of the Young Offenders Act in 1984, the terms were then replaced with the less pejorative (judgmental) phrase young person’ . A young person who commits an offence is referred to as a young offender and the offence is then know as a youth crime . YCJA defines a young person as “a person who is or, in the absence, of evidence to the contrary, appears to be twelve years old, or older, but less than eighteen years old and, if the context requires, includes a person who is charged under the Act with having committed an offence while he or she was a young person who is found guilty of an offence under this Act” JDA definition of juvenile delinquency was supposed to build an informal concept of system control, while the YCJA places greater emphasis on the legal aspect and holding young offenders legally responsible for their actions. The legal definition of youth crime mainly focuses on predatory (break-and-enter, robbery) and aggressive (assault, murder) behaviour . The legal definition only allows us to describe the problem; there are many limitations to its use: Theoretical insight: legal definition does not take in to account victimless crimes, due to the vague meaning of youth crime. Demographic: changes in the age distribution, particularly for high-risk (15-24 year olds) offender groups, can influence crime rates.
Case filtration and dismissal: depending on the nature of the crime/deviance, cases of youth crime are often eliminated because they are perceived as lacking sufficient gravity, or lacking conviction due to insufficient evidence. Policy and administration variation: how the YCJA is interpreted varies among, and even within, provinces and territories. Method of gathering statistics: data used to track youth crimes tends, cleared crime, and patterns of youth crime are derived from different administrative sources: police records, judicial records, and correctional records. Although these findings are published annually by Stats Canada, the results of the statistics can be misleading because of the enumeration (records) of youth crime gives us a

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