Youth Justice

  1. Explain the nature and extend of substance abuse problem among youth in Canada and in Alberta.

In recent years the use of illegal substance is becoming quiet the concern in Canada. Most drug categories have been on the decline, but the use of alcohol is most popular followed by tobacco then marijuana. Alberta Health services states that 52 person on youth use alcohol, 30 percent use tobacco and 21 percent use marijuana. From 2004 to 2009 all of these categories have declined in Canada, but still an issue.

  1. What does the official sources of crime (police reported drug offences) tell us about the youth accused of drug offences in Canada for the past two decades?

In 2007, over 90,000 people accused of drug offences in Canada, out them 19% of those people were youth (ages 12-17).  Youth represented 24% of accused offenders for marijuana related offences, compared to only 5% charged with cocaine related offences. The crime rates of youth and drugs from the 1990’s have increased and is now rising “out of control” despite decreases in rates of adolescence drug use.

  1. The Alberta Youth Experience Survey (TAYES) sheds light on the substance abuse problem among youth in Alberta. What do the findings of TAYES 2008 tell us about the nature and extent of the problem? What are the limitations of these findings?

TAYES is a self report survey done within a few schools. Involved just under 3500 students between grade 7- 12 asking what they have tried. The findings showed that 49.1% used alcohol within the last year, 16.3% used Marijuana in the last year and 15.5% used codeine in the last year. It shows how those are the most accessible things to a young person, easy to get their hands on and use. The limitations of using a self-report survey like TAYES is that the young person could lie or exaggerate the information they are answering the question with.

  1. What is the relation between substance abuse and criminal behavior?

There are many different reasons how they are connected. First is how young commit criminal behaviors in order to support their addiction. Secondly they may be doing different crimes while they are under the influence or impaired from the different drugs. Also drugs can cause violent behaviors, when an individual is on a drug deal they may get into an altercation trying to obtain the drugs.

  1. Explain Paul Goldstein’s (1985) tripartite model to understand the connection between drug use and crime. For each segment of the model, explain examples of the crimes youth commit that are related to drugs.

First Systemic crime, it says that crime occurred as part of the system of drug distribution and use, A crime to describe this would be anything in a violent nature to help protect their amount of drugs as well as their territory that comes with drugs and drug dealing. Second Economic-compulsive crime, is crime committed as a mean of generating money to support drug use, also this could be growing or trafficking drugs in order to make enough money to support their addiction, or theft is another one in order to save money by stealing other objects to spend money on drugs.. Third is Psychopharmacological crime, which says crime, occurred when the use of drugs resulted in change or impairment in cognitive functioning, this relates to the intoxicating effect of being high, this could lead to a change in personality. This could be driving while impaired or creating violence from being high. 

  1. Which drugs compared to others, due to their psychopharmacological effects, are more strongly associated with the use of aggression and violence?

Marijuana and Heroin are two drugs that are similar as both of them provide a calming nature which pulls the person away from violence. Then Cocaine, PCP and LSD all can lead to violence and aggression. PSP is second highest thing to bring upon violence, next to alcohol. Coming off of cocaine can make the person irritated and cause violence. Then LSD can cause hallucinogenic properties which can cause anything to happen.

  1. What are the Mandatory youth Detoxification Legislations?

The legislations are the Youth detoxification and stabilization act (YDDSA), Protection of children abusing drugs act (PChAD) and youth drug stabilization (support for parents) Act. 

  1. What is PChAD? What are the strengths and limitations of PChAD?

PChAD is the Protection of Children Abusing Drugs Act, This is when the family calls the police issuing an arrest of their child because they are a threat to themselves or others because of their drug addictions. The youth is detained in a facility for up to 5 days to help detoxify then if needed the judge can make an extension of 5 days 3 times. Helps keep the youth in a secure place to detoxify. Strengths helps to kick start the child off to the rehabilitation stage. Limitations, its such a short amount of time, needs to be longer to rehabilitate the child.

  1. Define; Polysubstance Abuse. Psychopharmacological effect.

Polysubstance Abuse:  polysubstances are the combination of two or more substances, weed laced with coke for example. They are becoming more common to find youth mixing two or more substances.

Psychopharmacological effect: The change in a persons personality as a result of being under the influence. When Impaired a person is subject to radical changes to their personality.

  1. How have the perspectives on street-involved youth changed over time?

The perspectives on street youth have changed over time drastically because they are being more recognized in the street community. They are more visible and the in the past these street youth were labeled as runaways, throwaways, panhandlers etc. Now we as a society recognize this problem and the issues that these street youth can have many different disadvantages within the society. Come from an underhoused home, from poverty or suffer addictions or mental illness.


  1. What factors contribute to the growing number of street youth in Canada?

Many different factors contribute to the growing number of street youth in Canada a few of these factors would be growing up in poverty, suffering from addiction or having mental illness. These factors could make them disadvantaged and possibly leave them jobless or not making sufficient enough money to live in a home. Also it’s been reported that between 19 and 28% of street youth left the house because they received physical, sexual or emotional abuse at home. Also 30% left because they suffered neglect. 

  1. Describe the factors that lead youth to runaway from home and/or child placement services.

As stated above there is a large amount of the reasons for a youth to run away from home are because of the abuse they suffered, either physical, emotionally or sexually! As well they were put through excess amounts of neglect.

  1. What risk factors exist in the daily lives of street youth and how are these risk factors associated with their criminal behavior? 

Street youth have the risk of attracting STI’s or HIV, as well substance abuse is the most common coping mechanism for life on the streets. This leads to addictions. Youth are at risk of attracting HIV or other diseases from both sexual contact as well as from dirty needles to support their addictions. A lot of street youth barter sex for money in order to try to make some sort of living, could lead to all sorts of issues. Most of these issues all surround their addictions of substance abuse and lead to them doing criminal acts to make money to support them. Whether its soliciting, prostitution or drug dealing or theft.

  1. describe how legal control mechanisms such as Ontario Safe Streets act, criminals street involved youth. 

The Ontario safe streets act limits youth on making money and being able to survive. It places a big penalty on the different types of solicitation youth may do to make money. Soliciting is to request in person immediate provision of money or another thing of value, regardless of whether consideration is offered of provided in return for an act. Through two different types, 1 aggressive soliciting, which is forcefully doing something, ie, asking for money or following people around begging. Second is “captive audience” soliciting which is using something to make money, ie. The squeegee kids cleaning windshields

  1. Define: Street youth, Street involved youth, runaways, homeless, throwaways, survival or obligatory sex, life-cycle model, soliciting in an aggressive manner, and soliciting a captive audience.

Street Youth: Street youth have no universally accepted definition, but are typically people under the age of 25 living on the street.

Street involved youth: Youth 25 years old or younger who do not have a safe home or are underhoused; who have been forced to leave their families of origin; who have run away from their homes without consent of their parents or guardians or left a foster or group care placement who are living on the street and experiment and engage in street-involved activities and identify with street culture and street peer groupings.

Runaways: Youth who run away from their family or child welfare placement, at least overnight without parental or guardian permission. Often leave as a result of family conflict or maltreatment.

Homeless: Homeless youth are youth who have either left or been urged to leave home with the full knowledge or approval of legal guardianship. They have no alternative home in which to live.

Throwaways: Youth who are asked, or encouraged to leave home by their parents/guardians, with the purpose of ending parental responsibility for the well-being of the youth.

Survival or Obligatory sex: This is similar to prostitution as the youth has sex with different people in order to make money in order to survive. They offer the act of sexual intercourse to make money. 

Life cycle model: This model proposes a series of stages that youth encounter on the street and includes an initial engagement in street life, a stage where youth become more comfortable with street life, and finally periods of crisis during which some youth may transition off the street. A cyclical pattern is noted, however in that many youth who exit the street may become re-involved. 

Soliciting in an aggressive manner and a captive audience: Stated above.

  1. What is meant by the overrepresentation of Aboriginal youth in the justice system? Provide specific statistics to support your answer. What are reasons for overrepresentation?

Overrepresentation of aboriginal youth in the justice system is that there is greater population of aboriginal youth in the jails and the justice system although they are a minority outside of the jails. High incarceration rates compared to their general population. 

2006 census says the aboriginal youth make up 6% of youth in Canada, while there is 31% of the admissions to sentenced custody of youth are aboriginals (31% of men and 35% of female). As well 23% of youth held in remand center are aboriginals (22% male, 27% female).

Overrepresented because of discrimination, biological factors, bad neighborhoods, poor influences within the reserves. Hit the bottle too much!

There are numerous different reasons for the overrepresentation of aboriginals could be because of low educational attainment, and high rates of dropouts and unemployment. Also there is high rates of violence, family violence and sexual assaults involving aboriginals. Make bad decisions cause of hitting the bottle on and off the reserves, don’t know any better. Also possibly treated harsher in the justice system.


  1. Describe model of general theory of crime by Gottfredson and Hirschi (1991). (Understanding of relationship between poor socialization, self-control, opportunity to commit crime and crime).

The general theory of crime talks mostly about self-control and how people with low self-control will more likely commit crime. Low self control is made up of six characteristics which are impulsivity (have impulsive actions and unable to defer gratification) Lack of diligence (talks about people who want to meet their goals the easiest way possible), Risk taking (people who enjoy adventure and searching for adrenaline rush), Physicality (tendency to be physical as opposed to valuing or possessing cognitive or academic skills), Insensitivity (People who are self-centered or insensitive), Low frustration Tolerance (unable to controls their frustrations).

Not only does the low self-control contribute to a person being more likely to commit a crime, they need to have the convenience and opportunity to do so. These people are more likely to create good social bonds and have poor socialization skills. There are no stable relationships made with other individuals so the people with low self-control have no remorse or anything to loose so turn to crime. 

  1. What are three major types of strain in Robert Agnew’s General Strain Theory?

The three major types of strain in Robert Agnew’s general strain theory are, 1) Failure to achieve goals, 2) Removal or positive stimuli and 3) Presentation of negative stimuli.  When a person is surrounded by negativity the person is more likely to not care and commit the crime. It’s a form of coping.

  1. Describe model of general strain theory of crime by Robert Agnew (Understanding the relationship between consequences of negative relationships, strain, anger and crime). 

Robert Agnew looks at how a person’s life is filled with negative impacts that they are most likely to look towards crime as an outlook of coping. When a person is surrounded by negativity it creates a strain in their life that they believe they aren’t good enough, and begin to get angry and don’t care anymore about what they do because everything they do have a negative consequence thus leads to crime being committed.

  1. Describe Age-graded theory of social control. (Understanding of age, critical events/turning points and desistence from crime).

Age-graded theory of social control is a theory that seeks to explain how people become involved in offending in the first place, why people keep offending and later changes that lead individuals to move from offending to non-offending. Or vise versa. It suggests that social structural factors influence the quality and levels of social bonds. As well suggests that as we move through our life there will be some sort of turning point in our life to make us flip the tables. Could start out as deviant children and then move through life and mature to get away from deviance. Things like divorce or marriage as well employment or unemployment can lead us to or from offending as an adult. As adolescents we are easier to persuade and follow the behaviors of others to fit in. As people mature, the factors that influence their propensity to commit crime change. In childhood, family factors are critical; in adulthood, marital and job factors are key.

  1. Describe Charles Tittle’s Control Balance Theory.

The idea of being controlled focuses on how an individual’s behavioral choices are restricted to some degree by some other person or group of people who have the power or resources to impede or assist that individual in achieving his or her goals or in satisfying his or her motivation.  Basically you do as the other person does. This is in combination with control surplus and control deficit. Explained lower….

  1. What are the types of conditions control deficit and control surplus will lead to? What are the examples of crimes that will result from the six conditions produced by control deficit and control surplus?

Control deficit is where the amount of control that a person experiences exceeds the amount of control exercised. For example if you felt that school had greater control over you than you had over it, you would have a control deficit for that domain. Control surplus is when the amount of control you exercise is greater then the amount of control you experienced, for example if you felt you had more control over your friendships then they had over you, you’d have control surplus in that domain. 

Deficit can lead to; Predation (direct forms of physical violence), defiance (Challenges to control mechanisms), submission (passive, obedience).

Excessive control (surplus) can lead to; Exploitation (using others to commit a crime), Plunder (using power without regards for others) and Decadence (spur of the moment irrational actions).


  1. Describe Mark Covin’s Differential coercion theory.

Theory surrounds two main dimensions of control, first surrounds coercion (a personal or impersonal force that compels or frightens an individual to behave a certain way) and the second dimension of control is the consistency with which it is delivered. Children who are exposed to coercive environments are more likely to develop social-psychological deficits that increase the possibility of their committing crimes. 

  1. Define: Self-control, Turning points, control balance, coercion, moral panic, critical discourse.

Self-Control: The ability to control oneself.

Turning points: Events in someone’s life that affects positively or negatively to push them towards or away from deviant behaviors.

Control Balance: The degree of control individuals perceive that they have over their environment relative to the degree of control they perceive the environment has over them. 

Coercion: a personal or impersonal force that compels or frightens an individual to behave a certain way.

Moral Panic: Exaggerated fears about social problems, including youth deviance partly generated by the media.

Critical discourse: An approach in socio-linguistics that links discourse with political structure. 

  1. Distinguish between restorative justice and retributive justice.

Restorative justice looks at making the offender accountable to his/her actions and repairing harm done to the victims. While Retributive justice is making the offender accountable for his/her actions through the form of punishment.

  1. How use of RJ is mandated in YCJA?

Restorative justice is mandated in YCJA by using alternative measures instead of giving the youth a custody sentence. This helps make the youth accountable for their actions through the forms of Extrajudicial Sanctions and Extrajudicial Measures. As well there is the possibility of sentencing circles to have the community come together to figure out an appropriate consequence for the youth who had committed the crime and to repair harm done to the society. 

  1. Define and outline the purpose of: Victim-offender reconciliation, family group conferencing, sentencing circles, peacemaking circles, and community conferencing.

Victim-offender reconciliation: is a process through which a trained mediator, often a volunteer brings both the victim and the offender of the criminal event together to achieve a resolution that is satisfactory to both parties.

Family Group Conferencing: a process of collaborative planning in situations where decisions need to be made for children or youth, it is a formal meeting where members of the child/youth’s immediate family come together with extended kin and member. This is a very common practice in New Zealand, it is done before the youth goes to court, if nothing is solved through this then the child or youth is sent to youth court.

Sentencing Circles: invite members of the community to join the judge, prosecutor, defense counsel, police, social workers, community elders, the offender along with the victim and their families and supporters. They all meet in a circle to discuss the offence, factors that may have contributed to it, sentencing options and ways of reintegrating the offender back into the community. 

Peacemaking circles: draw directly from the tradition of the talking circle, common among indigenous people of North America. The physical format of the circle symbolizes shared leadership, equality, connection, and inclusion. Using very intentional structural elements- ceremony, a talking piece, a facilitator or keeper, guidelines and consensus decision-making circles aim to create a safe space for authentic dialogue. 

Community Conferencing: A safe controlled environment in which the offender, the victim and their families or supporters are brought together under the guidance of a trained facilitator. Together, using a scripted dialogue process, they discuss the offence and how they have all been affected, and jointly develop a plan to correct what has occurred.

  1. How adminstration of RJ differs in New Zealand’s youth justice system (in the form of Family group conferencing) from that in Canada

In New Zealand their plan is to make the youth restore the harm of the action they committed, very similar to Canada but in New Zealand they use family group conferencing. As stated above is a formal meeting between families as they come together to create an outline of what should be done based on the harm that has been committed. These are the first steps in what should be done and if there is no solution then the youth will be sent to youth court after that. But youth court is a last resort to make the youth pay for their actions, while in Canada it’s directly to the court the youth goes. Then in court the judge will make a decision of what has to be done. It differs because in Canada the justice officials all have a say in what the decision will be, but in New Zealand it’s the family members that come to a decision with the help of a facilitator which could show the youth that their family is disappointed or concerned.

  1. How common delinquency differs from distinctive delinquency?

Common delinquency would be little petty crimes that youth do, like shoplifting or fighting etc. While distinctive delinquency is something planned out and is a serious crime, such as homicide or assault with a weapon that requires a more serious intervention. Something that is more planned out rather then something common and spur of the moment. 

  1. Define: Psych-educational model, Boscoville program.

Psych-educational model: A model developed in Quebec that followed Boscoville experience and is now recognized as a profession specializing in the intervention of troubled youth. Mostly this model looks at, youth with problems in their upraising and used intense interactions with an educator to help promote a positive environment for the offender or troubled youth. Looked at the youth’s mental capacity and retaught them through everyday interactions to help reintegrate them back into society.

Boscoville program: A unique program introduced in the 1950’s in Quebec that was based on social welfare and psych-educative model and that introduced elements in its program designed to teach delinquent youth the necessary skills, values, and attitudes that would allow them to develop a sense of social responsibility to be reintegrated into society.

  1. What are the problems in defining a gang and how the definitional issues hinder the understanding of youth gang problem and subsequently, dealing with it?

It very hard to define a gang because it could hold many different values around the world and between gangs. Anything could be considered a gang, a class full of students could be considered a gang because everyone has a similar goal and views and are “fighting” and battling to get to the top. 

But according to Criminal Code of Canada… 

One of the main issues when looking at gangs and its various synonyms is in relation to the definition. There are multiple terms used when referring to gangs.

While there is no legislated definition for gangs in Canada, section 467.1 the Criminal Code does define a criminal organization as

467.1(1) “criminal organization” means a group, however organized that

  1. is composed of three or more persons in or outside Canada; and

b. has as one of its main purposes or main activities the facilitation or commission of one or more serious offences that, if committed, would likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of a material benefit, including financial benefit, by the group or any of the persons who constitute the group.

  1. What are the three typologies of gangs as outline on page 257-258 of  textbook?

The lowest level of gang is the Street level gangs, these are the guys slinging drugs and getting into fights. For example, Ogden boys, Southside boys ect. Not developed making minimal money just at bottom of totem pole, lower levels of sophistication and organization and usually younger in age.

The second level of gangs is the Mid Level Gangs, this could be Indian Posse, Red Alert, FOB, etc. They are typically older then street level gangs and are making more money and have more organization within their gang.

Finally the top level of gangs are the “Organized crime groups” the example of these are Hells Angels, they are the ones making all the money and supplying the rest of the gangs with drugs. Very organized and typically older people who know what they are doing.

  1. Describe the push and pull factors that motivate young people to join a gang.

Push Factors could be anything like; Escaping the problems at home, feeling the power that nobody can touch you, feeling respected by your peers. Having protection because someone will always have your back, have fame or power, a sense of belonging to something, Identity that your known for something, status within an organization or even being recognized as something or someone.

Pull Factors could be money because you started off with less money and this is a chance to make some money, your able to have fun and add excitement into their lives as well girls or boys will like you because you got status and SWAGGER!

  1. What can we learn from gang graffiti?

We are able to learn if there is arising issues within the different gangs and communities, if one gang spray paints over another gangs graffiti there could be issues starting. It’s a sign of disrespect, or moving into another gangs marked territory. We are able to see where the gangs are present and what their territory is as well.

  1. How Calgary Police Service has responded to gang problem in our city? Describe programs or initiatives under each of these categories: Communication (education); Prevention and Intervention; Enforcement.

Communication: Calgary police services has made a website called that has picture and information about how gang life is a dead end. They have created website to inform and deter youth away from the gang life and do presentations in schools.

Prevention and Intervention: They have created a few different Teams ad programs that target different age groups of children. First is the Youth at-risk development program (YARD) which talks about the negative aspects surrounding gang life and how youth can have better more positive alternatives. Targets youth ages 10-17. Then there is the Multi agency school support teams (MASST) that targets youth ages 5-15 years of age. The purpose behind MASST is a team of police officers and teachers and school counselors monitoring children and figuring out what the underlying factors are in why children choose the gang life and try to inform them the consequences and steer them away from it.

Enforcement: Calgary has a newly established gang suppression unit which goes around to the local bars and night clubs and finds gang members or anyone affiliated with the gang lifestyle and remove them from the premises. This prevents them from having a good time and spending the money they have made and not getting women. If they realize they are constantly being harassed by law enforcement and they can’t have fun or spend the money they are making they might leave the gang lifestyle.

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