Prosecution directives

The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) governs the prosecution of young persons aged 12 to 17 who are alleged to have committed criminal offences. The youth criminal justice system is intended to protect the public by:

  1. holding young persons accountable through measures that are proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the young person
  2. promoting the rehabilitation and reintegration of young persons who have committed offences
  3. supporting the prevention of crime by referring young persons to programs or agencies in the community to address the circumstances underlying their offending behavior

Further the principles of the YCJA require that the criminal justice system for young persons be distinct from that of adults and must acknowledge a presumption of diminished moral blameworthiness or culpability of youth.

Prosecutors must ensure that all decisions taken at every stage of the youth justice system, from diversion to sentencing, conform to these and other principles in the YCJA and legal requirements of the YCJA.

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