Measures outside the court

Youth crime can often be dealt with outside of a youth justice court setting. Diversion from youth justice court proceedings is known as extrajudicial measures.

Some examples are when a police officer gives a warning, caution or referral to a specific community program instead of charging the youth.

An extrajudicial measure can also be used after a youth is charged, and would then be referred to as an extrajudicial sanction.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act supports extrajudicial measures or measures outside the court, if these measures are adequate to hold a youth accountable for their offending behaviour.

Learn more about extrajudicial measures and sanctions in a Canadian Youth Justice setting.

Community programs

Examples of what youth can do in these programs:

  • take responsibility for their actions
  • get help to deal with substance abuse
  • learn how to stay out of trouble
  • volunteer in their community
  • fix damaged property
  • write an apology

Find more about programs by contacting your local regional office.

Police could charge the youth

If police charge a youth, a youth:

  • may be provided with a notice to appear in youth justice court form which will indicate the date, time and location of where they must attend
  • may be referred to a community-based program, known as post-charge extrajudicial sanction, for example:
    • attendance at a specific program
    • mediation
    • an apology
    • restitution or other activities that hold the youth accountable for their actions
  • may be held in detention while their case is before the youth justice court or until they are released (for example, on bail or found to be not guilty of the offence)

A youth could be detained

A youth may be held in detention when the youth justice court decides that:

  • it is necessary for public safety
  • there is a risk that the youth will not come to court

Youth justice facilities

When a youth is detained, they are placed in a youth justice facility. While in a youth justice facility, there is programming available to support reintegration and rehabilitation, and the youth can attend school within the facility to reduce any potential disruption to their education.

There are two types of facilities: open and secure.

An open custody/detention facility is generally a smaller residence located in the community where youth may have access to staff supervised programming.

Secure custody/detention facilities are generally larger sites, which have higher security measures (for example, fences around the property) and access to the community is generally restricted unless it is approved.

Find out what to do if a youth under the age of 18 is arrested. The police are required by law to contact a parent or guardian.

Find out what happens when a youth has been found guilty in court.

Youth in detention are assigned a probation officer

When a youth is placed in detention, a probation officer is assigned to provide additional support to a youth during this time. The probation officer can provide assistance with a number of issues depending on a youth’s needs, including reintegration back into your home community.

Programs and services in detention help youth:

  • work on anger management
  • deal with substance abuse issues
  • further their education
  • return to the community and to school after detention
  • make better choices