CRJS 370: Youth Justice is a three-credit, undergraduate-level course that takes a criminological approach to understanding separate youth justice systems in Canada and abroad. Young offenders receive special status under the law in Canada. How we respond to youth crime is important to society and, more broadly, to criminal justice. This course explores major theoretical perspectives of the causes of youth delinquency and how the criminal justice system responds to it. Specifically, students examine what youth crime “looks like” in Canada and how it is measured for research purposes. The course also focuses on the historical development and policy shifts that have changed how the system handles young offenders. This includes an examination of police discretion with youth, sentencing, and the use of interventions and programming to prevent youth crime. Students learn about and critically evaluate the current debates and issues in youth justice: Are youth more violent today than in the past? Does increasing penalties reduce youth crime? Do crime prevention programs work? Can we effectively rehabilitate young offenders?
Unit 1 – What Is a Youth Justice System and Why Do We Have a Separate System for Young People?