Lesson 6: Youth Criminal Justice Act – Key Elements Part 2

Snapshot

Grade Level

8-10; younger grades can perform a scripted conference, and fupper grades may do the non-scripted conference.

Duration

2 periods; more if simulations are done

Lesson Plan (PDF)

Introduction

In Part 2 students will learn about YCJA conferences and when they are used.  Students will also discover that victims have a constructive and important role to play in the youth justice system. Victims' concerns are formally recognized in the YCJA and they are given opportunities to participate in a meaningful way.

Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will:

  • Understand what a community justice conference is and be able to explain why a conference should take place as an alternative to going to court
  • Describe the roles of youth, victims and other community participants in the community justice conference
  • Identify the advantages of using conferences rather than court
  • Understand that victims have a constructive and important role to play in the youth justice system
  • Gain some empathy for victims of crime

Focus Questions

  1. What is the role of a community justice conference?
  2. How does a community justice conference take place?
  3. What are the advantages to using conferences?
  4. What is the role of the victim under the YCJA?
  5. What rights does the victim have under the YCJA?

Teaching Summary

Topic 1: YCJA Conferences

Students will learn about conferences and their use under the provisions of the YCJA including what happens in a conference, who may call a conference and who is the advice from the conference given to. There is also an introduction to restorative justice and how it can be effective in youth criminal cases especially when the focus is on repairing the harm done to the victim.

There are two scripted community justice conferences and one non-scripted healing circle for the students to perform so they can gain a first-hand understanding of the effect and impact conferences can have when dealing with offenders. A short quiz is also provided to test the students understanding.

Topic 2: Victims and Youth Justice

Students will learn about the provisions of the YCJA which deal with victims. The YCJA recognizes the interest and needs of victims to be involved in the process. Students will read about Victims and Youth Justice and then apply that learning to a series of scenarios where they need to consider the victim’s point of view when deciding how to handle the case. A short true or false quiz finishes off this activity and the lesson.