INTRODUCTION In recent years, in Canada, we

INTRODUCTION In recent years, in Canada, we have seen a gradual reduction in the crime-rate. However, every day on the radio and on TV, we see and hear of another armed robbery, another sexual assault, another drug bust, or another brutal murder. This is scary because it affects us all. We are all potential victims; we are all susceptible to these horrible crimes. Even scarier is that more and more of these crimes, the violent ones, involve young offenders. We are hearing more and more about young offenders, youth between the ages of twelve and eighteen, who are stabbing people on school grounds, sexually assaulting others, and murdering their peers. Recently, we heard the story of a young boy, only six years old, who murdered a fellow classmate in a Michigan elementary school. A few years ago, we heard of the two young boys in England who murdered a boy who was under the age of three years. The dealing of narcotics on the school ground, be it elementary or high school, is increasing. Gradually, it seems that people from every age group are becoming victims, and people from every age group are becoming offenders. Because of space limitations, this paper will deal only with a few young offenders issues. In addition, only a few aspects of the Young Offenders Act will be dealt with. LEGISLATION The Young Offenders Act is the federal law for young people charged with crimes. Prior to April 2, 1984, the Young Offenders Act did not exist in Canada. Instead, the Juvenile Delinquents Act (which had been used since 1908) was used to deal with young offenders. The main philosophy of this latter Act was to deal with the welfare of the child. In April 1984, the Young Offenders Act was enacted and one of the major changes that took place was in the philosophy used to deal with young offenders. The Young Offenders Act recognizes that in some situations, a young offender may be deemed (by the trial judge) t…

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