GOVERNMENT OF CANADA ANNOUNCES COMING INTO FORCE OF THE VIOLENT AND REPEAT YOUNG OFFENDERS SEGMENT OF THE SAFE STREETS AND COMMUNITIES ACT

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OTTAWA, October 23, 2012 – The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the coming into force of new accountability measures for violent and repeat young offenders.

“Our Government is committed to keeping our streets and communities safe,” said Minister Nicholson. “These changes to the youth criminal justice system are needed, balanced, and responsible. They are a result of consultations with victims, my provincial and territorial counterparts, youth justice professionals, and front-line youth justice workers.”

As of today, the Protecting Canadians from Violent and Repeat Young Offenders segment of the Safe Streets and Communities Act (former Bill C-10) is in effect. In particular, its provisions will:

  • highlight the protection of society as a fundamental principle in the Youth Criminal Justice Act;

  • simplify pre-trial detention rules to help ensure that, when necessary, violent and repeat young offenders are kept off the streets while awaiting trial;

  • strengthen youth justice sentencing provisions to remove the barriers, when appropriate, to sentencing youth offenders to custody;

  • require the Crown to consider seeking adult sentences for youth who commit the serious violent offences of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault. (Provinces and territories will maintain the discretion to set the age at which this requirement would apply.);

  • require the courts to consider lifting the publication ban on the names of young offenders found guilty of violent offences;

  • require police to keep records when informal measures are used in order to make it easier to identify patterns of re-offending; and

  • ensure that all youth under 18 years of age who are given a custodial sentence will serve it in a youth facility.

“All too often, the justice system was powerless to keep violent or repeat young offenders in custody, even when they posed a danger to society,” said Senator Boisvenu. “From now on, violent or repeat young offenders will be held fully accountable for their actions and the safety and security of law-abiding Canadians will be given full consideration at sentencing.”

The Government introduced the Safe Streets and Communities Act on September 20, 2011, fulfilling its commitment to expeditiously reintroduce a series of law-and-order legislation aimed at combating crime and terrorism. The Safe Streets and Communities Act received Royal Assent on March 13, 2012.

An online version of the legislation can be found at www.parl.gc.ca.

Backgrounder: Safe Streets & Communities Act: Protecting Canadians From Violent and Repeat Young Offenders

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