Checking our proposed solutions

However we define the “problem” of youth crime, we need to ask if the proposed solution is the correct one. For example, does imprisonment work to reduce youth crime? While it may be hard to tell if youth crime really is on the rise in Canada, research demonstrates that incarceration is not an effective response.

“Social science research consistently indicates that an increase in the severity of punishment imposed on adolescents does not affect the youth crime rate: youth who are prone to committing offences do not consider the likelihood or consequences of being apprehended.” [1]

Similarly, according to a 2008 survey conducted by the Canadian Department of Justice, most respondents did not feel that youth or adult prison was a highly effective way to promote acceptable behaviour among youth.

CHART. Percentage of Respondents who Indicated the Following Responses would be “Highly Effective” in Promoting Acceptable Behaviour among Youth, Canada, 2008


Sources: graph; [1] Cesaroni, C. & Bala, N. (2008) Deterrence as a principle of youth sentencing: No effect on youth, but a significant effect on judges. Queen’s Law Journal, 34: 447.

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