The government is considering possible changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act that would sharply increase the number of young offenders sent to adult jails, according to a memo obtained by CTV News.
The memo sketches a "preferred option" that would "give the Crown discretion to use adult criminal justice procedures for youths aged 16 and 17 who are charged with murder, attempted murder, manslaughter or aggravated sexual assault."
Judges currently decide whether young offenders should be charged as adults; the option outlined in the memo would strip them of that power.
The confidential note also assumes that about 80 per cent of youth charged with those offences would be referred to the adult criminal justice system, and "a significant amount would receive life sentences."
"It would be a very dramatic change and perhaps, in regard to adult sentencing, the most dramatic change we would have seen in a century in Canada," said Bala.
I don't want to defend murderers and sexual predators, but there is some validity to the notion that each case has its own set of circumstances. In hindering judicial discretion, the judge is powerless to address the nuances of each case. This fact is particularly concerning as it relates to minors, because the issue or possible rehabiliation is more pronounced. I see this latest move as ideologically driven, the notion that the courts are run by liberal judges, who need their power curbed.