Teaching Youth Justice


The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) recognizes the importance of maintaining a separate system for applying criminal law to young people aged 12-17. It is essential that society understands this, why this is, and what it accomplishes. With this in mind, Teaching Youth Justice has been written to provide instructional material around the concept of justice reflected in the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and to
introduce the philosophy and procedures of the YCJA.

Teaching Youth Justice is divided into three sections, each with a specific focus:

  • Section One: Justice Outside of the Courtroom allows students to consider how and why the YCJA helps young people avoid the court process for less-serious crimes.
  • Section Two: Youth, the Police, and Arrest takes a closer look at the law when youth are in contact with the police.
  • Section Three: Youth and the Courts explores what happens when the youth justice process involves the Courts.

To illustrate these concepts, each section’s lessons include relevant teacher background information, student handouts, and fictional incidents alongside real-life case studies. To substantively build understandings of these concepts, each lesson purposefully revisits key concepts to scaffold students into greater understandings.

Through its youth justice context, Teaching Youth Justice has been specifically written to support the three Foundational Knowledge/Content Objectives of the Saskatchewan Law 30 Curriculum’s Criminal Law unit:

  • know that the criminal law is based in written statutes
  • know the rights and responsibilities of citizens in relation to the criminal justice system
  • investigate the structure, functions, and purpose of the current criminal justice model in Canada

Of course, no single resource can successfully fulfill all the requirements of any curriculum. However, Teaching Youth Justice provides a comprehensive frame for teachers to approach the Criminal Law unit. Because teachers are the professionals situated closest to their students and the actual learning that takes place in Saskatchewan classrooms, teachers are encouraged to augment the materials in this resource in the manner they see best.

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Teaching Youth Justice

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