Teaching Youth Justice

Lesson 2.2: Rights on Arrest

Now that students have an understanding of police discretion, they will be able to better-understand that sometimes police must arrest a young person. This lesson will build student understandings of the rights of a young person on arrest.

1. Use Reasonable Cause for Arrest to explain to students that the police are required to have very specific reasons to arrest people.

2. Introduce the following scenario to students:
Imagine walking home after dark. A police car pulls up. The police get out of the car and tell you that you are under arrest.
Ask students what rights they would like to have at that moment and list them on the board. Keep this list up as it will be returned to later.

3. Go through Arrest Flowchart as a class.

  • Why would the YCJA require that parents or guardians be contacted when a young person is arrested?
  • Do you think that the police should have the power to photograph and fingerprint people before they have been found guilty of an offence?

4. Distribute Rights on Arrest to explain to students that, by law, youth have the right to:

  • know the reason for arrest
  • remain silent
  • talk to a lawyer and parent or other adult of the young person’s choice
  • be released from custody unless certain conditions are present

Students may find PLEA’s “Your Rights under the Youth Criminal Justice Act” pocket information cards helpful for learning this. Email us at to order class sets.

5. Return to the list created in Procedure 2. Determine which rights listed fall under the legal rights of a young person as described in Rights on Arrest. With the remaining items on list, have students debate why or why not these items should be protected rights.

Reasonable Cause for Arrest


Arrest Flowchart


Rights on Arrest