Youth justice committees are an example of restorative justice processes that encourage the victim, the offender and members of the community to be directly involved in resolving conflict through dialogue and negotiation.
Section 18 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act allows volunteer community youth justice committees to assist in any aspect of the administration of the Act or in any programs or services for young offenders.
Committee members are not financially compensated for their committee involvement, although annual grants are provided in support of administrative and training needs for the youth justice committees. There are 130 youth justice committees located throughout the province and over 1500 Albertans volunteer on youth justice committees.
The majority of youth justice committees have assumed one or more of the following roles:
- Sentence Advisory
- Administering the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program
- Public Education/Crime Prevention
If you have questions regarding the forming of a Youth Justice Committee please refer to "Guidelines for a Youth Justice Committee".
Interested individuals or groups should contact the Young Offender Branch of Alberta Solicitor General for information regarding procedures and the roles fulfilled by committees.
Young Offender Branch
Solicitor General and Public Security
10th fl John E Brownlee Building
10365 - 97 Street
Phone: 780 422-5019
Fax: 780 422-0732
Youth Justice Eligibility Criteria and Nomination Form
After guilt has been established, the youth justice court judge may refer a young person to a youth justice committee. The committee will meet with the young person, parents/guardians and other significant adults, as well as the victim of the offence. The committee will look at the broader picture:
- What is happening in the young person’s life
- Examining the environment under which the offence was committed
- Determining current issues with respect to the offender’s family
- School attendance
- School performance and negative peer influences
After the meeting the committee makes recommendations to the youth justice court judge regarding an appropriate sanction.
Guidelines for Appointment to a Youth Justice Committee
December 12, 2000
- Members shall offer commitment to the interests of young people, victims and the community as a whole.
- Members shall reflect representation from the community at large.
- Probation officers, police officers and Crown prosecutors shall be considered resources to the committee as opposed to members.
- Applicants for membership shall be required to undergo a security clearance. A criminal record does not automatically preclude membership, however, any person with charges of violence or offences against a child will not be eligible for membership.
- Members shall consider all deliberations of the youth justice committee regarding individuals to be confidential.
- Members shall commit to being law abiding citizens and shall not negatively affect the credibility of the youth justice committee through their behaviour.
- If a conflict of interest arises, a member shall commit to remove himself/herself from involvement in a particular case.
- Members shall commit to operate within the framework of the Youth Criminal Justice Act and its principles.
Youth justice committees can be instrumental in educating a community about youth crime issues:
- The effects of youth crime in the community.
- Measures the community can take to reduce youth crime.
- Ways the community can better provide opportunities for its youth.
Committees could be instrumental in developing crime prevention programs such as Crime Watch and Block Parents.