The Role of Youth Justice Committees

Since 1996, 24 Youth Justice Committees have been established to serve 270 Calgary communities. As a result, over 12,000 Calgary youth have been diverted from the youth court system. Youth Justice Committees handle approximately 70% of the Extrajudicial Sanctions caseload for the entire city of Calgary.

In Calgary, YJC’s administer the Extrajudicial Sanctions program. Youth can be referred by Police or the Crown Prosecutor’s Office. For a youth to be eligible, it must be their first or second offence, be an eligible offence, accept responsibility for their actions and agree to participate.

Three volunteers (YJC Members) will meet with the young person and their parents/guardians. At this meeting, which usually takes about one hour, they will discuss the circumstances of the offence, school background, their family situation, special interests, what consequences have already been administered at home, the parents’ concerns, etc. With input from the youth and parents, YJC Members, will decide the sanctions that must be fulfilled for the youth to be successful. Up to 3 sanctions can be assigned based on the conversation they had with the youth, families and from reading the Police Report. Examples could include: an apology letter, community service hours and referrals to programs.