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McGuinty Government Responds To Community Concerns

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McGuinty Government Responds To Community Concerns

Expanded Youth Justice Committees to benefit Toronto communities

Ministry of the Attorney General

TORONTO -- The McGuinty government is working to improve community safety by expanding the Youth Justice Committee (YJC) Program to help Toronto neighbourhoods deal more effectively with young offenders, Attorney General Michael Bryant announced today.

"This program holds low-risk young offenders accountable for their actions while giving them a second chance to become contributing members of society," said Bryant. "This program also allows local residents a role in improving the safety of their communities."

As part of its ongoing commitment to create safe, strong communities, the government will expand the Scarborough Youth Justice Committee to address the needs of the Malvern area and will establish a new committee covering both the Jane-Finch and Jamestown areas in Toronto.

YJCs determine appropriate ways in which offenders, between the ages of 12 and 18, can make amends for their actions, such as community service, compensation and/or personally apologizing to the victims. Over 80 per cent of participants had no further contact with the justice system within one year of completion.

The government will also expand the range of eligible offences for youths to qualify for participation in the program. Under the new, expanded criteria, offenders are eligible for consideration for the program if they commit low risk acts such as property offences over $5,000, giving a false name when arrested, credit card offences and minor assaults.

"Volunteer members of YJCs reflect their diverse communities," says Robin Chatterjee, Scarborough Youth Justice Committee member. "As such, the committees are responsive to the needs of the community they serve."

"We will seek to more actively involve Ontario's young people in their own communities as we continue to expand this program province-wide," said Bryant. "At the same time, we will continue to build strong communities by vigorously prosecuting those who commit violent crime."

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