The Undergraduate Voice II: Youth Justice and Criminology

Monday May 16 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm (Eastern Daylight Time)
plateforme virtuelle

Session Code: UNG1B
Session Format: séance régulière
Session Language: anglais
Research Cluster Affiliation: None
Session Categories: Séance Régulière

This roundtable session is organized in the spirit of professional development, mentorship, and sharing. We invited undergraduate social scientists to submit papers to this session with the purpose of providing an opportunity to present work at an academic conference, network with colleagues and receive constructive feedback about their work. Tags: Développement Professionnel, enfant et jeunesse, Justice

Organizers: Gary Barron, Lethbridge College, Michael Corman, University of the Fraser Valley, Michael Granzow, Lethbridge College; Discussants: Justin Tetrault, University of Alberta Augustana, Susan Cake, Athabasca University, Michael Granzow, Lethbridge College


Marrah Kotler, Bishop's University; Katharine Dunbar Winsor, Bishops University; Concordia University

'Now what?': An examination of ongoing gaps post-diagnosis for justice-involved youth with FASD

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term referring to the lifelong neurodevelopmental impacts resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE). Recent prevalence indicates it is a leading cause of developmental disability in Canada (Popova, Lange, Shield, Burd, and Rehm, 2019). Researchers have illustrated that the criminal justice system (CJS) is a common landing point for individuals with FASD, and entry commonly occurs during adolescence (Popova, Lange, Burd, and Rehm, 2015). Many scholars have contributed to early intervention implementation or identifying markers in adolescence to deter criminal behaviour; however, resources and information for individuals with current or historical CJS involvement require further attention (Flannigan, Pei, Stewart, and Johnson, 2018). In this paper, we analyze newer research on the links between FASD and the CJS, discuss considerations from developmental theory and analyze salient issues involving youth with FASD. Three Canadian legal decisions involving justice-involved youth with FASD are drawn upon to mobilize three areas requiring further theorization and action regarding CJS responses to FASD. Using developmental theory, we centre the impacts of CJS on justice-involved youth with FASD and discuss possible resulting implications. We aim to highlight areas for further consideration when working with justice-involved youth with FASD, namely, gaps in early assessment and implementation of supports, needs to increase parent and caregiver capacity to maintain residential stability, and efforts to support desistance from crime in the context of an FASD diagnosis. 

Larissa Janssen, Trent University Durham

Young, Queer and Criminal: Criminogenic Risk Factors Experienced by LGBTQ+ Youth in Canada

My research explores how adversities faced by queer youth can contribute to criminogenic risk. The queer community, also known as the LGBTQ+ community, is composed of individuals who do not conform to gender and/or sexuality norms. This population is often overlooked, despite their increased experiences of discrimination (Abramovich, 2014; Majd et al., 2009; OCYAA, 2017; Ray, 2016). The Youth Criminal Justice Act (2002) stipulates that all measures taken against young people should respect and respond to young people’s special requirements and differences. Ensuring that this is meaningfully reflected in practice requires that justice professionals have a sound, holistic understanding of queer youth’s unique experiences. Through a review of relevant North American academic literature, my presentation will highlight experiences of queer youth, focusing on adversities faced in the home and at school. This research project brings together some of the most common risk factors faced by this marginalized group, including mental health issues, homelessness, and social isolation, (Majd et al., 2009; Snapp et al.,2014; Tadros et al., 2020), and discusses how they contribute to criminogenic risk. In Canada, the number of queer youths involved in the justice system is unknown (Peter et al., 2014). However, an overwhelming amount of academic literature indicates that queer youth may be at an increased risk for engaging in crime. After discussing the experiences of queer youth as outlined in existing literature, my presentation will conclude by highlighting the need for comprehensive, queer-focused prevention and intervention strategies to mitigate criminogenic risk.

Vanessa Pavicic, Trent University Durham

Conceptualizing Participation Rights in the Education System

Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) stipulates that all children have the right to participate (UNCRC, 1989). Although Canada ratified the UNCRC over 30 years ago, gaps continue to exist in terms of our understanding of how to incorporate participation rights in practice. Drawing on work from a fourth-year undergraduate class this presentation will explore the meaning of participation rights, as well as the benefits and challenges of implementation. A specific focus will be placed on participation rights within the education system. As duty bearers who work with children and young people, it is absolutely essential that we are educated on the UNCRC, not only because we need to be advocates for children, but we must be cautious that we do not violate their rights in any way. We must also understand that we have the responsibility to foster meaningful participation for the children we work with, meaning that we must provide them with the space to actively participate. This is important as participation has been linked to positive outcomes such as increased self-esteem, enhanced civil responsibility, and leadership skills (Lansdown and O’Kane, 2014). This presentation will conclude with an analysis of how education systems might be reimagined to foster a more rights-based approach.