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Child Protection vs. Crime Prevention: The Regulation of Young Offenders' Private Information in Canada

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image of The International Journal of Children's Rights

Having examined 151 years of enacted legislation in the Canadian youth criminal justice system (1857–2007), the author analyzes how the Parliament of Canada has regulated the publication of information that identifies young people as being or having been dealt with by the justice system. Piñero identifies four different time periods in the legislation: 1857–1891; 1892–1907; 1908–1981; and 1982–2007. The regulation enacted during 1857–1891 was not concerned with the publication of information that may identify young offenders. This position started to change during the period 1892–1907, reaching its highest point during the period 1908–1981. The 1908–1981 period was highly concerned with the protection of young offenders' private information, since such a measure was perceived as an important factor for granting young offenders rehabilitation. However, since 1982 this direction started to change: the enacted regulation during the period 1982–2007 drew a distinction between two groups of young offenders according to the seriousness of the committed offences, thereby protecting the private information of one of the groups but not the private information of the other. Piñero argues that the theoretical implications underlying the regulation of young offenders' privacy rights in the period 1908–1981 constituted an evolution (innovation) with regard to the periods 1857–1891 and 1892–1907, while the theoretical implications underlying the period 1982–2007 constituted (and constitute) a regression as to the third period.

Affiliations: 1: Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche sur la citoyenneté et les minorités, Université d'Ottawa


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