Publication of Identity of Offender

Special Assignment

These ideas will help you explore the YCJA in depth. You can complete the activities for a classroom assignment.

1. Form two teams of four people to prepare a debate on the following topic:

BE IT RESOLVED that the media should be able to publish the names of all youth convicted of offences.

Present the debate to the rest of the class and have them decide who has argued the topic more effectively.
 

2. Read the story of Liz below. Using the facts, write a short newspaper article including a headline OR prepare a TV report and present it to the class. Remember that the accused youth’s identity cannot be mentioned. Assume you have the permission of Renata’s family to use her name.

"Liz"

Liz, 14, has always been popular at school. Other students, especially the girls, seem to hang on to her every word. Renata has always been nervous around Liz, but Renata wants Liz to like her. Renata doesn't seem to have any friends at all and she sometimes tags along with Liz's group of friends.

Renata has a lisp and her family doesn't have a lot of money to buy her stylish clothes. One day, Liz and her group of friends are walking home and see Renata. Liz says, "Hey, Renata. Tonight there's a party at Andrea's house. Do you want to come?" Renata, excited by being invited, agrees to come.

Later that evening, the girls watch for Renata’s arrival. They meet her at the street corner and tell her that they are walking to the store to buy snacks. Renata joins them, and as they walk past a small park, Liz suddenly pushes Renata off the sidewalk into the bushes. Another girl drags Renata by the arms further into the brush. Liz kicks Renata while the other girls hold her down.

A couple of girls leave when things start to get out of hand, but Liz stays. Renata falls unconscious and Liz gives her several more hard kicks, including a couple of kicks to the head. Liz piles branches on top of Renata and returns to Andrea's house. Early the next morning, a jogger finds Renata's dead body. The police investigation begins and the other girls talk about what Liz did.
 

3. Read the following cases and decide in which cases the names of the youth would be published. Explain why you think so.

"Donna"

Donna, 17, has been an excellent student. Her parents don't understand her recent behaviour since she made two new friends and spends a lot of time with them. Donna does not come home on time anymore and her study habits are falling apart. The police arrived at Donna’s parents’ door one day with a search warrant. It turns out that Donna and her friends stole credit cards from several purses belonging to their teachers and friends’ parents. They ordered merchandise from the Internet using the stolen credit card numbers. The purchases were traced back to Donna's computer.

"Van"

Van, 15, has been in and out of trouble since he was 12. He has been convicted three times for violent offences. Van no longer attends school regularly. Van tried to buy a package of cigarettes from a convenience store, but the clerk asked for identification. Van got into an argument with the clerk. After much shouting, Van left the store without the cigarettes. He returned with a knife and a mask and demanded the cigarettes. The clerk pressed the silent alarm button. Van suspected that the clerk had alerted the police with the silent alarm, so he reached across the counter and punched the clerk in the face.

The clerk fell to the floor with a broken jaw. Another blow to the side of his head left him with permanent hearing loss in one ear. As Van took the cigarettes and left, the clerk heard him muttering that he would have to go to another store to get what he wanted. "This time," he muttered, "I’m taking a gun." The clerk suspected that the masked thief was Van because of the previous argument and his voice. The clerk gave a description of Van to the police.

"David"

David, 12, has been in and out of several foster homes in the last three years. His behaviour has been a problem at all of the homes. He does not attend school regularly. Many cars in David's neighbourhood have been broken into and electronics and change have been stolen. Sometimes, the car windows or locks were broken. David is in the lane behind his house and a neighbour phones the police because of David's suspicious behaviour. The police arrive and David runs away.
 

4. Choose one of the cases above where you think the name of the youth will be published. Write up a media release to be used by newspaper, television and radio reporters. It should include the five W’s (who, what, where, when, and why). Read the release to your class.