About Youth Justice Committees
A community-based alternative to court that gives young people a second chance on a bad decision. Youth Justice Committee volunteers help young people move through and past a minor offence by holding them accountable without holding them back. With support, young people from all walks of life turn their mistakes into opportunities to grow and give back to their communities.
Section 18 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act provides an opportunity for citizens to become directly involved in the administration of youth justice by forming Youth Justice Committees (YJCs). The Youth Justice Committee program administers the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program – also referred to in the justice system as Alternative Sanctions.
This alternative to court, for young people aged between 12 – 18, allows a panel of youth justice committee volunteers to work with young people in conflict with the law, as well as their families, victims, the legal system and the community, to find appropriate, meaningful consequences for the young person.
The CYJC program, and its 15 Youth Justice Committees in Calgary, work with over 35 community agencies to help provide meaningful and accessible sanctions for the youth to complete.
The Role of the Calgary Youth Justice Society
The Calgary Youth Justice Society was established as a non-profit organization in 1998 to fulfil a leadership and mentorship role by providing support and direction to the Youth Justice Committees in Calgary, both in the steps they must go through to establish a Committee and in supporting and sustaining their Committee.
Calgary Youth Justice Society connects adult volunteers in a positive way with young people who are at risk of or have involvement with the criminal justice system. Our approach is always strength focused, seeing beyond what’s wrong to nurture what’s strong. Our impact is young people who feel valued and supported to be a part of our community in a meaningful way.
CYJS also facilitates a strengths-based leadership development program for overlooked leaders. In the Lead reaches out to youth in our city who are struggling to see and use their natural leadership abilities in beneficial ways. Where others see deficits and risk, we see strengths and possibility. A partnership with Cenovus Energy paved the way for employee volunteers within Calgary’s corporate community to support students as they transform their views of themselves, their communities and their futures.