House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would certainly like to thank my friend, a member of the justice committee, for his thoughtful comments regarding this bill. I am glad to hear that he will support this bill at second reading so we can study it in more detail at committee.

However, as a precursor to those debates that he has indicated will occur, given that young persons are very media savvy with respect to new forms of media and certainly when an individual is subject to the youth criminal process the word of the disposition filters out through the electronic media very quickly, does he not see some role for the concepts of deterrence and denunciation in the youth court sentencing process?

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, the answer, in reading the Youth Criminal Justice Act as it exists, is that it is already there. The preamble, the founding principles of the YCJA, make it clearly different from the Criminal Code.

The Criminal Code lists all the crimes and at the very end of the code, section 718 out of about 800 sections, it says how we are going deal them, and that is the pith and substance of the Criminal Code. It says that we are going to take into account rehabilitation, et cetera.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act says that we are dealing with children, that they must be saved, and we are going to respect society's desire to have public security and to make young people understand the consequences of their actions.

It is inferred in the Criminal Code that adults have to intend the consequences of their actions and by law, subjectively or objectively, are taken to know the consequences of their actions. The implication in the Youth Criminal Justice Act is that many youth do not understand the consequences of their actions, and through reintegration and the extrajudicial measures that are in the YCJA, they can be made contributing members of society without introducing the adult concepts, word for word, from the Criminal Code.

Again, it raises the debate of having two separate laws, jurisdictions or codes, and it does not sound like my friend wants to have a YCJA.

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my colleague's speech on this because one of the problems we are finding with the Tories' dumb on crime approach is that they create this chimera, that provisions do not exist so they are going to somehow solve it, that there is no way that the police had any powers to deal with crystal meth, when they obviously did have the tools.

We know that they have gone out now and said that there is no way we can stop these young gangbangers and hooligans, when the Youth Criminal Justice Act has all these powers.

I would ask my hon. colleague if he thinks it is maybe a dangerous, continual undermining of Canadians' confidence in a well thought out judicial system that, as he says, can hold very dangerous youth and treat them as adults, but it also treats youth as being a separate and needed category because it is not just a national priority. It also fits with the rules of international law.

Why does he think that bill after bill that the government has been bringing forward seem to be undermining confidence in the justice system by claiming to fix problems that do not exist because they have already been dealt with in the Criminal Code?

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member. There have been allegations that the system is not working, that all acts are bad, that judges are soft, and it does not do a lot to strengthen the confidence in the system.

All members of our committee and all members of the House should know that we have very hard-working prosecutors, police forces and judges who work to make the system survive and responsive to crimes.

We are not exactly against the tinkering with the YCJA and the idea that Justice Nunn's recommendations for interim release be instituted. That is not a problem. It is fine to do some tweaking with violent offenders who are pawns in gang activity and who many know the status of their actions, but this carte blanche denunciation and deterrence, this carte blanche change of the preamble is not necessary. It is done to be divisive. It is done for politics and it is really a disservice to the sense of public safety that all of us in this House should be working toward.

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to speak to Bill C-4, which would make certain changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

My colleague from Windsor—Tecumseh spoke about this bill last week. He noted that as a society we have been struggling since about 1960 with this idea of what to do with young people when they are engaged with the criminal justice system. Do we treat them as youth, which is different than adult criminals? Yes, we should, but at the same time we have to recognize that they are not adults even though they commit similar offences as adults. We have been struggling with this for a few decades.

In 2002 the House of Commons passed Bill C-7, which replaced the old YOA, the Young Offenders Act. The Youth Criminal Justice Act built on the strengths of the YOA. It introduced significant reforms to address the weaknesses. The key concept of the YCJA is that it provides a legislative framework for a more fairer and effective youth justice system.

When I was a law student at Dalhousie, I did a clinical law semester where I was expected to work with lawyers on youth criminal cases. One of the very first things that we did in our training was we reviewed the preamble and the declaration of principle to the YCJA. Our instructors thought that reviewing the preamble was the most important thing that we could do. We would always have it in the back of our minds when we were dealing with youth, when we were giving them advice, when we were negotiating with the Crown, and when we were representing them in court.

The preamble contains significant statements from Parliament about the values on which the legislation is based. It is noteworthy that the YCJA came about after extensive research and consultation. Three key reports were released leading up to the YCJA coming into effect.

These statements in the preamble can be used to help interpret the legislation. I think it is useful for us to review them. They include the following:

Society has a responsibility to address the developmental challenges and needs of young persons.

Communities and families should work in partnership with others to prevent youth crime by addressing its underlying causes, responding to the needs of young persons and providing guidance and support.

Accurate information about youth crime, the youth justice system and effective measures should be publicly available.

Young persons have rights and freedoms, including those set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The youth justice system should take account of the interests of victims and ensure accountability through meaningful consequences and rehabilitation and reintegration.

The youth justice system should reserve its most serious interventions for the most serious crimes and reduce the over-reliance on incarceration.

These points are important to remember when dealing with youth who are engaged in the criminal justice system. They are also really important for us to consider any time we try to make changes to the YCJA. We have changes before us in Bill C-4, changes that really come from a push for amendments, a push for reform after the Nunn commission of inquiry which took place in Nova Scotia.

Pretty much every Nova Scotian could tell us the story of Theresa McEvoy and how it resulted in a provincial inquiry led by Justice Merlin Nunn. It was widely reported and it really struck to the heart of Nova Scotians.

After an extensive inquiry upon the death of Theresa McEvoy, Justice Nunn handed down a report in 2006 called “Spiralling Out of Control: Lessons Learned from a Boy in Trouble”. It was about constructive ways to improve the Youth Criminal Justice Act but also to improve the youth criminal justice system. I believe there were six specific recommendations about changing the YCJA.

Justice Nunn, both in the report and in any media interview he did, would always say that the act is a good piece of legislation. It is strong and it is workable. The term he used constantly was that it needed to be tweaked. My colleague from Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe used the word “tinker”. Justice Nunn always said that if we were going to make changes it just needs to be tweaked.

Bill C-4 is an attempt at that tweaking. The NDP will be supporting this bill because there are some good tweaks. There are some good attempts at trying to fix this legislation, which I will describe in a moment.

We very much want the bill to get to committee because Bill C-4 does have its weaknesses. It is important that we make attempts to improve the bill at committee.

Justice Nunn pointed out in his report:

--that for youths adolescence is a time of testing limits and taking risks, of making mistakes and errors in judgment, of a lack of foresight and planning, and of feelings of invulnerability. These factors do not mean that a youth who commits a criminal offence should be excused or should not suffer consequences. Rather, they are factors to be taken into account when dealing with a youth.

I think that the spirit of these words were taken into account when it comes to one provision in Bill C-4, in that it makes certain and absolutely clear that no youth, no matter what crime they are accused of or convicted of and sentenced for will spend time in an adult institution.

Some provinces have already been following this principle but it is not universal across Canada. Sometimes it is because a province has a particular ideological approach to punishment of youth but more often it is simply because it does not have the resources or the facilities to incarcerate youth in a contained setting, especially when we consider rural areas of Canada.

The government has not done anything to assist provinces in actually meeting this goal. So it is my hope that the witnesses at committee will be able to shed a bit of light on what it is that the federal government must do to ensure that the provinces can meet this requirement.

However, there is no specific date concerning this provision. Therefore, there is nothing there to instruct us on when it is going to come into effect. Hopefully, we can fix this so that we do not have a bill that will actually not take effect.

A change to the YCJA, about which I am very concerned, is the provision to allow courts to lift the ban on any publication of the accused's name. There are good reasons why we have that publication ban. Admittedly, I think this could be a very dangerous change to the YCJA, but I am looking forward to hearing from witnesses to see what experts who study youth justice have to say about this provision and if they think this change is a wise idea.

My colleague and the NDP critic for justice, the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, has already pointed out some problem areas where it looks like the government is trying to get in stronger language for general deterrence and denunciation, which we know does not work. However, when one looks at the amendments to the act overall, there are a few places where it seems like it is trying to get this language in through the backdoor, trying to get general deterrence in through the back door. There are six recommendations in the Nunn report that deal directly with changes to the YCJA. Deterrence and denunciation are not among them.

I am quite concerned about these sections and once again, I look forward to the bill coming to committee so we can talk to youth criminal justice experts to see if this is actually effective and perhaps flesh out exactly what the Conservatives are doing with this sort of backdoor language.

In all, we are cautiously supporting Bill C-4 at second reading, so we can get the bill to committee to hear from witnesses about these proposed changes to the YCJA and to make constructive suggestions for improvement.

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I share the views of my hon. colleague on the cautious optimism about this particular bill as it enters committee.

One of the issues the member brought forward, which is dear to my heart, is the idea of how to handle rehabilitation of young offenders in rural areas, and the facilities and programs that are available for that rehabilitation process.

I would like the member to discuss that further. I know she did not have a lot of time and she has a wealth of experience in this sort of thing. She did mention the rural areas. I am particularly concerned about the lack of rehabilitation. Depending on where the resources are, certainly where I am, in an area that is sparsely populated, it is of major concern.

Therefore, I ask the member to bring that up and perhaps bring more details to the House.

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure about my wealth of knowledge, but it is a really serious issue.

In Nova Scotia there is really one facility for young people to go to if they need to spend time in a youth detention facility. It is pretty much in the centre of the province, but it really ends up taking many of these young people away from their homes and from their communities.

In Nova Scotia we have a restorative justice program that is contingent and relies on the community to hold young people accountable. It relies on the community to be there when the youth is released and to match their progress in the community. That can have a really detrimental effect.

We see the situation in other rural areas of Canada where youth can be put into adult facilities, which is entirely inappropriate. They are young people and they need to be treated like young people, not in adult facilities where they will learn how to be better criminals. We need them to be where they will learn how to be better citizens.

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, one of her concerns with the bill is that a publication ban on the name of the offender might be lifted. I certainly agree with her that a blanket lifting of publication bans is not appropriate under the circumstances. However, I can envision certain circumstances where the name of the young person ought to be released.

I think specifically of a particularly violent offender, perhaps a sexual predator who is about to be released into the community and who perhaps attends a high school. I am curious to hear her comments as to whether she believes that in this situation the public has a right to know about the individual and his or her imminent release into the community.

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, honestly, at first blush, this piece in Bill C-4 raises my hackles and makes me very worried. Right now, I do not see opportunities where this is a good idea. I am open to hearing evidence at committee that this may be an effective tool in some cases. The Youth Criminal Justice Act is also about protecting communities, so I have room for being convinced.

However, on its face, it seems very problematic to me. If it is ever used, it should be used so sparingly that we could hardly count on one hand how many times it is used. I do not see how this would be in keeping with many other principles of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, in particular rehabilitation and reintegration into community. However, again, I look forward to hearing witnesses at committee.

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise here today to speak to Bill C-4.

I would like to begin with a side comment about crime. Crime dominates the media. The trials of violent offenders and notorious fraud artists get extensive media coverage. We sometimes get the wrong impression and think that crime is on the rise, when quite the opposite is true. Statistics Canada's facts are rather clear and no one is accusing of it partisanship.

Youth courts are seeing fewer and fewer cases. In 2005-06, 56,271 cases were heard, a decrease of 2% from the previous year. While it is true that the youth crime rate increased by 3% in 2006, I must point out that that was the first increase since 2003 and for that reason, we cannot conclude that there is a strong upward trend.

Furthermore, with the exception of Quebec, where the rate dropped by 4% in 2006, all the provinces saw increases in the youth crime rate. Quebec focuses on rehabilitation. Some people will say that it is quite a coincidence, but it is no coincidence. When it comes to justice, the Bloc Québécois firmly believes that the most effective approach is always prevention. We must go after the underlying causes of crime.

Tackling the causes of crime and violence, rather than waiting for things to break down and then trying to fix them, is the wisest, and more importantly, the most profitable approach, in both social and economic terms. Clearly, we must first tackle poverty, inequality and exclusion, all of which provide fertile ground for frustration and its manifestations: violence and crime.

Speaking of fertile ground, I remember when I was young, during the most critical years of childhood and pre-adolescence. I lived in a poor neighbourhood where everyone was poor. People were either the poorest, less poor or just poor. There were some rich people, but they did not live in my area. In that environment there were some people my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue described as “having the makings of a criminal”. It was a social setting where that was likely. The funny thing is that there was a real divide between two streets: one street where people committed lesser crimes and the other street where people committed more serious crimes. This comes to mind because I saw people change under these circumstances. The difference came mainly from the influence, or lack of influence, of their absent parents. We also saw how the context affected the most vulnerable young people in these environments.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to a party hosted by a family that had lived in that neighbourhood. It was a rather big party and many of the young people who had lived in that neighbourhood were invited. I saw that for some people, things had turned around and changed. Some people who were not there were probably still in prison or dead. Other people there had had rather turbulent lives. In talking about it, we realized that social structure and support had been missing in some places. However, other people had been more privileged and things worked out for them.

Prevention is the dominant theme when we talk about potential crimes by young offenders.

Prevention can take a number of forms at the family level. These days some significant tools are available. Let us take, for example, early childhood education centres in Quebec, the CPEs, where children receive intellectual stimulation and physical activity. Young people can make progress more easily than in the past.

With respect to prevention, members will recall that the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie already introduced a bill regarding violence on television. I strongly believe that violence on television influences the actions of our children today. Crimes are often broadcast during prime time and are seen by young people. They get a message. Often, these crimes are excessively gratuitous and seemingly have no consequences. We can see someone committing robbery, acts of violence and even shooting another person.

The people committing these crimes seem to have no emotions, or perhaps just smiles on their faces. We never see the consequences. We do not see the police showing up. We do not see the people supporting the victim. We do not see the effects that these actions have on society and on the loved ones of the victims. We do not see any consequences. It is gratuitous and the scenes of violence do not show any sign of a punishment at the end of the day.

My colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie did some fantastic work on this issue. He held consultations all over Quebec. Many groups that work with young offenders and at-risk youth have helped kids avoid getting involved in criminal activity.

Television violence also has a major impact on crime rates among young offenders. We should consider taking a closer look at this important factor because, if I am not mistaken, television networks can choose not to broadcast programs or to broadcast them at times when young viewers are much less likely to see them. That is an important aspect of prevention.

As I said earlier, peer groups, poverty, follow-up and support are important factors for at-risk youth. If young people lose interest, cannot keep up at school and feel alienated, and if authority figures do not help them develop a sense of belonging and to their peer group and to society, they may look elsewhere, start getting in trouble and eventually get involved in criminal activity.

Prevention is essential, but unfortunately, there are always going to be some people committing some crimes, whether major or minor. Once that happens, we have to work with those people to identify the root causes. We cannot deter young people just by sticking offenders in jail for as long as possible. They need structure, support and help to identify the problems and fix them.

Some kids really do seem headed for a life of crime. That is when we have to take a different approach. We should adopt Quebec's approach, which focuses on prevention and rehabilitation.

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, could the member to continue with the issue of rehabilitation and other items that are necessary in youth justice? It shows the wrong direction of the government.

The reason the government's crime agenda has been failure is it has not dealt with the fact that when convicts are released into society, rather than put them in what is called the university of the jails, there have to be other treatments such as rehabilitation, anger management and education so people are released less dangerous rather than more dangerous. As he said, if prevention programs are implemented to begin with, a lot of people will not end up in jail in the first place.

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, prevention means that fewer people go to prison. However, some will still go and if they are looking at four or five years in youth reception centres before going to prison, the important thing is that there is structure. There needs to be active intervention. We cannot just shove them into a corner, as my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue said. He is our party's critic on this file. He said that if these people do not get help from within the system, the first thing they will want to do is escape. However, getting them help is important, but it is something that is also very taxing on the system. It is a fact. There are constant follow-ups.

He gave the example of a young man who, at 15, I believe, killed his father. It took a year and a half for him to figure out why—a year and a half before this young man truly realized what he had done. When the crime was committed, was this young man really in a position to not commit the crime? I cannot say, but at least there was a follow-up and now, the member told us, he is an eminent surgeon.

The potential was there. If he had been shoved into a corner and then transferred to a prison, a school for crime, where people who would teach him about crime, he would not have gone to the university that he did, and he would not be an asset to society as he is today.

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I guess the question we are talking about is priorities.

The government is going to spend billions to build prisons, to demonize youth, to take away the protections they have so that they can be thrown into prisons, and yet we see underspending of $180 million every year in first nations schools.

In the James Bay region that I represent, in the last two years we have had 11 suicides and 80 attempts among children and youth who feel their lives are so hopeless. In my region I have two communities without grade schools.

I would like to ask my hon. colleague, why is it that the government is spending billions to build jails, to throw young people away, to treat them as a discarded generation, when the children in communities on the James Bay coast and northern Canada are being left without the most basic supports, so that we have such outrageous levels of suicide attempts and such outrageous levels of dropout because the schools are substandard?

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, as an aside, we may need money to build prisons if there are too many real criminals—as I will refer to them—who must pay their debt to society. However, we should never lose sight of the fact that, at the same time, we must deal with the root of the problem. We must work with youth in all areas, whether it is education or development, to truly prevent all kinds of inappropriate social behaviour.

We have work to do and investments to make in all areas. Prevention is one of those areas. The framework for this bill clearly establishes that prevention is an essential component. Granted, that could cost more than the $180 million mentioned by the member. Naturally, we have to make a commitment if we truly wish to succeed.

Sébastien's Law (protecting the public from violent young offenders)
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are debating another, another, amendment to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. I say that knowing that the act used to be referred to, at one point, as the Young Offenders Act. This is probably the fifth set of changes this Parliament has dealt with since the time when Parliament accepted that the old Juvenile Delinquents Act did not really suit where we were headed as a society.

It is quite fair to accept that, from time to time, it is necessary to fine-tune our legislation. That is essentially what we do here all the time for all of our laws and our public policy. Approximately five years ago, there was an inquiry in the province of Nova Scotia dealing with young offenders. That particular inquiry produced a very credible report that suggested that components of our Youth Criminal Justice Act were not up to par and that portions of it could use some minor amendments in the public interest.

Those areas dealt with the way we handled youth who, with 20/20 hindsight, were potentially violent and seriously violent offenders and were not really controllable by the kinds of routine orders and judicial intervention available under the act. I sat on the justice committee at the time and I recall pretty much around-the-table acceptance of those suggestions. Those suggestions for reform have now found their way into this bill.

In fairness, I should say that there have been a couple of other bills before Parliament that attempted to implement the same changes. We are finally getting around to it now. For those changes dealing with the really hard-to-handle procedural problems involving young offenders, I could not imagine there would be too much dissent.

Even the judge who led the inquiry in Nova Scotia said that these should be seen as minor amendments. There is no need to make a radical overhaul of the statute, but these amendments would suit the public interest in the sense that they would protect both the public and the young offender from potential serious harms in the period that follows the police intervention until the time when the youth is sentenced. That would be the interim period while the youth is being processed, while charges are being laid and during the trial.

I do not think he pointed out any problems with the act regarding the period after conviction and sentence. But he did request that these amendments look very clearly and honestly at the problem of youth who have adopted a potentially violent modus operandi and society needs protection from that.

In this particular bill, there is a whole lot more than just those recommended changes. Members should go to the title; this is not the first time I have spoken about this. On the front page, it says, “An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act”. There is nothing the matter with that, but then clause 1 says that this act may be cited as somebody’s law, protecting the public from violent young offenders.

That is a commercial. That is an Orwellian mantra. It is a distortion. It is an adulteration of what should be there in the first section. This is a bill that is there to make a minor but important amendment, not a very complex set of amendments, to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. I object to that type of title. When that kind of a title is in there, it actually ought to tell us something. The bill just might be torqued to do a little bit more than just a minor amendment to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Anyway, we read through the bill and find it does attempt to make some significant changes.

I note that this is one of about half a dozen criminal law amendment bills, and I also ask the question: Why did the Conservatives not put all these criminal justice bills into one bill? We have done that lots of times before. We make several amendments to the Criminal Code, we put them in a bill, call it an omnibus Criminal Code amendment bill and the House deals with it. But no, the government has to do a separate bill for every category of change it can think of. That has to tell us something also.

So utterly telling is the contrast between this bill and the budget implementation bill, Bill C-9. Do members know how many bills that bill changes, how many statutes that bill amends? It seeks to amend 29 statutes in one bill, and yet when it came to making amendments to the Criminal Code, the government had to introduce a half dozen separate bills. I do not quite understand that. Maybe I am naive and maybe there is something going on here I do not see, but I will leave it to the voters to figure that one out.

When it comes to youth criminal justice, a term we should be dealing with is the concept of intervention. I have not heard that term a lot here, but it is so important, and in my view it is the most important concept. When a youth goes offside, breaks the law, and I am talking of a person who is between the low threshold and 17 years old, I prefer to regard our obligation as that of intervention. Now some Canadians would just like to treat that like a normal criminal act; we charge, we convict, we sentence, we deal with it. But we have learned in society that it is the absolute worst way to deal with young offenders. For a person in the sometimes turbulent, confused youth years, a lot of things happen.

I will admit that, when I was under 10 years old, I broke into a house, I as a little kid with some other kids. As great irony would have it, Mr. Speaker, you will not believe it, but the house I and the others broke into was the house of a Juvenile Delinquents Act judge. Is that not unbelievable? And I was the son of a policeman, to boot. At the time I really did not think I was breaking any laws. I actually did not know a lot about what I was doing. But the point is: What if they had taken all those youths who were all different ages and just put us all in jail? How would our lives have turned out? That would have been a bad story.

I refer colleagues to the Perry preschool project and the whole history of that project, which began about 1960 and went on for 25 years in the Chicago area. It measured outcomes between one group with which there was a huge intervention, in school and otherwise, and another group for which there was no intervention. The outcomes were like night and day. We have proven that intervention works and jailing does not. Even though it can be very expensive, the dollars we spend on intervention are infinitely better spent than any money we are going to have to spend later, after the fact, jailing and punishing. In addition, the youth who get through these turbulent years and make better choices rather than bad choices end up costing us zero and are productive citizens.

I am getting close to the end of my time for debate. I will pause here in the hope of being able to speak further at a later date.