UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The juvenile court in British Columbia : an evaluation of the juvenile courts, the probation services, and other associated facilities in British Columbia, 1960. Blacklock, Donald John


The subject of the thesis is an evaluation of the existing juvenile court services in British Columbia. The objective is to assess whether the intent of the founding legislators has been realized, and also whether the court achieves currently-recognized standards in its organization and operation. The legislative intent underlying the Juvenile Delinquents Act of Canada, and the Juvenile Courts Act of British Columbia is defined, in so far as this is possible. References are cited on standards for the organization of the court, judges, probation officers, diagnostic and treatment facilities, and juvenile court committees. A descriptive account of the juvenile court in British Columbia is built up from interviews with officials of the Provincial Probation Service and the Vancouver Juvenile Court, reports of the activities of various services associated with the juvenile court, and correspondence with the Attorney-General's Department. The evidence gathered indicates that one of the primary purposes behind the original formation of the juvenile court in Canada, the keeping of children out of adult jails, has not yet, been achieved in British Columbia, except in the largest urban centres. It shows too that the courts, which have been legally established in a very large number of communities, lack any well-defined standards for the appointment of judges, and any objective means for ascertaining the suitability of those who are appointed. Probation services, vital to the effective operation of the court, are non-existent in some areas, and carry excessive work loads where they do exist. The diagnostic services available to the courts do not measure up to suggested standards. The study also shows that institutional treatment facilities are limited in scope, restricted in programme, and overcrowded. Except for the probationer, no other non-institutional treatment resources are available on a formally-organized basis. The evaluation shows a need for broad legislative changes which would make possible the attainment of high standards of performance. One possible way is through the creation of district courts with full-time judges. The study shows the need for defining qualifications for judges and other court personnel, and establishing means of achieving these standards. It shows too the need for periodic post-enactment evaluations of legislation to determine whether statutes are achieving the purposes for which they were enacted.

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