Criminal Justice (CRJS) 370

Youth Justice (Revision 1)

CRJS 370

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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CRJS 370: Youth Justice is a three-credit, undergraduate-level course that takes a criminological approach to understanding separate youth justice systems in Canada and abroad. Young offenders receive special status under the law in Canada. How we respond to youth crime is important to society and, more broadly, to criminal justice. This course explores major theoretical perspectives of the causes of youth delinquency and how the criminal justice system responds to it. Specifically, students examine what youth crime “looks like” in Canada and how it is measured for research purposes. The course also focuses on the historical development and policy shifts that have changed how the system handles young offenders. This includes an examination of police discretion with youth, sentencing, and the use of interventions and programming to prevent youth crime. Students learn about and critically evaluate the current debates and issues in youth justice: Are youth more violent today than in the past? Does increasing penalties reduce youth crime? Do crime prevention programs work? Can we effectively rehabilitate young offenders?

Course Objectives

When you have completed CRJS 370: Youth Justice, you should be able to:

  1. understand the historical, social and political shifts that have influenced how youth justice systems operate in Canada and abroad;
  2. understand the theoretical perspectives used to explain the criminal behaviour of youth;
  3. grasp the distinction between youth crime and youth justice; and
  4. understand how we formally respond to youth crime.


CRJS 370 comprises ten units:

  • Unit 1: What Is a Separate Youth Justice System and Why Do We Have a Separate System for Young People?
  • Unit 2: Understanding Youth Crime
  • Unit 3: History of Youth Justice in Canada, Britain and the United States
  • Unit 4: Models of Youth Justice in Canada
  • Unit 5: Restorative Approached in Youth Justice
  • Unit 6: Discretion with Youth
  • Unit 7: Sentencing Young Offenders
  • Unit 8: Crime Prevention and Reducing Youth Crime
  • Unit 9: Social Justice Issues: Exploring Gender and Race in Youth Justice
  • Unit 10: The Future of Youth Justice


To receive credit for CRJS 370, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least a “D” (50 per cent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Assignment 1
Research Paper Proposal
Assignment 2
Case Study
Assignment 3
Research Paper
Final exam
Multiple Choice Exam
10% 20% 30% 40% 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Campbell, K. M. (Ed.). (2005). Understanding youth justice in Canada. Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Doob, A. N., & Cesaroni, C. (2004). Responding to youth crime in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Other Materials

Most of the course materials for CRJS 370 are available online through the myAU portal. The textbooks will be sent to you before your course start date.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, October 7, 2011