- The Act encourages judges to re-unite youth with their families unless there are good reasons for not doing this. The Act also recognizes that youth have the right to the least possible interference with their freedom. For these reasons, the judge can allow the youth to be placed in the care of a “responsible person” (section 31(1)).
The responsible person promises in writing to take care of and be responsible for the young person’s appearance in court, when required, and to make sure that the youth follows the conditions the judge has set. The youth must also agree in writing to follow the conditions that the judge has set. This agreement can be ended if a judge or a justice of the peace makes an order ending the agreement. This can happen if the responsible person, the youth or any other person applies in writing to ask that the agreement be cancelled.
If a responsible person does not do all the things that he or she has agreed to do in writing for the supervision and care of the youth, the responsible person can be charged with a summary offence (section 139(1)).
- Keep the youth in detention.
The judge can decide to keep the youth in pre-trial detention. The youth would then be sent to a custody centre for youth, where there would be close supervision.
A youth can also be detained in custody for medical or psychological assessments to determine whether the youth is fit to stand trial. If a young person needs to be held in custody for an assessment, the custody cannot be for longer than 30 days (section 34). See Page 23 for more information about assessments.
Where will a Youth be Held in Pre-trial Detention?
There are a number of places where youth can be held in pre-trial detention in Alberta:
- all police holding cells;
- young offender centres.&
At a young person’s first appearance in youth justice court, the judge will have the clerk of the court read the charge to the youth. The judge will also tell the youth that he or she has the right to be represented by a lawyer. The youth can then be asked if he or she wants to enter a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty”, “reserve their plea” or request to speak to duty counsel.