The delivery system for juvenile justice in rural and northern Manitoba : an evaluation

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Kosmick, Richard
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This study examined the delivery system for juvenile justice in three specific areas: (1) the circuit court; (2) the social service agencies which administer community-based corrections; and (3) the social support systems present in communities for problem juveniles. A total of 22 high volume court sites, 11 in Native communities and 11 in non-Native communities, were selected in rural and northern Manitoba. The variations that exist in these delivery systems were ascertained by using data from a file study for background information on juvenile offenders, observation of cases in juvenile court, and a series of interviews conducted with key actors in the court process and with community representatives associated with the juvenile population. The findings indicated that the bureaucratic delivery of services operates efficiently in terms of the court process but the quality of services which extend from the circuit courts deteriorate as these services are delivered in more remote communities, particularly Native communities. Legal Aid and Probation Services are severely restricted in providing their services to Native sites which leads to questions about the legal rights of the accused and the range of suitable dispositions. The court was limited in Native communities to sentencing a majority of offenders to probation orders which could not be supervised adequately. The lack of adequate detention facilities in remote areas further emphasized the limitations placed on the bureaucratic delivery of services. The findings also revealed that a self-help approach was more appropriate for community-based alternatives in more remote Native communities. These communities, however, lack many of the essential resources to implement a self-help approach to juvenile justice. An indifference exisits towards the juvenile court and delinquent populations. It is difficult to generate grassroot interest with the exception of Roseau River which has had considerable success in the past decade in generating and maintaining viable community-based alternatives in conjunction with the juvenile justice system.