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Children's watchdog against harsher penalties for youth

VICTORIA (NEWS1130) – BC’s children’s watchdog is in Ottawa speaking against a bill that would toughen penalties against young offenders.

The law would include more adult sentences for young people, and would let the media release the names of some of those offenders.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, BC’s representative for children and youth, says there is no evidence suggesting the get-tough approach reduces crime. “The evidence is pretty strong nationally that the crime rate is coming down, and that the approaches we are using are working quite well,” she points out.

She feels Bill C-4 threatens rehabilitation efforts that re-integrate children into society. She notes many children behind bars need treatment for mental illness.