What is diversion for youth crimes?

1. Know when you might get diversion

If you are a young person, the police and the Crown must always consider extra judicial measures (EJM) or informal diversion as your first option.

They want you to show that you accept responsibility for your actions. If they don’t think EJM or informal diversion is enough to do that, they can use the formal court process. For example, they might use the court process if you’ve hurt someone or were found guilty of a different crime before. Or, if you were given EJM before, the police may be less likely to offer it again for another incident.

EJM by the police

These are examples of EJM offered by the police:

  • a verbal warning
  • a written warning or caution
  • a referral to a community program

Police must keep a record of your EJM. This is part of your youth record. But if you talk to them about EJM, that conversation can’t be used as against you if you end up saying no to EJM and decide to go through the court system instead.

EJM, EJS, or informal diversion by the Crown

If the police you instead of offering you EJM, the Crown can still offer you EJM later when your case gets to court. The Crown can also offer you extra judicial sanctions (EJS) or informal diversion.

With EJM or EJS, the Crown or police use an official program that has been designed specifically as a formal diversion program.

With informal diversion, the Crown agrees to let you complete certain actions on your own to show that you are taking responsibility for what they say you did.

These are examples of EJM, EJS, and informal diversion offered by the Crown:

  • A formal Crown caution: The Crown talks to you about your actions and warns you not to do it again.
  • An informal plan for community service: For example, you agree to spend 10 hours volunteering at a food bank.
  • An informal plan for repairing damage: For example, you agree to re-paint a wall you spray-painted or to write an apology letter.
  • An informal plan for a program to improve your behaviour: For example, you agree to attend an anger management course or counselling.
  • A formal EJM or EJS program: For example, you agree to attend an anger management course designed as a diversion program.
  • Extrajudicial Sanctions (EJS): This is the most serious type of diversion for young people. EJS is very similar to most other formal diversion programs. But your youth record is different. Most youth records for diversion only last for 2 months, but a youth record for EJS lasts for 2 years.

To decide if they should offer you EJM, EJS, or informal diversion the Crown looks at:

  • your age
  • any other times you were found guilty or completed a program
  • any life challenges you’ve faced
  • the role you played in the
  • the harm or damage to the victim
  • whether violence or a weapon was used
  • whether you show remorse or want to take responsibility for your actions
  • how long it would take to have a
  • the you might get if found guilty

There are different types of EJM, EJS, or informal diversion programs. The options offered to you will depend on your charge and where you live. The Youth Court Worker or Probation Officer in your court can explain the different programs.

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