Behavioral Sciences & the Law

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Volume 17 Issue 4 (October/December 1999), Pages 407-551

Young people's experience of the Canadian youth justice system: interacting with police and legal counsel (pages 455-465)

Abstract

Young people's knowledge and experience of the youth justice system was examined to explore self‐reported factors that influenced their decisions regarding assertion versus waiver of rights to silence and legal counsel. Participants were 50 adolescents from Toronto, Canada ranging in age from 12 to 18 (mean age=15.6 years). Results of semi‐structured interviews indicated that while over 60% of participants recalled being told of their rights to silence and counsel, three‐quarters did not contact a lawyer at the police station and half of those asked by police answered their questions. Findings suggest that the awareness of due process rights is not sufficient to mitigate the atmosphere of coercion that characterizes the police station. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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