1985: Raising the age of young offenders

The uniform maximum age limit for young offenders was raised to 18 years. Along with the implementation of the Young Offenders Act, the new age limit dramatically affected the population in youth custody centres. The number of incarcerated youth rose from an annual provincial count of 139 in 1980-81 to 314 residents by 1990-91. New open and secure youth custody centres were subsequently opened in Prince George (1989), Campbell River (Lakeview) and near Kamloops (High Valley in 1987).

Significant resources were committed to develop alternative measures (such as diversion programs), juvenile house arrest programs (established under contract) and alternatives to custody programs, including dedicated programs for Aboriginal youth, and specialized programs for youth who committed sexual offences, such as the outpatient treatment programs run by Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services (formerly called Youth Court Services) and residential programs in the community.