Youth Criminal Justice Act - Purpose of Sentencing - Sentencing Options

Sentencing Options

Sentencing Option 42 (2) (a) Sentencing option 42(2) an under the Youth Criminal Justice Act is to reprimand the young person. Reprimand is a severe reproof or rebuke in this case by a person of authority.

Sentencing Option 42 (2)(b) When a young person is found guilty, through a youth justice court, the judge may refer to section 42(2)(b) under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Under section 42(2)(b) a young person, when guilt is found, may be discharged absolutely. This discharge is dependent on the best interest of the young offender without being in contrast with the best interests of the public. An absolute discharge, under section 42(2)(b), in accordance with 82(2), constitutes a termination of the sentence of a young person in respect of an offence in which a young person is found guilty. As opposed to conditional discharges, absolute discharges do not carry sanctions of probation or any other condition that the court may find appropriate (fair sanctions with meaningful consequences)

Sentencing Option 42 (2)(c) Sentencing option 42 (2) c under the Youth Criminal Justice act states that a convicted young offender can be discharged on any conditions the court decides to be appropriate. This may require the young offender to report to and be supervised by the provincial director. Conditions for a discharge might also include undergoing counselling, doing community service work or donation to a charity. Once the duration of the discharge has passed and the conditions of the probation have been successfully followed, the discharge becomes absolute, i.e., the youth will not be viewed as the offender although the record can be used for three years after finding of guilt in the event that there is a subsequent conviction. However, if the young person fails to abide by the conditions of probation, the offender can be convicted of the original offence and be sentenced.

Sentencing Options 42(2)(c) If a young person is found guilty, "By order direct that the young person be discharged on any conditions that the court considers appropriate and may require the young person to report to and be supervised by the provincial director". As an order under conditional release, the young offender is required to follow certain rules set out by a probation order for a specific length of time; when the time duration has passed, the release becomes absolute. The considerations for conditional discharge must be in the best interest of the offender and not contrary to public interest. The purpose of this section is to reduce the rate of incarceration of young people and promote rehabilitation and reintegration into society. If any condition is violated by the young offender, they will be required to appear in front of the court again at which point they may be incarcerated. Examples of conditions placed on the young offender are as follows:

  • Abstain from alcohol or drug use
  • Abstain from owning, possessing or carrying a weapon
  • Perform community service
  • Participate in a treatment program

Sentencing Options 42(2)(d) If a young person is found guilty of an offence in a youth justice court, the judge may impose a sentence under section 42 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). The purpose of sentencing under the YCJA “is to hold a young person accountable for an offence by imposing fair sanctions with meaningful consequences.” Under section 42(2)(d) it states that a young offender may not have a fine against them exceeding $1000 to be paid at the time and on the terms that the court may fix. This entails that the courts must have regard to the means of how the young offender will pay, as well as the ability for the young offender to be granted more time to complete the sentence. The offender then has the following options, he or she may be ordered to pay a victim fine surcharge (up to 15%) which contributes to assisting the victims of the crime. Or, the province may establish a program under which the young offender can discharge a fine under para, the percentage imposed under s53(1) or Victim fine surcharge under s 53(2) which is only attainable by earning credits for work in the program of the province the young offender resides.

Sentencing Options 42 (2)(e) Section 42(2)(e) under the Youth Criminal Justice Act states that the young person must pay to the other person at the time/terms that the court fixes the amount of compensation due to loss of income/support, damage of property etc.

Sentencing Options 42(2)(h) Section 42 (2) (h) under the Youth Criminal Justice Act is a non- custodial sentencing option that states that the Youth Justice Court (YJC) may order a young offender to compensate the victim in kind or by personal service for a damage, loss, or injury suffered. Under 42 (2) (h), an order may be made under section 42 (2) (g) where the young offender is to monetarily compensate the purchaser of a stolen property since the stolen property had to be returned to the owner, or section 42 (2) (e) where the young offender is to monetarily compensate the victim for personal injury or property that was damaged. The YJC may arrange the times and terms of compensation that is ordered. However, the compensation must not conflict with the young offender’s regular schedule of education and work. The order to provide personal service to the victim can be assigned for any amount of hours but is limited up to 240 hours. The hours of service ordered can be completed within one year from the date which the sentencing option was ordered; however the YJC may allow an extension of time to fully complete the sentence, on application of the young offender. Although the YJC may order the young offender to compensate the victim by providing personal service, the consent of the compensated is required.

Sentencing Options 42(2)(i) In the Youth Criminal Justice Act, under Sentencing options 42 (2) (i), the court has the option to order a young person to complete community service for a punishment. The amount of community service must not go beyond 240 hours of service which can be completed within 12 months. The community service must be approved by the provincial director of the youth justice court or a person designated by the youth justice court. The purpose of sentencing under section 42 is to protect society by holding the young person accountable for their actions by giving the right amount of punishment which can promote his or her rehabilitation and reintegration into society. This type of sentencing is a non custodial sentencing option which is the goal of the Youth Criminal Justice act to not rely on the over use of incarceration for non violent youths. It also gives out different options which can be costumed to different individual cases that can give out the best solution possible. These are the innovations that were created due to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, it helps youth to get the best rehabilitation to continue on their lives in society.

Sentencing Options 42(2)(k) Section 42(2)(k) under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, allows a young person to be placed on Probation (as specified by conditions and other matters related to probation orders under sections 55 and 56) for a specified period of time not exceeding two years. Orders may range from being supervised by the provincial director; remain within the territorial jurisdiction of one or more courts; attending school; or having to reside at a place specified by the provincial director. The Youth Justice Court prescribes these conditions as an order so the young person will learn to be of good behaviour and appear before the youth justice court when required to do so.

Probation is the sentence most frequently imposed by youth justice courts in Canada, as the conditions laid out are directly related to the young offenders criminal behaviour. This helps the offender to see the harm caused by their actions to the society and victims, and why they should not commit such crimes again. If a young offender fails to comply with the probation order, they can possibly be charged with breach of probation. But YCJA does not require the charges be laid; rather, it states that an alternative approach is recommended. Such as a review of probation orders thus providing an opportunity to make changes to conditions that can be more effective in promoting the rehabilitation and reintegration of the young person.

Sentencing Options 42 (2) (l) To ensure that a young offenders illegal actions are followed by consequences that are “(1)just; (2)have meaningful consequences for the youth; (3) and promote the rehabilitation and reintegration of the youth into society” the Youth Criminal Justice Act has instilled several sentencing options.

According to Section 42(2), the twelfth sentencing option for youth is the placement in an (l) intensive support and supervision program. This non-custodial sentencing option was introduce to the act along with options such as reprimand as well as non-residential programs or attendance orders.

This sentencing option is meant to be an alternative for custody, and was implemented to decrease high rates of custody caused by the Young Offenders Act. The young offender receives support and supervision from their community in hopes that they will alter their behaviour. The intent of this sentencing option is to provide more support than probation and is often used to promote the use of community-based and rehabilitation sentences.

This option encourages the rehabilitation of the youth and should target the specific needs or problems that seem to have contributed to their illegal behaviour.

This sentencing option will only take place if the government has established programs and the courts have received approval of the provincial director. If not available, a probation order will be used along with various conditions to ensure the support and supervision of the youth in question.

Sentencing Options 42 (2) (m)

This new sentencing option requires, at specific times, a young offender to attend court sanctioned programs. Over a six month period a maximum of 240 hours that can be assigned.

This sentencing option is a nonresidential program that may be used as an alternative to custody and may be focused at specific high-risk times of day, such as when the youth may be unattended and unsupervised.

A Pilot attendance centre program in Ontario has reported considerable success and was well received by Ontario youth court judges.

This measure may only occur if and attendance order program is available in the province. Provinces may decide not to implement this provision of the YCJA and are not required to make this option available.

Due to potential high costs associated with this program, provinces may be eligible for additional federal funding.

In the absence of such programs a youth court judge may achieve similar ends by attaching specific conditions to a probation order handed down to a young person. The judge may also (as a condition of probation) require the young person to attend community programs.

The overall goal of attendance programs is to supervise young persons at times when they may be more prone to commit crimes, such as when left unattended by parents.

Sentencing Options 42(2)(n) The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) states that all custodial sentences must have a mandatory period of supervision in the community. The rationale behind the community supervision order is to provide support and supervision for the young offender’s transition from custody back into his or her community.

When a judge sentences a young offender to a custody and supervision order under Section 42(2) (n) of the YCJA, it means that the young offender must serve time in custody, followed by a period of supervision in the community. The supervision order may be up to half as long as the custodial period. This sentencing option is for convicted youth criminals who are convicted for crimes other than murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault or who are in custody as a result of an IRCS (Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision) order.

The length of the custodial sentence and supervision order combined must not exceed two or three years, depending on the type of offence. Offences other than for which an adult would receive life imprisonment are subject to a two-year maximum for the young offender. Offences for which an adult would receive life imprisonment, except murder, are subject to a three-year maximum for the young offender.

If a condition laid out by the judge or other officials is broken, or not met appropriately while under supervision in the community, reviews are held which determine whether the young offender’s conditions should be changed or if he or she should be sent back into custody.

Sentencing Options 42(2)(o) Section 42(2)(o) of the YCJA establishes the length of time to be served in custody or in community supervision for cases of attempted murder, manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault. The total serving time for these periods cannot exceed 3 years since life imprisonment is imposed on adults responsible for these offences. Under the YCJA, murder is the only offence that must result in a custody and supervision order. The maximum serving time is 10 years for first-degree murder and 7 years for second-degree murder.

Section 42(2) (o) also asserts the ability of the court to decide the duration of conditional supervision. Thus the supervision period does not have to be half the period of custody. This condition provides more liberty for the courts to respond with an appropriate sentence to serious offences. If a young person violates a condition during the supervision period, the provincial director may place the offender back into custody.

For other statutory considerations, the supervision part of the order includes mandatory and discretionary conditions (s. 105). Also, the amount of time served in custody by a young person can be extended via AG or provincial director’s request to the YJC. However, the added duration of custody may not surpass the remainder of the youth sentence (s. 104).

Sentencing Options 42(2)(p) Under section 42(2)(p) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, a judge may impose a deferred custody and supervision order as a sentencing option. A deferred custody and supervision order means that the young offender will not go into custody but will serve his or her sentence under supervision in the community with a set of strict conditions. If these conditions are not followed, then the conditions may be changed and the young person may be ordered to serve the balance of the sentence in custody. The order will be made if the offense committed is not a serious, violent one such as murder or aggravated assault, and if the young person has not committed an indictable offence that an adult would be imprisoned for, for more than two years. The order will be for six months or less and must be considered a just sanction that has meaningful consequences and will promote the young offender’s rehabilitation and reintegration into society and contribute to the long-term protection of the public. The order will include both strict mandatory and optional conditions that the judge deems appropriate and which fall under subsection 105(2) and 105(3). These conditions will include reporting to the provincial director, attending school and/or working, not possessing weapons, abiding by curfews, reporting information changes and others.

Sentencing Options 42(2)(q) The Youth Criminal Justice Act section 42 (2) (q) outlines the following pertaining to custody and supervision for 1st and 2nd degree murder Offenders found guilty of 1st degree murder will get a maximum sentence of 10 years, including a maximum custody period of 6 years and a period of conditional supervision in the community. Offenders found guilty of 2nd Degree Murder will get a 7 year maximum sentence including a maximum custody period of 4 years and a period of conditional supervision in the community. Other statutory considerations are that the Attorney General or a provincial director may apply to extend the length of time the young person will spend in custody. The extension may not exceed the remainder of the youth sentence. At least one month prior to the expiration of the custodial portion of the sentence, the YJC sets conditions of the young person's conditional supervision

The aforementioned sentences are not guaranteed as the Crown could recommend a harsher adult sentence if the offence meets certain requirements Adult Sentence) When the Youth Criminal Justice Act was introduced the aspect that was publicized was “to respond more firmly and effectively to the small number of the most serious, violent young offenders” because the public was losing confidence in the youth justice system This was the reason for the harsh penalties for 1st and 2nd degree murder however overall the YCJA has decreased the amount of youths within jails for non-violent offences substantially.

Sentencing Options 42(2)(r). This section provides that a judge may issue an intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision order. This sentence is intended to provide treatment for serious violent offenders. The court may only issue this order if any of the following criteria are met:

  • the young person has been found guilty of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault, or a third serious violent offence
  • the young person is found to be suffering from a mental or psychological disorder
  • an individualized treatment plan for the young person has been developed
  • the provincial director has determined that an intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision program is an available and suitable option

This section applies to young people ages twelve to seventeen as long as one or more of these conditions are met. The Youth Justice Court must specify the time period the order is applicable for. The maximum period for an intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision order is 2 years, unless the adult penalty for the offence is imprisonment for life, in those cases the maximum period is 3 years. The only other exceptions occur in the case of:

  • 1st Degree Murder: maximum period is 10 years including a maximum custody period of 6 years and a period of supervision in the community
  • 2nd Degree Murder: The maximum period is 7 years including a maximum custody period of 4 years and a period of supervision in the community

Section 55 (2) (g) When the youth is sentenced to probation he or she is subject to certain conditions that may be imposed by the judge Under Section 55 (2) (g) the young offender may be told to “reside at a place that the provincial director may specify” This condition follows 2 other requirements that the young offender also needs to obey by a) keep the peace and be of good behaviour; and b) appear by the youth justice court when required by the court to do so this stated in Section 55 (1). The probation conditions follow those stipulated under section 42(2)(k) or (l). This means the director has the power to indicate where they want you to live, moving you from one area to the next depending on the circumstances surrounding the young offender’s situation.

Section 59: Review of Non-Custodial Youth Sentences Under the Young Offender’s Act, approximately 20% of custody sentences were charged based on “failure to comply” issues surrounding probation orders The Youth Criminal Justice Act revised these procedures recognizing that most issues concerning the violation of probation conditions were not criminal acts themselves and that in doing so, were compromising the integrity of the justice system itself. Therefore, the YCJA considers a review, rather than a charge, as a means of reducing the reliance on incarceration while being as fair as possible to the offender in assessing the seriousness of an offence

The YCJA reveals that a review, “can be issued at anytime after six months of the initial youth sentence or, with leave of a youth justice court judge” (56). Also, reviews, in most cases, are exempt from those offenders who are charge with an offence outlined in section 42 of the YCJA. The full grounds for review are revealed under section 59.2 and are as follows:

  • (a) on the ground that the circumstances that led to the youth sentence have changed materially;
  • (b) on the ground that the young person in respect of whom the review is to be made is unable to comply with or is experiencing serious difficulty in complying with the terms of the youth sentence;
  • (c) on the ground that the young person in respect of whom the review is to be made has contravened a condition of an order made under paragraph 42(2)(k) or (l) without reasonable excuse;
  • (d) on the ground that the terms of the youth sentence are adversely affecting the opportunities available to the young person to obtain services, education or employment; or
  • (e) on any other ground that the youth justice court considers appropriate

Read more about this topic:  Youth Criminal Justice Act, Purpose of Sentencing

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