Sentences

  1. Reprimand

    A reprimand is a stern lecture or warning from the judge.

  2. Absolute and Conditional Discharges

    An absolute discharge means that the judge will find you guilty, and you will have a youth justice court record, but there will be no additional punishment, and you are “discharged” from any more obligations to the court – so you have no more obligations to the court or the crown attorney or the victim(s).

    A conditional discharge means that you will have to fulfill certain conditions before being discharged and you may be supervised by someone connected to the court. If you do not fulfill the conditions, the judge may discharge you anyway, may order that you complete your conditions, attach new conditions, or you may have to return to court and may be given another sentence.

  3. Fines

    If you are ordered to pay a fine, the judge will decide the amount, but you cannot be fined more than an adult would for the same offence, and the absolute maximum is $1000.

    In deciding how much you have to pay, the judge will consider the seriousness of the offence and your present and future ability to pay the fine.

    If you cannot pay the fine, you can ask for extra time to pay the fine, or you may be able to pay off the fine by earning credits for working in a program, if such a program exists in your area.

  4. Compensation

    Compensation is when you are ordered to pay a person for any loss or damage to their property, or for any loss of income that they suffered, or for physical injuries because of the offence.

  5. Restitution

    Restitution is when you are ordered to return or replace any property that you got because of the offence, as long as the property is rightfully owned by that person or they had the right to have possession of it (for instance, they had a borrowed library book that you ruined).

  6. Personal Service

    Personal Service or Compensation in Kind is when the judges orders that you have to spend a specific number of hours, working for a person whom you have harmed, or to whom you have caused damage. The judge may order that you do a specific kind of work.

    The judge might order this so that you can try to make up for the harm you have caused, to help make things right or pay back the victim of the crime. The judge might order personal service where the crime is such that “restitution” is not possible – like ordering you to paint over or erase graffiti that you did. The judge must think that you are the right kind of person for this sentence.

    If the victim does not want personal service, then the judge cannot make this part of your sentence.

    The amount of time you are given to finish the personal service work is up to the judge, but it cannot take more than 240 hours, and it must be done in 1 year or less from the date of your sentence. (240 hours in a year is a little more than 4 ½ hours per week.)  Also, the personal service cannot interfere with your school or your employment.

     

  7. Community Service

    If you get community service the judge will order that you do work for an approved social or community agency – often a community centre, place of worship (like a church or a temple), hospital, nursing home, or a city or town department. You will be supervised in this work.

    The purpose of a community service order is to hold you responsible for your behaviour in the community, and makes you use your energy for doing positive instead of negative things in your community.

    How much work you have to do will be up to the judge, but it cannot take more than 240 hours, and it must be done in 1 year or less from the date (just like with personal service) of your sentence. Also, the community service cannot interfere with your school or your employment.

    You can make suggestions about the kind of community service work you do. Yes you can. Speak to your lawyer who can assist you and can present your ideas to the judge. The work must be part of an approved program or the judge must be sure that the organization has agreed to have you do your community service with them.

  8. Prohibition

    The judge may order that you are forbidden from having something, or that you give the thing over to the police – this is called a prohibition order, and is most often about weapons. Sometimes a judge may order that you are not allowed to have a computer or anything else that was related to your offence. There are some situations where the judge is required to give you a prohibition order.

    A mandatory prohibition order will last for at least 2 years from the date you are found guilty, or if you go to jail it will last for at least 2 years after you get out of jail. If a prohibition order is not mandatory, but the judge decides to make a prohibition order anyway, it must be for 2 years or less.

    If the judge makes a prohibition order for firearms or other weapons, you will not be able to have or use a firearm or any other weapon that is in the order for any reason, even hunting.

  9. Probation

    Probation means that you will be supervised quite closely even though you are not in jail (or custody) and it gives you a chance to show that you are responsible enough not to get into more trouble with the criminal justice system. While you are on probation there will be conditions that you must fulfill to prove that you will stay out of trouble.

    The conditions that will always apply are:

    • you must “keep the peace and be of good behaviour” – meaning that you will not break any laws; and
    • you must appear in court if you are told by the court to do so.

    On top of those first 2 conditions, the judge can add any of the following conditions:

    • that you report to and be supervised by a probation officer;
    • that you tell the court if you move or change schools or change jobs;
    • that you cannot leave town, the province, territory or country;
    • that you try to get and keep a job;
    • that you go to school, or another appropriate place of learning, training or recreation, if the judge thinks there is an appropriate place for you to go;
    • that you live with a parent or another responsible adult who will look out for you;
    • that you live at a place chosen by the provincial director*;
    • that you cannot have or own any weapon, ammunition, device or explosive (although the judge can make exceptions); and
    • any other conditions that the judge thinks are appropriate – such as a curfew, or that you obey your parent’s rules, or the rules of the house wherever you live.

    Understanding: when a judge makes a probation order, he or she must make sure that it is read to you and that you understand it. The judge must also make sure that you, (and a parent if one is there with you), get a copy of the order, and you will be asked to sign the order. If there is anything that you do not understand you should ask the judge about it. You should not sign a probation order if there is something that you do not understand. Before the order is made, you should explain to the judge if there is a term or rule you absolutely cannot follow.

    Length of time: The judge must tell you how long you are on probation. It must be for less than 2 years, unless you have committed more than one offence and then your probation could be for up to 3 years.

    Changing your conditions: if the conditions of the probation are not working out, you can have them changed in some cases. If this happens to you, you should talk to your lawyers as soon as possible. For example, if one of the conditions is that you be home by 8:00 PM and you get a job that keeps you out until 9:00 PM, your lawyer could explain the situation to a judge and ask to have the condition changed. Until the judge orders that the condition is changed, you have to do what the probation order says or you will be breaching your probation, which is a criminal offence.

    Failure to comply: if you are not going along with the conditions of your probation, your probation officer is supposed to tell the police and they can charge you with a new offence: “failure to comply with probation”.

    It is a whole new offence. If you are found guilty, you could get sentenced to custody and it will be added to your youth justice court record. The judge will take it seriously because they gave you a chance to take responsibility and accept your punishment for the first offence, and you ignored them.  If you are charged with this, call your lawyer right away; it is the same as being charged with any other offence.

    Once completed: you cannot be brought back to court for the same offence. If you are charged with a new offence then you could be brought back for the new offence.

  10. Intensive Support and Supervision Program

    The judge could order that you participate in an intensive support and supervision program if a program like that exists where you live. The sentence would involve close monitoring and mandatory support services to assist you in changing your behaviour.

  11. Non-Residential Program

    A judge can order that you go to a go to a non-residential program if such a program exists where you live. For example, a judge could order you to go to a drug or alcohol treatment program or a literacy program.

    The order can be for up to 240 hours over a period of 6 months or less. You do not have to live there and the judge has to make sure that it does not interfere with your regular school schedule or your job.

  12. Custody and Supervision Order

    Often people use the word “jail” to describe being sentenced to custody. It means that you cannot go home, and that you must live at a “youth custody facility” where there are only young people. If you are sentenced as an adult then it is possible for you to be put in an adult facility. Sometimes there are also places where there are adults, but there is a separate area where the young people live and have no contact with the adults. If you are still in custody when you are 18, you can be transferred to an adult facility.

    It is called a “custody and supervision order” because when the judge makes an order like this you will have to spend some time in custody, and then some time under supervision in the community.

    Level of Custody: not all custody is the same, each province and territory must have at least two different levels of custody that will have different levels of security or freedom. The “provincial director” decides what level of custody you will go to. The provincial director is a government official who works for the provincial or territorial government, and is involved in making sure that the jails and custody facilities work properly.

    You will get the least restrictive level of custody that is appropriate for you, taking the following things into consideration:

    • the seriousness of the offence, and the circumstances of your involvement;
    • your needs, including how close you would be to family, school, employment and support services;
    • the safety of other young people in custody;
    • the interests of society;
    • where the best programs for you are available; and
    • whether you are likely to try and escape.

    The level of custody may not be a final decision: the provincial director may decide that your situation has changed so that a different level of custody is appropriate. You have the right to a review, by a review board, of your placement if you are in the most secure custody level or if you are transferred to a more secure custody level.

    Length: The first part (being in custody) will be twice as long as the second part (being under supervision). But the whole time must be 2 years or less, unless you are found guilty of an offence for which an adult could get a life sentence, and then it can be 3 years. If the sentence is 2 years then the first part in custody can be a maximum of 16 months, and the second part would then be 8 months for a total of 24 months. If the sentence is 3 years then the maximum time in custody is 24 months, and then 12 months under supervision.

    It is possible that you may have to spend more than 16 or 24 months in custody. Before the custody time of your sentence runs out the prosecutor may apply to the judge asking that you be kept in custody for the rest of your sentence.

    The judge can impose separate sentences for different offences that you commit. The combined sentence cannot usually exceed 3 years.

    There is a more serious sentence for murder charges:

    If you are found guilty of first degree murder you can be sentenced to 10 years, with a maximum of 6 years in custody and 4 years under supervision in the community. But before the custody part is finished the prosecutor could ask a judge to order that you continue to be held in custody for the rest of your sentence.

    If you are found guilty of second degree murder you can be sentenced to 7 years, with a maximum of 4 years in custody and 3 years under supervision in the community. Again, before the custody part of your sentence is finished the prosecutor could ask the judge to order that you continue to be held in custody for the rest of your sentence.

    Extension of custody: the judge can extend your custody if they are convinced that you are likely to commit a serious violent offence before the end of your sentence, or that the conditions of the supervision part of your sentence would not prevent you from committing another offence. The judge must look for the following things:

    • evidence of a pattern of violent behaviour that doesn’t seem to stop;
    • evidence from a psychologist or a psychiatrist because of a physical or mental health problem you are likely to commit a serious violent offence before your sentence is finished;
    • reliable evidence that you are planning to commit a serious violent offence before your sentence is finished;
    • whether or not there is a supervision programme that can offer satisfactory protection to the public from the chance that you might commit another offence;
    • whether you are more likely to offend if you spend your whole sentence in custody and do not get the benefit of being in the community but having close supervision; and
    • evidence of a pattern of having committed violent offences when you were under community supervision in the past.

    Supervision in the community: the judge will make an order about what conditions will apply to your supervision. They must include the following:

    • that you keep the peace and be of good behaviour – meaning that you must stay out of legal trouble;
    • that you report to the police, or the person responsible for supervising you, for example, a youth worker;
    • that you inform the person responsible for supervising you if you are arrested or questioned by police;
    • that you tell the person responsible for supervising you where you are living, and tell them immediately of any change in your address, your school or work;
    • that you report any change in your family or financial situation;
    • that you report any other change that might make it harder for you to comply with the conditions of your sentence; and
    • that you not own or have any weapon, ammunition, or explosive except if you specifically need to have such a thing for a program.

    Understanding the conditions: the person responsible for supervising you must make sure that you have been told the conditions, that you understand them, and that you and a parent get a written copy of the conditions. If there is anything you do not understand, you should ask to have it explained to you again until you do understand.

    Going home when in custody: you may be permitted to leave custody on a “reintegration leave”. This can be for up to 30 days at a time, and can also be taken away if it looks like things are not going well. You would get the leave if the provincial director decides that it is necessary or would be good for your rehabilitation, or for getting used to being back in the community. It could be for a continuous period of time, or it could be for specific days and times so that you can go to school of other training, get a job or help out your family, participate in a program that would be good for you, or go to a treatment program of some kind.

    Type of facility: either the judge or someone within the Provincial government, most likely the provincial director will determine what type of facility you will be detained in. In making the decision the judge or provincial director has to take into account the following factors:

    • the seriousness of the offence,
    • the circumstances of the offence,
    • your needs and circumstances, including closeness to family, school, employment and support services,
    • the safety of others in custody, and the interests of society
    • whether programs are available to meet your needs and behaviour, and
    • the likelihood of you escaping.

    Turning 18 while in custody: the provincial director can apply to the court to have you moved to an adult facility, but you have the right to voice your opinion.

    Visitors: you will probably be allowed to have visits from your friends and family at the youth custody facility.

    If you are having problems or being hassled by other young people or by the staff in custody: tell the staff or supervisor of the place where you are in custody about the problem.

    You can call the Child Advocate in Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. It is their job to ensure that all young people in custody are being treated properly according to law.

    You can contact the Ombudsman in Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon. It is their job to investigate complaints against government services and agencies – like custody facilities.

    If you are in care or have a youth worker, tell your worker.

    Tell your lawyer. If your complaint is serious, there may be a legal or court ordered answer to your problem.

    Running away from place of custody: this is a serious matter. It is a criminal offence to “escape lawful custody” and you will likely be charged. If you are found guilty you will probably get a longer time in custody, and it will add to your Youth Justice Court record.

  13. Deferred Custody and Supervision Order

    A deferred custody and supervision order means that you do not have to go into custody but will be subject to conditions and supervision in the community. A deferred custody and supervision order cannot last more than 6 months from the date you are sentenced. You cannot get this type of sentence if your offence involved serious violence.

    It is called “deferred” because if you do not comply with the conditions of your order, the conditions may be changed and you may be ordered to serve the remaining time as a custody and supervision order.

    The conditions that will always apply are that you:

    • “keep the peace and be of good behaviour” – meaning that you will not break any laws;
    • must appear in court if you are told by the court to do so;
    • report to and be supervised by the provincial director* or any other person chosen by the Youth Justice Court;
    • immediately tell the provincial director if you are arrested or questioned by the police;
    • report to the police, or any other person, as instructed by the provincial director;
    • tell the court of the provincial director if:
      – you move or change schools or change jobs;
      – there are any changes in your family or financial situation;
      – there are any other changes that affect your ability to comply with any of the conditions of your order;
      – cannot have or own any weapon, ammunition, device or explosive (although the judge can make exceptions); and
      – comply with any other reasonable conditions that the provincial director may order.

    On top of those conditions, the judge can add any of the following conditions:

    • that on release, you must go straight home or any other place the court orders;
    • that you try to get and keep a job;
    • that you go to school, or another place of learning, training or recreation, if the judge thinks that there is an appropriate place for you to go;
    • that you live with a parent or another responsible adult who will look after you;
    • that you live at a place chosen by the provincial director;
    • that you cannot leave town, the province, territory or country; and
    • comply with ant other conditions that the judge thinks are appropriate – such as curfew, or that you obey your parent’s rules, or the rules of the house wherever you live.
  14. Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision Order

    If you are found guilty of first or second degree murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault, or if you are being sentenced for a serious violent offence and have at least 2 other serious violent offences on your record, in some special circumstances the judge could order you into an intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision program if you have a mental health problem.

    The special circumstances that would lead a judge to order this sentence are:

    • it only applies to the kinds of offences listed above;
    • you must have a mental health problem;
    • there must be a plan for treatment and intensive supervision developed for you, and there must be a reason to believe that the plan might reduce the chances that you will commit another serious violent offence; and
    • there must be a program like this available in your province.
  15. Adult Sentence

    While you will always appear in a Youth Justice Court before a Youth Justice Court judge, there are some circumstances in which the Youth Justice Court judge may give you an adult sentence.

    You can be given an adult sentence if:

    • If you are 14 or older and are charged with murder, attempt murder, manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault. (Provinces can change this age to 15 or 16);
    • You are 14 or older and are found guilty of committing a serious offence for the third time (provinces can change this to 15 or 16); or
    • You are 14 or older and are charged with an indictable offence, or a serious violent offence, and the prosecutor applies to the court for you to be given an adult sentence.

    However, the prosecutor can decide not to ask for an adult sentence, in which case the court most give you a youth sentence.The judge will decide if something is a serious violence offence after you have been found guilty. After you have been found guilty the prosecutor may apply to the judge, and the judge will hear their arguments and your arguments (through your lawyer) and then decide if he or she thinks the offence should be called a serious violent offence.

    If the prosecutor makes an application to give you an adult sentence, a hearing must be held. Make sure you have a lawyer at this hearing. At the hearing, both you (through your lawyer) and the prosecutor will have a chance to give reasons why you should or should not be given an adult sentence. The judge will allow your parent(s) to speak at this hearing. If you tell the judge that you want an adult sentence then the judge does not have to have a hearing and instead will give you an adult sentence.In deciding whether or not to give you an adult sentence, the judge must consider a pre-sentence report before making this decision. The judge will consider the circumstances of the offence, the interests of society and your needs in making a decision. The judge when deciding if you should get an adult or youth sentence must make sure that your sentence is going to be long enough to make you accountable for your conduct. The factors the judge will consider include:

    • the seriousness of the offence(s) and the circumstances of the offence with which you are found guilty of, and
    • your age, maturity, character, background, and record.

    Here are some of the differences if you are given an adult sentence:

    • The news media may publish or broadcast your name
    • You may be sent to an adult facility or a federal penitentiary
    • You can be released on parole, as an adult would; and
    • Your record becomes an adult criminal record.

    If you are under 18, you will likely be placed in a youth facility until you become an adult, at which time you will likely be transferred to an adult facility. If you are 18, the judge must order that you serve your sentence in an adult facility, unless it is not in your best interests and would not jeopardize the safety of others. You have a right to voice your opinion.

    You could stay in a youth facility until no later than your 20th birthday (unless the judge believes that it is in your best interest to continue to stay in a youth facility and your stay would not jeopardize the safety of others.

    If you are given an adult sentence and do not want one, you have the right to appeal the decision to give you an adult sentence. Talk to your lawyer about an appeal.

  • Youth Criminal Justice Act

    The YCJA provides unique rights and procedures for young people between the ages of 12 - 17 who are charged with a criminal offence in Canada.

    • Application of the YCJA

      Open
    • The Police

      Open
    • Right to a Lawyer

      Open
    • Detention

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    • EJM & EJS

      Open
    • Court Process

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    • Sentencing Process

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    • Sentences

      Close
      1. Reprimand

        A reprimand is a stern lecture or warning from the judge.

      2. Absolute and Conditional Discharges

        An absolute discharge means that the judge will find you guilty, and you will have a youth justice court record, but there will be no additional punishment, and you are “discharged” from any more obligations to the court – so you have no more obligations to the court or the crown attorney or the victim(s).

        A conditional discharge means that you will have to fulfill certain conditions before being discharged and you may be supervised by someone connected to the court. If you do not fulfill the conditions, the judge may discharge you anyway, may order that you complete your conditions, attach new conditions, or you may have to return to court and may be given another sentence.

      3. Fines

        If you are ordered to pay a fine, the judge will decide the amount, but you cannot be fined more than an adult would for the same offence, and the absolute maximum is $1000.

        In deciding how much you have to pay, the judge will consider the seriousness of the offence and your present and future ability to pay the fine.

        If you cannot pay the fine, you can ask for extra time to pay the fine, or you may be able to pay off the fine by earning credits for working in a program, if such a program exists in your area.

      4. Compensation

        Compensation is when you are ordered to pay a person for any loss or damage to their property, or for any loss of income that they suffered, or for physical injuries because of the offence.

      5. Restitution

        Restitution is when you are ordered to return or replace any property that you got because of the offence, as long as the property is rightfully owned by that person or they had the right to have possession of it (for instance, they had a borrowed library book that you ruined).

      6. Personal Service

        Personal Service or Compensation in Kind is when the judges orders that you have to spend a specific number of hours, working for a person whom you have harmed, or to whom you have caused damage. The judge may order that you do a specific kind of work.

        The judge might order this so that you can try to make up for the harm you have caused, to help make things right or pay back the victim of the crime. The judge might order personal service where the crime is such that “restitution” is not possible – like ordering you to paint over or erase graffiti that you did. The judge must think that you are the right kind of person for this sentence.

        If the victim does not want personal service, then the judge cannot make this part of your sentence.

        The amount of time you are given to finish the personal service work is up to the judge, but it cannot take more than 240 hours, and it must be done in 1 year or less from the date of your sentence. (240 hours in a year is a little more than 4 ½ hours per week.)  Also, the personal service cannot interfere with your school or your employment.

         

      7. Community Service

        If you get community service the judge will order that you do work for an approved social or community agency – often a community centre, place of worship (like a church or a temple), hospital, nursing home, or a city or town department. You will be supervised in this work.

        The purpose of a community service order is to hold you responsible for your behaviour in the community, and makes you use your energy for doing positive instead of negative things in your community.

        How much work you have to do will be up to the judge, but it cannot take more than 240 hours, and it must be done in 1 year or less from the date (just like with personal service) of your sentence. Also, the community service cannot interfere with your school or your employment.

        You can make suggestions about the kind of community service work you do. Yes you can. Speak to your lawyer who can assist you and can present your ideas to the judge. The work must be part of an approved program or the judge must be sure that the organization has agreed to have you do your community service with them.

      8. Prohibition

        The judge may order that you are forbidden from having something, or that you give the thing over to the police – this is called a prohibition order, and is most often about weapons. Sometimes a judge may order that you are not allowed to have a computer or anything else that was related to your offence. There are some situations where the judge is required to give you a prohibition order.

        A mandatory prohibition order will last for at least 2 years from the date you are found guilty, or if you go to jail it will last for at least 2 years after you get out of jail. If a prohibition order is not mandatory, but the judge decides to make a prohibition order anyway, it must be for 2 years or less.

        If the judge makes a prohibition order for firearms or other weapons, you will not be able to have or use a firearm or any other weapon that is in the order for any reason, even hunting.

      9. Probation

        Probation means that you will be supervised quite closely even though you are not in jail (or custody) and it gives you a chance to show that you are responsible enough not to get into more trouble with the criminal justice system. While you are on probation there will be conditions that you must fulfill to prove that you will stay out of trouble.

        The conditions that will always apply are:

        • you must “keep the peace and be of good behaviour” – meaning that you will not break any laws; and
        • you must appear in court if you are told by the court to do so.

        On top of those first 2 conditions, the judge can add any of the following conditions:

        • that you report to and be supervised by a probation officer;
        • that you tell the court if you move or change schools or change jobs;
        • that you cannot leave town, the province, territory or country;
        • that you try to get and keep a job;
        • that you go to school, or another appropriate place of learning, training or recreation, if the judge thinks there is an appropriate place for you to go;
        • that you live with a parent or another responsible adult who will look out for you;
        • that you live at a place chosen by the provincial director*;
        • that you cannot have or own any weapon, ammunition, device or explosive (although the judge can make exceptions); and
        • any other conditions that the judge thinks are appropriate – such as a curfew, or that you obey your parent’s rules, or the rules of the house wherever you live.

        Understanding: when a judge makes a probation order, he or she must make sure that it is read to you and that you understand it. The judge must also make sure that you, (and a parent if one is there with you), get a copy of the order, and you will be asked to sign the order. If there is anything that you do not understand you should ask the judge about it. You should not sign a probation order if there is something that you do not understand. Before the order is made, you should explain to the judge if there is a term or rule you absolutely cannot follow.

        Length of time: The judge must tell you how long you are on probation. It must be for less than 2 years, unless you have committed more than one offence and then your probation could be for up to 3 years.

        Changing your conditions: if the conditions of the probation are not working out, you can have them changed in some cases. If this happens to you, you should talk to your lawyers as soon as possible. For example, if one of the conditions is that you be home by 8:00 PM and you get a job that keeps you out until 9:00 PM, your lawyer could explain the situation to a judge and ask to have the condition changed. Until the judge orders that the condition is changed, you have to do what the probation order says or you will be breaching your probation, which is a criminal offence.

        Failure to comply: if you are not going along with the conditions of your probation, your probation officer is supposed to tell the police and they can charge you with a new offence: “failure to comply with probation”.

        It is a whole new offence. If you are found guilty, you could get sentenced to custody and it will be added to your youth justice court record. The judge will take it seriously because they gave you a chance to take responsibility and accept your punishment for the first offence, and you ignored them.  If you are charged with this, call your lawyer right away; it is the same as being charged with any other offence.

        Once completed: you cannot be brought back to court for the same offence. If you are charged with a new offence then you could be brought back for the new offence.

      10. Intensive Support and Supervision Program

        The judge could order that you participate in an intensive support and supervision program if a program like that exists where you live. The sentence would involve close monitoring and mandatory support services to assist you in changing your behaviour.

      11. Non-Residential Program

        A judge can order that you go to a go to a non-residential program if such a program exists where you live. For example, a judge could order you to go to a drug or alcohol treatment program or a literacy program.

        The order can be for up to 240 hours over a period of 6 months or less. You do not have to live there and the judge has to make sure that it does not interfere with your regular school schedule or your job.

      12. Custody and Supervision Order

        Often people use the word “jail” to describe being sentenced to custody. It means that you cannot go home, and that you must live at a “youth custody facility” where there are only young people. If you are sentenced as an adult then it is possible for you to be put in an adult facility. Sometimes there are also places where there are adults, but there is a separate area where the young people live and have no contact with the adults. If you are still in custody when you are 18, you can be transferred to an adult facility.

        It is called a “custody and supervision order” because when the judge makes an order like this you will have to spend some time in custody, and then some time under supervision in the community.

        Level of Custody: not all custody is the same, each province and territory must have at least two different levels of custody that will have different levels of security or freedom. The “provincial director” decides what level of custody you will go to. The provincial director is a government official who works for the provincial or territorial government, and is involved in making sure that the jails and custody facilities work properly.

        You will get the least restrictive level of custody that is appropriate for you, taking the following things into consideration:

        • the seriousness of the offence, and the circumstances of your involvement;
        • your needs, including how close you would be to family, school, employment and support services;
        • the safety of other young people in custody;
        • the interests of society;
        • where the best programs for you are available; and
        • whether you are likely to try and escape.

        The level of custody may not be a final decision: the provincial director may decide that your situation has changed so that a different level of custody is appropriate. You have the right to a review, by a review board, of your placement if you are in the most secure custody level or if you are transferred to a more secure custody level.

        Length: The first part (being in custody) will be twice as long as the second part (being under supervision). But the whole time must be 2 years or less, unless you are found guilty of an offence for which an adult could get a life sentence, and then it can be 3 years. If the sentence is 2 years then the first part in custody can be a maximum of 16 months, and the second part would then be 8 months for a total of 24 months. If the sentence is 3 years then the maximum time in custody is 24 months, and then 12 months under supervision.

        It is possible that you may have to spend more than 16 or 24 months in custody. Before the custody time of your sentence runs out the prosecutor may apply to the judge asking that you be kept in custody for the rest of your sentence.

        The judge can impose separate sentences for different offences that you commit. The combined sentence cannot usually exceed 3 years.

        There is a more serious sentence for murder charges:

        If you are found guilty of first degree murder you can be sentenced to 10 years, with a maximum of 6 years in custody and 4 years under supervision in the community. But before the custody part is finished the prosecutor could ask a judge to order that you continue to be held in custody for the rest of your sentence.

        If you are found guilty of second degree murder you can be sentenced to 7 years, with a maximum of 4 years in custody and 3 years under supervision in the community. Again, before the custody part of your sentence is finished the prosecutor could ask the judge to order that you continue to be held in custody for the rest of your sentence.

        Extension of custody: the judge can extend your custody if they are convinced that you are likely to commit a serious violent offence before the end of your sentence, or that the conditions of the supervision part of your sentence would not prevent you from committing another offence. The judge must look for the following things:

        • evidence of a pattern of violent behaviour that doesn’t seem to stop;
        • evidence from a psychologist or a psychiatrist because of a physical or mental health problem you are likely to commit a serious violent offence before your sentence is finished;
        • reliable evidence that you are planning to commit a serious violent offence before your sentence is finished;
        • whether or not there is a supervision programme that can offer satisfactory protection to the public from the chance that you might commit another offence;
        • whether you are more likely to offend if you spend your whole sentence in custody and do not get the benefit of being in the community but having close supervision; and
        • evidence of a pattern of having committed violent offences when you were under community supervision in the past.

        Supervision in the community: the judge will make an order about what conditions will apply to your supervision. They must include the following:

        • that you keep the peace and be of good behaviour – meaning that you must stay out of legal trouble;
        • that you report to the police, or the person responsible for supervising you, for example, a youth worker;
        • that you inform the person responsible for supervising you if you are arrested or questioned by police;
        • that you tell the person responsible for supervising you where you are living, and tell them immediately of any change in your address, your school or work;
        • that you report any change in your family or financial situation;
        • that you report any other change that might make it harder for you to comply with the conditions of your sentence; and
        • that you not own or have any weapon, ammunition, or explosive except if you specifically need to have such a thing for a program.

        Understanding the conditions: the person responsible for supervising you must make sure that you have been told the conditions, that you understand them, and that you and a parent get a written copy of the conditions. If there is anything you do not understand, you should ask to have it explained to you again until you do understand.

        Going home when in custody: you may be permitted to leave custody on a “reintegration leave”. This can be for up to 30 days at a time, and can also be taken away if it looks like things are not going well. You would get the leave if the provincial director decides that it is necessary or would be good for your rehabilitation, or for getting used to being back in the community. It could be for a continuous period of time, or it could be for specific days and times so that you can go to school of other training, get a job or help out your family, participate in a program that would be good for you, or go to a treatment program of some kind.

        Type of facility: either the judge or someone within the Provincial government, most likely the provincial director will determine what type of facility you will be detained in. In making the decision the judge or provincial director has to take into account the following factors:

        • the seriousness of the offence,
        • the circumstances of the offence,
        • your needs and circumstances, including closeness to family, school, employment and support services,
        • the safety of others in custody, and the interests of society
        • whether programs are available to meet your needs and behaviour, and
        • the likelihood of you escaping.

        Turning 18 while in custody: the provincial director can apply to the court to have you moved to an adult facility, but you have the right to voice your opinion.

        Visitors: you will probably be allowed to have visits from your friends and family at the youth custody facility.

        If you are having problems or being hassled by other young people or by the staff in custody: tell the staff or supervisor of the place where you are in custody about the problem.

        You can call the Child Advocate in Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. It is their job to ensure that all young people in custody are being treated properly according to law.

        You can contact the Ombudsman in Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon. It is their job to investigate complaints against government services and agencies – like custody facilities.

        If you are in care or have a youth worker, tell your worker.

        Tell your lawyer. If your complaint is serious, there may be a legal or court ordered answer to your problem.

        Running away from place of custody: this is a serious matter. It is a criminal offence to “escape lawful custody” and you will likely be charged. If you are found guilty you will probably get a longer time in custody, and it will add to your Youth Justice Court record.

      13. Deferred Custody and Supervision Order

        A deferred custody and supervision order means that you do not have to go into custody but will be subject to conditions and supervision in the community. A deferred custody and supervision order cannot last more than 6 months from the date you are sentenced. You cannot get this type of sentence if your offence involved serious violence.

        It is called “deferred” because if you do not comply with the conditions of your order, the conditions may be changed and you may be ordered to serve the remaining time as a custody and supervision order.

        The conditions that will always apply are that you:

        • “keep the peace and be of good behaviour” – meaning that you will not break any laws;
        • must appear in court if you are told by the court to do so;
        • report to and be supervised by the provincial director* or any other person chosen by the Youth Justice Court;
        • immediately tell the provincial director if you are arrested or questioned by the police;
        • report to the police, or any other person, as instructed by the provincial director;
        • tell the court of the provincial director if:
          – you move or change schools or change jobs;
          – there are any changes in your family or financial situation;
          – there are any other changes that affect your ability to comply with any of the conditions of your order;
          – cannot have or own any weapon, ammunition, device or explosive (although the judge can make exceptions); and
          – comply with any other reasonable conditions that the provincial director may order.

        On top of those conditions, the judge can add any of the following conditions:

        • that on release, you must go straight home or any other place the court orders;
        • that you try to get and keep a job;
        • that you go to school, or another place of learning, training or recreation, if the judge thinks that there is an appropriate place for you to go;
        • that you live with a parent or another responsible adult who will look after you;
        • that you live at a place chosen by the provincial director;
        • that you cannot leave town, the province, territory or country; and
        • comply with ant other conditions that the judge thinks are appropriate – such as curfew, or that you obey your parent’s rules, or the rules of the house wherever you live.
      14. Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision Order

        If you are found guilty of first or second degree murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault, or if you are being sentenced for a serious violent offence and have at least 2 other serious violent offences on your record, in some special circumstances the judge could order you into an intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision program if you have a mental health problem.

        The special circumstances that would lead a judge to order this sentence are:

        • it only applies to the kinds of offences listed above;
        • you must have a mental health problem;
        • there must be a plan for treatment and intensive supervision developed for you, and there must be a reason to believe that the plan might reduce the chances that you will commit another serious violent offence; and
        • there must be a program like this available in your province.
      15. Adult Sentence

        While you will always appear in a Youth Justice Court before a Youth Justice Court judge, there are some circumstances in which the Youth Justice Court judge may give you an adult sentence.

        You can be given an adult sentence if:

        • If you are 14 or older and are charged with murder, attempt murder, manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault. (Provinces can change this age to 15 or 16);
        • You are 14 or older and are found guilty of committing a serious offence for the third time (provinces can change this to 15 or 16); or
        • You are 14 or older and are charged with an indictable offence, or a serious violent offence, and the prosecutor applies to the court for you to be given an adult sentence.

        However, the prosecutor can decide not to ask for an adult sentence, in which case the court most give you a youth sentence.The judge will decide if something is a serious violence offence after you have been found guilty. After you have been found guilty the prosecutor may apply to the judge, and the judge will hear their arguments and your arguments (through your lawyer) and then decide if he or she thinks the offence should be called a serious violent offence.

        If the prosecutor makes an application to give you an adult sentence, a hearing must be held. Make sure you have a lawyer at this hearing. At the hearing, both you (through your lawyer) and the prosecutor will have a chance to give reasons why you should or should not be given an adult sentence. The judge will allow your parent(s) to speak at this hearing. If you tell the judge that you want an adult sentence then the judge does not have to have a hearing and instead will give you an adult sentence.In deciding whether or not to give you an adult sentence, the judge must consider a pre-sentence report before making this decision. The judge will consider the circumstances of the offence, the interests of society and your needs in making a decision. The judge when deciding if you should get an adult or youth sentence must make sure that your sentence is going to be long enough to make you accountable for your conduct. The factors the judge will consider include:

        • the seriousness of the offence(s) and the circumstances of the offence with which you are found guilty of, and
        • your age, maturity, character, background, and record.

        Here are some of the differences if you are given an adult sentence:

        • The news media may publish or broadcast your name
        • You may be sent to an adult facility or a federal penitentiary
        • You can be released on parole, as an adult would; and
        • Your record becomes an adult criminal record.

        If you are under 18, you will likely be placed in a youth facility until you become an adult, at which time you will likely be transferred to an adult facility. If you are 18, the judge must order that you serve your sentence in an adult facility, unless it is not in your best interests and would not jeopardize the safety of others. You have a right to voice your opinion.

        You could stay in a youth facility until no later than your 20th birthday (unless the judge believes that it is in your best interest to continue to stay in a youth facility and your stay would not jeopardize the safety of others.

        If you are given an adult sentence and do not want one, you have the right to appeal the decision to give you an adult sentence. Talk to your lawyer about an appeal.

    • Youth Records

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