This article will examine youth sentencing guidelines in Toronto.
The youth criminal justice system in Toronto is designed to provide young people with appropriate and proportional responses to criminal behaviour while taking into account their unique needs and circumstances. Sentencing guidelines for youth offences in Toronto are set out in the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) and aim to ensure that young people are held accountable for their actions in a manner that is consistent with their age and maturity level.
In Toronto, youth offences are divided into two categories: minor offences and serious offences. Minor offences are less serious in nature and are typically dealt with through alternative measures such as warnings, cautions, or referrals to community programs. Serious offences, on the other hand, are more severe and can result in a youth being charged and appearing in court.
The YCJA provides guidance for sentencing youth offenders in Toronto and sets out a range of options for judges to consider when deciding on an appropriate sentence. These options include:
- Absolute Discharge: This is the most lenient sentence for youth offences and results in the young person being found guilty, but without receiving a criminal record. Absolute discharges are only available for minor offences and are typically used when the young person has no prior criminal record and is unlikely to reoffend.
- Conditional Discharge: A conditional discharge is similar to an absolute discharge, but with conditions attached. Conditions may include community service, restitution, or counseling.
- Reprimand: A reprimand is a formal warning given by a judge to a young person who has been found guilty of a minor offence. Reprimands are typically used when the young person has no prior criminal record and is unlikely to reoffend.
- Fine: A fine is a monetary penalty imposed by a judge on a young person who has been found guilty of an offence. Fines are typically used for minor offences and can be a stand-alone sentence or combined with other sentences such as community service or probation.
- Community Service: Community service is a sentence that requires a young person to perform work in the community as a way of making amends for their criminal behaviour. Community service is often combined with other sentences, such as probation or a fine, and can be used for minor or serious offences.
- Probation: Probation is a sentence that requires a young person to comply with certain conditions, such as maintaining good behaviour, staying away from certain people or places, and completing community service. Probation is often used for serious offences and can be combined with other sentences, such as community service or a fine.
- Custody and Supervision: Custody and supervision is a sentence that requires a young person to be detained in a secure facility, such as a youth detention centre, for a specified period of time. Custody and supervision is used for the most serious youth offences and is only available as a last resort after other sentencing options have been considered and found to be inappropriate.
In addition to these sentencing options, the YCJA also provides guidance on the principles that should be considered when sentencing youth offenders in Toronto. These principles include the following:
- Accountability: Young people should be held accountable for their criminal behaviour in a manner that is consistent with their age and maturity level.
- Rehabilitation: The sentence imposed on a young person should be designed to help the young person rehabilitate and become a productive member of society.
- Proportionality: The sentence imposed on a young person should be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances of the young person.
- Restorative Justice: The sentence imposed on a young person should be aimed at restoring the harm done to the victim and the community and should encourage the young person to take responsibility for their actions.
- Reintegration: The sentence imposed on a young person should help the young person reintegrate into society and should consider the young person’s need for support, guidance, and education.
In conclusion, the youth sentencing guidelines in Toronto aim to provide appropriate and proportional responses to criminal behaviour by young people while taking into account their unique needs and circumstances. The range of sentencing options available under the YCJA, along with the principles that should be considered, provide judges with the necessary guidance to make informed decisions when sentencing youth offenders in Toronto. It is important to remember that the ultimate goal of the youth criminal justice system in Toronto is to ensure that young people are held accountable for their actions and are given the opportunity to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society.
If you or someone you know has been charged with Assault, contact De Boyrie Law today for a free consultation at this link. If your matter is immediate please contact us at (416) 727-1389. De Boyrie Law serves Toronto, Vaughan, and the Greater Toronto Area.
Stacey is a student at De Boyrie Law. She is currently studying to complete the BAR and is expected to join our firm once she has completed studies.