Purpose and Principles
38. (1) The purpose of sentencing under section 42 (youth sentences) is to hold a young person accountable for an offence through the imposition of just sanctions that have meaningful consequences for the young person and that promote his or her rehabilitation and reintegration into society, thereby contributing to the long-term protection of the public.
Marginal note:Sentencing principles
(2) A youth justice court that imposes a youth sentence on a young person shall determine the sentence in accordance with the principles set out in section 3 and the following principles:
(a) the sentence must not result in a punishment that is greater than the punishment that would be appropriate for an adult who has been convicted of the same offence committed in similar circumstances;
(b) the sentence must be similar to the sentences imposed in the region on similar young persons found guilty of the same offence committed in similar circumstances;
(c) the sentence must be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the young person for that offence;
(d) all available sanctions other than custody that are reasonable in the circumstances should be considered for all young persons, with particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal young persons;
(e) subject to paragraph (c), the sentence must
(i) be the least restrictive sentence that is capable of achieving the purpose set out in subsection (1),
(ii) be the one that is most likely to rehabilitate the young person and reintegrate him or her into society, and
(iii) promote a sense of responsibility in the young person, and an acknowledgement of the harm done to victims and the community; and
(f) subject to paragraph (c), the sentence may have the following objectives:
(i) to denounce unlawful conduct, and
(ii) to deter the young person from committing offences.
Marginal note:Factors to be considered
(3) In determining a youth sentence, the youth justice court shall take into account
(a) the degree of participation by the young person in the commission of the offence;
(b) the harm done to victims and whether it was intentional or reasonably foreseeable;
(c) any reparation made by the young person to the victim or the community;
(d) the time spent in detention by the young person as a result of the offence;
(e) the previous findings of guilt of the young person; and
(f) any other aggravating and mitigating circumstances related to the young person or the offence that are relevant to the purpose and principles set out in this section.
- 2002, c. 1, s. 38;
- 2012, c. 1, s. 172.
Marginal note:Committal to custody
39. (1) A youth justice court shall not commit a young person to custody under section 42 (youth sentences) unless
(a) the young person has committed a violent offence;
(b) the young person has failed to comply with non-custodial sentences;
(c) the young person has committed an indictable offence for which an adult would be liable to imprisonment for a term of more than two years and has a history that indicates a pattern of either extrajudicial sanctions or of findings of guilt or of both under this Act or the Young Offenders Act, chapter Y-1 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985; or
(d) in exceptional cases where the young person has committed an indictable offence, the aggravating circumstances of the offence are such that the imposition of a non-custodial sentence would be inconsistent with the purpose and principles set out in section 38.
Marginal note:Alternatives to custody
(2) If any of paragraphs (1)(a) to (c) apply, a youth justice court shall not impose a custodial sentence under section 42 (youth sentences) unless the court has considered all alternatives to custody raised at the sentencing hearing that are reasonable in the circumstances, and determined that there is not a reasonable alternative, or combination of alternatives, that is in accordance with the purpose and principles set out in section 38.
Marginal note:Factors to be considered
(3) In determining whether there is a reasonable alternative to custody, a youth justice court shall consider submissions relating to
(a) the alternatives to custody that are available;
(b) the likelihood that the young person will comply with a non-custodial sentence, taking into account his or her compliance with previous non-custodial sentences; and
(c) the alternatives to custody that have been used in respect of young persons for similar offences committed in similar circumstances.
Marginal note:Imposition of same sentence
(4) The previous imposition of a particular non-custodial sentence on a young person does not preclude a youth justice court from imposing the same or any other non-custodial sentence for another offence.
Marginal note:Custody as social measure prohibited
(5) A youth justice court shall not use custody as a substitute for appropriate child protection, mental health or other social measures.
Marginal note:Pre-sentence report
(6) Before imposing a custodial sentence under section 42 (youth sentences), a youth justice court shall consider a pre-sentence report and any sentencing proposal made by the young person or his or her counsel.
Marginal note:Report dispensed with
(7) A youth justice court may, with the consent of the prosecutor and the young person or his or her counsel, dispense with a pre-sentence report if the court is satisfied that the report is not necessary.
Marginal note:Length of custody
(8) In determining the length of a youth sentence that includes a custodial portion, a youth justice court shall be guided by the purpose and principles set out in section 38, and shall not take into consideration the fact that the supervision portion of the sentence may not be served in custody and that the sentence may be reviewed by the court under section 94.
(9) If a youth justice court imposes a youth sentence that includes a custodial portion, the court shall state the reasons why it has determined that a non-custodial sentence is not adequate to achieve the purpose set out in subsection 38(1), including, if applicable, the reasons why the case is an exceptional case under paragraph (1)(d).
- 2002, c. 1, s. 39;
- 2012, c. 1, s. 173.
- Date modified: