Youth Sentencing Options

In Depth 3

New Youth Sentences

What new youth sentences can a youth court judge impose?
If a youth has been found guilty of an offence in youth court, the judge could impose one of the following new youth sentences. Non-custodial sentences, custody orders and sentences for serious violent offenders have been added under the YCJA:

  • Judicial Reprimand: This means that the youth receives a stern lecture from the judge in a minor case where being apprehended, taken to court and being reprimanded is enough to hold the youth accountable for the offence.
  • Program Attendance Order: This requires the youth to attend a program at a specified time and on conditions set by the judge. It can be crafted to address his or her particular circumstances. For example, it could focus on days and times when the youth is unsupervised and has a tendency to violate the law.
  • Intensive Support and Supervision Program ("ISSP"): This means that the youth is subject to closer monitoring and more support than under a probation order. This is to assist in changing the youth’s behaviour.
  • Deferred Custody and Supervision Order: This allows the youth to serve the sentence in the community under conditions, often including a strict curfew or house arrest, instead of being sentenced to custody. If the youth violates the conditions he or she will be kept in custody. This sentence is not available if the youth has been found guilty of a serious violent offence.
  • Custody and Supervision: The youth is given a custody (jail) sentence. The youth's time in custody must be followed by a period of time of supervision and support in the community. Generally one-third of the sentence will be served under supervision in the community.
  • Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision ("IRCS"): This is a special and rare sentence for a serious violent offender. This sentence is a period of custody with mandatory treatment, followed by a period of conditional supervision and support in the community. The judge can impose this sentence if:
    • The youth has been found guilty of one of the presumptive offences (e.g. murder)
    • The youth is suffering from a mental or psychological disorder or an emotional disturbance
    • An individualized treatment plan has been developed for the youth and there is an appropriate program available to which the youth is suitable for admission.