SOC209H5 Lecture Notes - Suspended Sentence, Critical Role

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13 Dec 2012
Chapter Nine: Alternatives to Confinement
Key principles that are related to the effectiveness of correctional treatment programs
1. Risk: programs must be matched to the risk level of the offender. Using
inappropriate alternative programs may not provide assistance to the offender and
could place community at risk
2. Need: treatment interventions should address underlying factors like substance
abuse that are related to offending behavior
3. Responsivity: treatment intervention should match the learning styles and abilities
of individual inmates; ‘one size fits all’ approach must be avoided.
Oldest and most traditional alternative to confinement
Objective is to keep offenders from being processed further into the CJS;
avoidance of negative labeling and stigmatization; reduction of costs of CJS and
provision of services
Target first-time, low-risk offenders
Require offenders to take responsibility for their behavior and agree to fulfill few
conditions within a specific time period for example: paying restitution to victim,
completing community hours etc.
Some diversion programs are targeted at offenders who have committed more
serious offenses like DTCs for example
No evidence in Canada that diversion programs have any impact on recidivism.
Most widely used alternative
In cases where no minimum penalty is prescribed, judge may put offender on
Can be used in conjunction with a period of incarceration, including intermittent
sentences. Max time a probation order can be in effect is 3 years.
Not available for federal offenders except for cases where offender is sentenced
for 2 years in confinement and a probation order could be attached making it 3
Probation is ordered in 45% of cases
5 ways offenders can be on probation:
- part of a conditional discharge
- as a condition of a suspended sentence
- part of an intermittent sentence
- as a sentence on its own
- following a prison term of less than 2 years
Probation can be included with any disposition:
- Fine
- Imprisonment up to 2 years
- Conditional sentence
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