Sentencing and Imprisonment
Structure of Sentencing
-didn’t have codified sentences; no explicit instructions, we have maximums but
-very few mandatory minimums = discretion; additions over past year
-how judges come about sentences = common law
-variation b/c no consistent instructions
-judge made culture; one of restraint, limiting imposing sentences = chose shorter,
evoking the law
-stability in incarceration rate (vs. the US) = suggests that historically (in Canada)
skeptical of imprisonment
-now a political hot topic (past decide) = party wants to look soft on crime
-public’s general consensus, sentences aren’t harsh enough, too lenient, influences
changes in sentencing
-reports arguing, we must restrict when to use law and how to impose it = do not
want to rely on imprisonment(doesn’t work)
-what alternatives can we use in place of the law? (consider before imposing law)
-preference for least restrictive punishment; reserve maximum for more severe
-# of days, parole, # of hours for community service = how do we determine the one
-there is none; look at a range
-each judge can impose differently, so how can there be a one right #?
-focus on how severe, lenient, punitive? Public view? What are we trying to achieve
and are we capable of it?
-simply punishing, or rehabilitating? Forewarning society?
-criminal code: section 718 is for sentencing
-e and f are the most recent additions = explicitly deal with victims + community
-what guidance is give to judges? Is there a consensus on just sanctions? Judges are
left to their own discretion for which ones to choose
-what should be considered?
-cost for incarceration and parole vs rehab/alternatives
-are punishments affordable? If state/country has no more money, where does the
money come from?
-picture = demonstration for remorse; instructed by counsel
-remorse has potential to reduce sentence imposed
-does remorse matter? How should it be measured?
-what about those who maintain their innocence? Proportionality (718.1)
-severity? Responsibility? (role in offence, age)
-intent? Result of offence? Do we measure harm caused or harm that could
potentially be caused?
Aggravating + mitigating factors (718.2)
-circumstances that aggravate offence (street gang, mafia, terrorist related)
-there are more than these: taking advantage of vulnerable people ( children,
patients), reoffending (esp. same offence), plans, breach of trust, weapon use, who
the victim is crown imp. They are: police, children)
-what factors make offence less serious? (reduce responsibility), menta