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Chapter Nine Notes

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Ryerson University
ECN 510

Chapter 9: Sentencing and Parole in Canada: Practices and Public Opinions Pages 250-275 • The criminal justice system includes policing agencies and correctional institutions • Some of the major roles of courts in Canada include hearing evidence presented at trial, determining guilt and innocence, and rendering sentencing decisions across a wide range of criminal and civil cases • Tribunals are not officially part of the Canadian court system • theses tribunals are responsible for resolving disputes over a wide range of administrative issues in both provincial/territorial and federal jurisdictions. • The lowest level of the actual court hierarchy is Canada consists of provincial/territorial, aka inferior courts> deals with criminal offences (traffic violations) and civil issues, youth courts, drug treatments courts, and domestic violence courts • Provincial/Territorial jurisdictions includes provincial/territorial superior courts. One of the primary roles of these courts is to act as the court of first appeal for courts at the lowest level of the hierarchy. These courts try the most serious criminal and civil cases-cases that often involve juries • The federal court of Canada serves to review admin decisions made by federal administrative tribunals that are related to matters such as immigration, intellectual property, and maritime law. • At the top of all this is, is the Supreme court of Canada (SCC) which was create in 1875. The SCC is the final court of appeal in Canada. Sentencing in Canada: • sentencing in Canada is defined as “the judicial determination of a legal sanction upon a person convicted of an offence” • Specific deterrence: sentencing in order to reduce the probability that an offender will reoffend in the future • General deterrence: sentencing in order to reduce the probability that members of the general public will offend in the future Purpose of Sentencing offenders: • To denounce unlawful conduct • to separate offenders from society • to assist in rehabilitating offenders • to provide reparations for harm done to victims or the community • to promote a sense of responsibility in offenders • the fundamental principle of sentencing, as defined by the criminal code, is that a sentence must be proportionate to the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender. • Judges have a great deal of discretion, even though the criminal code provides a general framework for making sentencing decisions • Absolute discharge: the defendant is released into the community withou restrictions to his or her behavior • conditional discharge: a defendant is released; however, release carries certain conditions (e.g., not possess firearms) that the defendant must meet. Failure to meet the conditions imposed with a conditional discharge may result in the defendant being incarcerated or sent to a psychiatric facility • Fine: Asentence where the offender has to make a monetary payment to the courts • Community service: a sentence that involves the offender performing a duty in the community, often as a way of paying off a fine • conditional sentence: a sentence served in the community • Imprisonment:Asentence served in prison The principles of Sentencing: 1. a sentence should be adjusted to account for any relevant aggravating or mitigating circumstances relating to the offence of the offender. For example, if the offender abused a position of authority when committing his or her offence, this should be considered 2. Asentence should be similar for similar offenders committing similar offences under similar circumstances 3. Where consecutive sentences are imposed, the combined sentence should not be unduly harsh 4. an offender should not be deprived of liberty (e.g., imprisoned) if less restrictive sanctions are appropriate under the circumstances 5. If reasonable, sanctions other than imprisonment should be considered for all offenders Any offender who meets the following criteria can be designated a long-term offender: 1. It would be appropriate to impose a sentence of 2 years or more for the offence 2. There is a substantial risk that the offender will reoffend 3. There is a reasonable possibility of eventual control of risk in the community Continued: • Dangerous Offender: Alabel attached to offenders who are proven to constitute a significant danger to others • Long-term offender: Alabel attached to offenders who are proven to be a high risk for re- offending • Sentencing disparity: variations in sentencing severity for similar crimes committed under similar circumstances • Unwarranted sentencing disparity: variations in sentencing severity for similar crimes committed under similar circumstances that result from reliance by the judge on legally irrelevant factors • Systematic disparity: consistent disagreement among judges about sentencing decisions due to factors such as how lenien
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