Youth Court Judges' Views of the Youth Justice system: The results of a survey

Reviews

The frequency of reviews of custodial dispositions of six months or more appears to vary enormously across judges.

Proportion of 6+ month sentences with review
  Frequency Valid percent Cumulative percent
Valid All/almost all   34 14.3 14.3
Most 53 22.3 36.6
About half 32 13.4 50
A few 61 25.6 75.6
Almost none, none 25 10.5 86.1
Don’t know 33 13.9 100
Total 238 100  

Looking only at those judges who were able to make an estimate, [50] it would appear that, at least as reported by judges, the proportion of long sentences subjected to reviews varied considerably across regions. Reviews appeared to take place most frequently in Atlantic Canada and the territories and least frequently in Quebec. It should also be emphasized that several judges indicated that they, themselves, set review dates for such youths at the time of sentencing.

Judge's estimate of the proportion of custodial dispositions of 6 months or more that are reviewed.
  Reviewed Total
Half or more Few, almost none, none
Region Atlantic Count
Row percent
22
75.9 %
7
24.1 %
29
100 %
Quebec Count
Row percent
6
28.6 %
15
71.4 %
21
100 %
Ontario Count
Row percent
37
62.7 %
22
37.3 %
59
100 %
Prairies Count
Row percent
22
52.4 %
20
47.6 %
42
100 %
BC Count
Row percent
26
55.3 %
21
44.7 %
47
100 %
Territory Count
Row percent
4
100 %
  4
100 %
Total Count
Row percent
117
57.9 %
85
42.1 %
202
100 %

Excluding the territories, Chi-square = 12.34, df=4, p<.02

Some variation across provinces was found with respect to the perception that it was important for the judge who sentenced an offender to be the same judge who hears the review. (Approximately five percent of judges indicated that they thought it would be better for an independent judge to do the review.)

Importance of sentencing judge doing the review
  Important or very important Not very, or not at all important Total
Province or Territory NF Count
% within Province
1
50 %
1
50 %
2
100 %
PE Count
% within Province
  1
100 %
1
100 %
NS Count
% within Province
10
62.5 %
6
37.5 %
16
100 %
NB Count
% within Province
6
66.7 %
3
33.3 %
9
100 %
QC Count
% within Province
19
79.2 %
5
20.8 %
24
100 %
ON Count
% within Province
59
92.2 %
5
7.8 %
64
100 %
MN Count
% within Province
12
80 %
3
20 %
15
100 %
SK. Count
% within Province
7
46.7 %
8
53.3 %
15
100 %
AB Count
% within Province
16
76.2 %
5
23.8 %
21
100 %
BC Count
% within Province
43
84.3 %
8
15.7 %
51
100 %
YK Count
% within Province
1
100 %
  1
100 %
NW. Count
% within Province
2
100 %
  2
100 %
Total Count
% within Province
176
79.6 %
45
20.4 %
221
100 %
 

Important or very important  

Not very, or not at all important Total
Region Atlantic Count
% within Region
17
60.7 %
11
39.3 %
28
100 %
Quebec Count
% within Region
19
79.2 %
5
20.8 %
24
100 %
Ontario Count
% within Region
59
92.2 %
5
7.8 %
64
100 %
Prairies Count
% within Region
35
68.6 %
16
31.4 %
51
100 %
BC Count
% within Region
43
84.3 %
8
15.7 %
51
100 %
Territory Count
% within Region
3
100 %
  3
100 %
Total Count
% within Region
176
79.6 %
45
20.4 %
221
100 %

Excluding the territories, Chi-Square = 16.72, df=4, p<.01 (1 cell E=4.95)

As can be seen in this table, Ontario judges were most likely to see it as important that the sentencing judge do the review. Atlantic Canada judges were least likely to see it as important. In their comments, several judges indicated that this procedure constitutes a mechanism by which judges are given feedback regarding the progress of the youth. One judge noted that the happiest day for a youth court judge occurs when the judge can end a custody order because the youth has progressed sufficiently.


[50] The proportion indicating that they did not know did not vary significantly across jurisdictions.

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