Understanding Cases of Failure to Comply with A Disposition

Section II: Longitudinal Youth Court Data

Part 2A: Description of Cases

Current Sample: Types of Convictions

There are a number of ways in which to describe the FTC cases that were disposed of in 2002/3. Within these FTC cases there could also be convictions for other types of offences (e.g. violence, property, drugs, etc). Looking at the cases that have, and did not have, other types of convictions within the case, one can see that close to half of the sample (46.1%) only had a FTC conviction (or convictions) within the case (Table 8). Another 26.4% only had one non-FTC conviction within the case. A “non-FTC conviction” includes any conviction that is not failing to comply with a disposition. Another 12.6% had two non-FTC convictions and 14.9% had three or more non-FTC convictions within the case. The same trends emerged when looking at boys and girls separately. However, girls were significantly more likely than boys to only have FTC convictions within their cases.

Table 8: Type of Case by Gender
  Males Females Total
Only FTC convictions 43.3%
(3101)
55.9%
(1146)
46.1%
(4247)
One non-FTC conviction 26.9%
(1930)
24.5%
503
26.4%
(2433)
Two non-FTC convictions 13.7%
(982)
8.8%
(180)
12.6%
(1162)
Three or more non-FTC convictions 16.0%
(1149)
10.7%
(220)
14.9%
(1369)
Total 100.0%
(7162)
100.0%
(2049)
100.0%
(9211)

Chi-square=119.44, df=3, p<.001

Another way of representing these cases is to show the number (and proportion) of cases with single/multiple failure to comply convictions as well as some combination of other non-FTC convictions. Table 9 presents these findings overall, and for boys and girls separately. Roughly 34.3% had only one FTC conviction within the case and another 11.8% had two or more FTC convictions (46.1% in total having only FTC convictions within the case). Thus, of the cases that only had FTC convictions (N=4,247), the majority had only one single conviction (N=3,162 or 74% of the cases that only had FTC convictions).

Roughly 19.8% had one FTC conviction and one non-FTC conviction while another 15.5% had one FTC conviction and two or more non-FTC convictions. Only 18.5% had two or more FTC convictions and one or more non-FTC convictions. Similar trends emerge when looking at boys and girls separately. Generally, however, boys were significantly more likely than girls to have a non-FTC conviction (or convictions) with multiple FTC convictions (Table 9).

Table 9: Type of case by Gender
  Male Female Total
One FTC conviction only 32.9%
(2356)
39.3%
(806)
34.3%
(3162)
Two or more FTC convictions only 10.4%
(745)
16.6%
(340)
11.8%
(1085)
One FTC and one non-FTC Conviction 20.4%
1464
17.7%
(362)
19.8%
(1826)
One FTC and two or more non-FTC convictions 17.0%
1221
10.3%
(211)
15.5%
(1432)
Two or more FTC and One or more FTC convictions 19.2%
(1376)
16.1%
(330)
18.5%
(1706)
Total 100.0%
(7162)
100.0%
(2049)
100.0%
(9211)

Chi-square=132.29, df=4, p<.001

The next issue to explore is the type of non-FTC convictions within these cases. For the following analysis, the 46.1% of cases that only had a conviction (or convictions) for FTC were removed leaving the 53.9% (N=4,964) of the cases with non-FTC convictions. W here there were two or more different types of non-FTC convictions in the case, the most serious [12] conviction was chosen.

Overall, roughly 27.5% involved a violent offence as the most serious offence within the case and 47% involved a property offence as the most serious offence (Table 10). Roughly 12.9% had an administration of justice (e.g. failure to appear) offence as the most serious offence and another 4.7% involved a drug offence as the most serious offence.

The violence cases tended to be split between more serious assaults (attempted murder, robbery, sexual assault, assault level two and three: 11.2%) and minor assaults (11.1%) (Table 10). The property offences tended also to be relatively equally distributed among break and enters (13.2%), theft over/other thefts (10%), theft under (11%) and mischief/possession of stolen property (12.8%) (Table 10).

Girls were significantly more likely than boys to have a minor assault at the most serious offence (17.6% of girls vs. 9.7% of boys) while boys were significantly more likely than girls to have a break and enter as the most serious offence (14.9% for boys vs. 5.5% for girls) (Table 10). Girls were also significantly more likely than boys to have an administration of justice offence as the most serious offence within the case (20.5% for girls vs. 11.2% for boys) (Table 10).

Table 10: Only Cases with Other Convictions in Addition to FTC: Most Serious Conviction by Gender
  Type of Most Serious Conviction
  Males Females Total
Attempted murder, robbery, sexual assault, assault level 2 and 3 11.4%
(462)
10.5%
(95)
11.2%
(557)
Minor assault 9.7%
(393)
17.6%
(159)
11.1%
(552)
All other violence (predominately threats) 5.0%
(205)
6.0%
(54)
5.2%
(259)
Break and enter 14.9%
(606)
5.5%
(50)
13.2%
(656)
Theft over $5000/Other thefts/)/Other property 9.8%
(399)
10.5%
(95)
10.0%
(494)
Theft under $5000 10.4%
(423)
13.5%
(122)
11.0%
(545)
Mischief, possession of stolen property 13.6%
(554)
9.0%
(81)
12.8%
(635)
Administration of justice 11.2%
(456)
20.5%
185)
12.9%
(641)
Drugs 5.4%
(219)
1.7%
(15)
4.7%
234)
All other offences 8.5%
(344)
5.2%
(47)
7.9%
(391)
Total 100.0%
(4061)
100.0%
(903)
100.0%
(4964)

Chi-square=193.0, df=10, p<.001

There appeared to be a pattern involving the number of failing to comply convictions and the type of most serious conviction within the case. The more failing to comply convictions there were within in a case, the more likely the case also contained more serious non-FTC convictions. For example, of those with one conviction for failing to comply, close to half (49.3%) only had FTC convictions within the case (Table 11). However, of those with two FTC convictions 42.3% only had FTC convictions and of those with three or more FTC convictions 32.9% had only FTC convictions (Table 11). Generally, as the number of FTC convictions increased, so did the proportion of cases with violence, property, drugs, administration of justice or “other” convictions.

Table 11: Type of most serious conviction in a case by the number of FTC convictions
  Number of FTC convictions within cases Total
One FTC convictions Two FTC convictions Three or more FTC convictions
Only FTC convictions in case 3162
49.3%
746
42.3%
339
32.9%
4247
46.1%
Violence conviction in case 870
13.6%
300
17.0%
198
19.2%
1368
14.9%
Property Conviction in case 1545
24.1%
457
25.9%
328%
31.9%
2330
25.3%
Admin of Justice conviction in case 339
6.2%
141
8.0%
101
9.8%
641
7.0%
Drug conviction in case 172
2.7%
40
2.3%
22
2.1%
234
2.5%
“Other” convictions in case 272
4.2%
78
4.4%
41
4.0%
391
4.2%
Total 6420
100.0%
1762
100.0%
1029
100.0%
9211
100.0%

Chi-square=127.76, df=10, p<.001

It is unclear why this pattern appears. It could be that when there are other criminal offences the youth has also broken specific orders placed on him/her (e.g. refrain from being in a certain place, non-association orders, etc). Alternatively (or additionally) it may be that more breaches occur almost automatically with the criminal offence. That is, it may be that the youth, in committing an offence, automatically breaks a condition like “keep the peace and be of good behaviour” plus specific orders placed on him/her (e.g. refrain from a certain place). Thus, more breaches occur in the commission of a criminal offence.

In a sample of failure to comply cases from a southwestern Ontario youth court, it was found that the most frequent condition breached was “keep the peace and be of good behaviour” (Pulis, 2003 [13]). However, that condition was not “automatically” breached with the commission of an offence as not every case with a criminal conviction had a conviction for failing to “keep the peace and be of good behaviour”. Pulis's (2003) findings suggested that if the offence was more serious, it was more likely that the youth would also be convicted of failing to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. For example, all cases with a violence conviction were also breached on the condition of failing to keep the peace, but only 42% of cases with drug/other convictions were also breached on that condition [14].

Current Sample: Types of Sentences

When examining the most serious sanction [15] given for the failure to comply conviction, it is important to understand that, as in Part I, the sentence may be concurrent with the sentence(s) for other convictions in the case. So, for example, imagine a case with a theft under conviction and a failure to comply conviction. In this data set it may be indicated that the failure to comply received a custodial sanction. This does necessarily reflect a “unique” sanction for the failure to comply. It may be that the custodial sentence was for both the theft under and the failure to comply (to be served concurrently). Alternatively, it may be that the custodial sanction is only for the failure to comply conviction and there is another custodial sanction or different type of sanction given for the other criminal conviction. Thus, when examining the most serious disposition for the failure to comply conviction, in cases with other criminal convictions or multiple failure to comply convictions, one should interpret this as the minimum sentence given – there may be an additional sentence or it may be the entire sentence for all convictions.

Table 12 shows the most serious sentence given for the failure to comply conviction for boys, girls, and overall. Boys are significantly more likely than girls to receive a custodial sentence. Roughly 48.5% of boys receive a custodial sentence (25% secure and 23.5% open) whereas roughly 41.6% of girls receive a custodial sentence (20.1% secure and 21.5% open).

Overall then, 23.9% received a secure custodial sentence as the most serious sentence for a FTC conviction (Table 12). Another 23.1% received open custody – resulting in 47% of this sample receiving a custodial sentence. Another 33.2% received probation.

Table 12: Most Serious Sentence on FTC Conviction by Gender
  Male Female Total
Secure custody 25.0%
(1792)
20.1%
(412)
23.9%
(2204)
Open custody 23.5%
(1683)
21.5%
(441)
23.1%
(2124)
Probation 31.5%
(2259)
39.0%
(800)
33.2%
(3059)
Fine 8.7%
(622)
6.3%
(130)
8.2%
(752)
CSO 7.7%
(548)
8.5%
(175)
7.8%
(723)
Other 3.6%
(258)
4.4%
(91)
3.8%
(349)
Total 100.0%
(7162)
100.0%
(2049)
100.0%
(9211)

Chi-square=61.02, df=5, p<.001

The more failing to comply convictions and other convictions within the case, the more severe the sentence was. Table 13 shows the type of case and type of sentence by gender. Looking first at those cases with only one FTC conviction, one can see that 28.8% of boys and 30.5% of girls received a custodial sentence (29.2% overall). Cases with two or more FTC convictions had a higher use of custody with 51% of boys and 47.1% of girls (49.8% overall) receiving custody. Within the FTC only cases, girls appeared more likely than boys to receive probation while boys were more likely than girls to receive a CSO.

For both boys and girls, there appears to be a higher use of custody for cases with two FTC convictions compared to cases with one FTC conviction and one other type of conviction. For example, roughly 41.6% of cases received a custodial sentence if they had one FTC conviction and one non-FTC conviction compared to 49.8% of cases receiving custody that had two FTC convictions (Table 13). Once there are two or more FTC convictions and one or more non-FTC convictions within the case roughly 70.7% receive custody. For most comparisons, girls were significantly more likely than boys to receive probation instead of custody.

Table 13: Most Serious Sentence Given for FTC Conviction by Type of Case and Gender

One FTC conviction only
  Custody Probation Fine/CSO/Other Total
Male 28.8%
(678)
32.6%
(768)
38.6%
(910)
100.0%
(2356)
Female 30.5%
(246)
36.5%
(294)
33.0%
(266)
100.0%
(806)
Total 29.2%
(924)
33.6%
(1062)
37.2%
(1176)
100.0%
(3162)

Two or more FTC convictions only
  Custody Probation Fine/CSO/Other Total
Male 51.0%
(380)
24.6%
(183)
24.4%
(182)
100.0%
(745)
Female 47.1%
(160)
35.3%
(120)
17.6%
(60)
100.0%
(340)
Total 49.8%
(540)
27.9%
(303)
22.3%
(242)
100.0%
(1085)

One FTC and one non-FTC conviction
  Custody Probation Fine/CSO/Other Total
Male 43.2%
(633)
42.3%
(620)
14.4%
(211)
100.0%
(1464)
Female 34.8%
(126)
53.3%
(193)
11.9%
(43)
100.0%
(362)
Total 41.6%
(759)
44.5%
(813)
13.9%
(254)
100.0%
(1826)

One FTC and two or more non-FTC convictions
  Custody Probation Fine/CSO/Other Total
Male 64.0%
(781)
31.2%
(381)
4.8%
(59)
100.0%
(1221)
Female 55.9%
(118)
38.4%
(81)
5.7%
(12)
100.0%
(211)
Total 62.8%
(899)
32.3%
(462)
5.0%
(71)
100.0%
(1432)

Two or more FTC and one or more non-FTC convictions
  Custody Probation Fine/CSO/Other Total
Male 72.9%
(1003)
22.3%
(307)
4.8%
(66)
100.0%
(1376)
Female 61.5%
(203)
33.9%
(112)
4.5%
(15)
100.0%
(330)
Total 70.7%
(1206)
24.6%
(419)
4.7%
(81)
100.0%
(1706)

Gender Differences

  • One FTC conviction only: Chi-square= 8.42, df=2, p<.05
  • Two or more FTC convictions only: Chi-square= 15.17, df=2, p<.001
  • One FTC and one non-FTC conviction: Chi-square=14.14, df=2, p<.001
  • One FTC and two or more non-FTC convictions: Chi-square=5.00, df=2, non-significant
  • Two or more FTC and one or more non-FTC convictions: Chi-square= 19.56, df=2, p<.001

Given that a failing to comply conviction is typically not a criminal offence, but rather is a violation of some sort of order (e.g. curfew, non-association order, etc), there appears to be a relatively liberal use of custody in these cases. As just highlighted, close to 30% of the cases with only one FTC conviction received a term of custody. Of those with two or more convictions of failing to comply with a sentence, half received a custodial sanction. In fact, cases with two convictions for FTC appeared to be treated somewhat more “harshly” (in terms of receiving a custodial sentence) than cases with one FTC conviction and one other type of conviction (e.g. violence, property or drugs) in the case.

Table 14 shows the type of sentence given by the type of conviction within the case. The more serious the type of conviction, the more severe the sentence was. For example, 70.7% of the cases that had a serious violence conviction ( attempt murder, robbery, sexual assault, assault 2/3) received custody compared to 52.9% of the cases that had a conviction for a minor assault (Table 14). However, across all cases with other types of convictions in addition to FTC, close to half always receive custody (from a low of 45.7% for drug offences to a high of 70.7% for serious violence).

Table 14: Most Serious Sentence Given by Most Serious Conviction in the Case
  Custody Probation Fine/CSO/other Total
Only FTC conviction(s) 34.5%
(1464)
32.1%
(1365)
33.4%
(1418)
100.0%
(4247)
Attempt murder, robbery, sexual assault, assault 2/3 70.7%
(394)
27.1%
(151)
2.2%
(12)
100.0%
(557)
Minor assault 52.9%
(292)
42.8%
(236)
4.3%
(24)
100.0%
(552)
Other violence (mainly threats) 58.3%
(151)
39.8%
(103)
1.9%
(5)
100.0%
(259)
Break and enter 67.5%
(443)
29.4%
(193)
3.0%
(20)
100.0%
(656)
Theft over/other thefts/other property 55.7%
(275)
39.5%
(195)
4.9%
(24)
100.0%
(494)
Theft under 47.3%
(258)
40.2%
(219)
12.5%
(68)
100.0%
(545)
Mischief/possession of stolen property 57.3%
(364)
34.2%
(217)
8.5%
(54)
100.0%
(635)
Administration of justice 57.9%
(371)
24.2%
(155)
17.9%
(115)
100.0%
(641)
Drugs 45.7%
(107)
40.2%
(94)
14.1%
(33)
100.0%
(234)
Other 53.5%
(209)
33.5%
(131)
13.0%
(51)
100.0%
(391)
Total 47.0%
(4328)
33.2%
(3059)
19.8%
(1824)
100.0%
(9211)

Chi-square= 1193.02, df=20, p<.001

Overall then, it appears that close to half of the sample (46%) only had failure to comply convictions within the case. The majority (74%) of those “FTC only” cases had one single conviction for failing to comply (Table 9). Of those with other types of convictions within the cases, the majority (47%) were property offences – distributed relatively evenly among break and enter, theft over, theft under and mischief (Table 10). Violence constituted the next largest proportion of cases (28%) and tended to have equal proportions of serious violence and minor assaults (Table 10). Custody appeared to be used often – with close to half of the sample receiving a custodial sentence. Cases with multiple FTC convictions and multiple non-FTC convictions were treated the “harshest” in terms of custody (Table 13). Interestingly however, cases with multiple FTC convictions were more likely to receive a custodial sentence than cases with one FTC conviction and one non-FTC conviction (Table 13). Judges may see cases with multiple FTC convictions as more serious than cases with two convictions, one for FTC and another for a different type of offence (e.g. violence, property, drugs).


  • [12] Since a case is characterized by a single charge, in cases with more than one charge it is necessary to determine the charge that will represent the case. In convicted cases with more than one conviction, CCJS uses the “most serious offence” rule, whereby all charges are ranked according to a seriousness scale based on the average length of prison sentence imposed on convicted charges between 1994/5 and 2000/1. If two charges have equal results according to this criterion, information about the sentence type (e.g. custody, probation, and fine) is considered. If the representative charge for the case still cannot be determined, the magnitude of the sentence is considered. CCJS then aggregates these UCR2 codes into a “Common Offence Classification Scheme” consisting of various pooled categories of violent, property, administration of justice, etc., offences.  

    For the purpose of this data set and determining the “most serious conviction ever”, however, only average sentence lengths were used. Thus, since “seriousness” was derived from the average prison sentence length over time, offences deemed “violent” under the “Common Offence Classification Scheme” were not always classified as the most serious conviction ever. This appeared to only affect four cases. Specifically, there were four cases where the most serious conviction ever was a property offence, yet there was a flag indicating that there were violent convictions in these youths' histories.
  • [13] Pulis, J. (2003). A critical analysis of probation for young offenders in Canada . Unpublished MA thesis, University of Guelph. Guelph, Ontario, Canada. (CCJS did not provide the data for this study – Pulis gathered the data herself)
  • [14] There were no gender differences found in the conviction of failing to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. In addition, it is important to note that in the cases with a criminal conviction, the majority were property offences (theft under $5000), followed by violence (almost exclusively minor assaults).
  • [15] Where two or more sanctions were given for a failure to comply conviction, the most serious sanction was chosen. This is the single most serious sentence given. “Seriousness is defined by its effect on the young person” (custody—probation—fine—other).

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