Understanding Cases of Failure to Comply with A Disposition

Section II: Longitudinal Youth Court Data

Part 4: Time to Failure

There were 6,296 cases (68% of the sample) that received a probation sentence as all or part of the sentence imposed on the most serious offence in the case prior to the current FTC charge [19]. Roughly 14% (N=879) of the cases had a probation sentence for 6 months or less. Another 58% (N=3,650) had a probation sentence of six months and one day to one year. The rest 28% (N=1,767) received a sentence of over one year and one day. While direct comparisons cannot be made, one can look at the distribution of all probation sentences imposed to get a general idea about what types of sentences may be more likely to fail.

In published Juristats, one can obtain the number of probation sentences given that ranged from up to six months; six months and one day to one year; and one year and one day or more. Averaging across 2001-2[20] and 2002-3 [21], it appears that were roughly 6,073 probation sentences of up to six months; 19,967 from six months one day to one year; and 8,510 probation sentences over one year. One can then look at the proportion of sentences within each length that failed in this sample and compare that to the number of probation sentences given overall. When one does this comparison, it looks as if a larger number of the longer sentences are failing. For example, an average of 6,073 probation sentences of up to six months were given between 2001/2 and 2002/3 and in this sample only 879 cases had a sentence of up to six months. This works out to roughly 14% of the probation sentences failing. When looking at the longest sentences, an average of 8,510 sentences of over one year were given and in this sample 1,767 cases had a sentence of over one year. This works out to roughly 21% of the longest sentences failing. Again, however, one should not use these numbers as exact indications of the proportion of failed sentences. One should not compare data from the Justistats since that publication looks at all probation sentences and this sample of probation lengths only involved probation as the most serious sentence for the most serious and most recent conviction before the current FTC conviction. However, this does suggest that it may be the longer sentences that are more likely to fail, though further work would need to be done in order to confirm this.


  • [19] This number differs slightly from Table 18 which shows that 4,895 cases (53% of the sample) received a probation sentence. This difference is due to the fact that Table 18 shows the single most serious sentence whereas here the focus is on probation, regardless of whether or not it was deemed the “most serious” sentence in the case. Thus, there are an additional 1,401 cases that had probation in addition to custody.
  • [20] For 2001/2: Thomas, J, (2003). Youth Court Statistics, 2001/2. Juristat, 23(3), 1-18. On page 6: “Of the 34,083 cases resulting in a term of probation, 18% were for a period of 6 months or less, 57% ranged from greater than 6 months and up to 12 months, and 24% were for more than 12 months”. That works out to 6,135 cases getting 6 months, 19,427 getting from 6 to 12 months and 8,180 getting more than one year.
  • [21]For 2002/3: Robinson, P. (2004). Youth Court Statistics, 2002/3. Juristat, 24(2), 1-20. On page 7: “Seventeen percent of cases with a probation sentence were for a period of 6 months or less, 58% ranged from greater than 6 months to 12 months, and 25% were for more than 12 months”. The number of probation sentences (N=35,356) can be obtained from Table 4 (page 13) and thus it works out to 6,011 cases getting 6 months, 20,507 getting from 6 to 12 months and 8,839 getting more than one year.

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