A One-Day Snapshot of Aboriginal Youth in Custody Across Canada

Chapter 7 - Saskatchewan (continued)

7.4 Most Serious Offence

Figure 7.3 and Table 7.2 describes the most serious offences (MSO) attributed to Aboriginal youth on Snapshot day. In Saskatchewan , the largest proportion of Aboriginal youth in open or secure custody was found guilty of a property offence (52%), followed by offences against the person (33%), and other Criminal Code offences (13%) (see Table 7.2).

Figure 7.3 Most Serious Offence - Open and Secure Custody

Figure 7.3 - Most Serious Offence - Open and Secure Custody
[Description of Figure 7.3]

Source: One-Day Snapshot of Aboriginal Youth in Custody (2001).
Prepared by: Research and Statistics Division, Department of Justice Canada .

Of those found guilty of an offence against the person, 35% were convicted for robbery, while 29% were convicted for assault with a weapon/causing bodily harm, and 15% for assault. Of those with a property-related MSO, the largest proportion committed break and enter (56%), while 28% committed theft (see Table 7.3).

A larger proportion of male than female Aboriginal youth was convicted for a property-related offence (56% versus 30%). Meanwhile, a larger proportion of female than male Aboriginal youth was convicted for an offence against the person (48% versus 30%) (see Table 7.2).

Although a larger proportion of females than males was convicted of a crime against the person, the data suggests that males committed offences that were more serious. For instance, males were most likely to be guilty of robbery, while females were most likely to have committed an assault. Of the males guilty of a crime against the person, the largest proportion was convicted for robbery (38%), followed by assault with a weapon/causing bodily harm (24%) (see Appendix A for more information on the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics' Seriousness Index). In comparison, 54% of the females convicted for a crime against the person were guilty of assault with a weapon/causing bodily harm (see Table 7.3). However, due to small cell sizes, these results must be interpreted with caution.

Table 7.4 reports on the relationship between most serious offence type and age. Older youth tended to have been found guilty of a crime against the person, while younger youth tended to have a property-related MSO. Almost one-half (48%) of those 18 years of age or older had an MSO for a crime against the person, compared to 35% of the 16-17 year olds, and 25% of the 14-15 year olds. Meanwhile, more than three-fifths (62%) of those between 12-13 years of age had an MSO for a property-related offence, compared to 63% of the 14-15 year olds, 47% of the 16-17 year olds, and 41% of those 18 years of age and older. However, finding that older youth were most likely to be guilty of a crime against the person is not surprising, given that these offences typically receive longer sentences, therefore explaining why those 18 years of age and older are still in a youth facility.

Figure 7.4 describes the distribution of MSO for those serving an open and secure sentence. A slightly larger proportion of those serving a secure sentence than those serving an open sentence had a crime against the person MSO (34% versus 31%, respectively). Meanwhile, a larger proportion of those in open than closed custody had a property-related MSO (56% versus 49%, respectively).

Figure 7.4 Most Serious Offence - Open or Secure Custody

Figure 7.4 - Most Serious Offence - Open or Secure Custody
[Description of Figure 7.4]

Source: One-Day Snapshot of Aboriginal Youth in Custody (2001).
Prepared by: Research and Statistics Division, Department of Justice Canada .

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