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

Chapter 8 - Alberta (continued)

8.4 Most Serious Offence

Figure 8.2 and Table 8.2 describes the most serious offences (MSO) attributed to Aboriginal youth on Snapshot day. In Alberta, the largest proportion of Aboriginal youth in open or secure custody was found guilty of a property offence (50%), followed by offences against the person (39%), and other Criminal Code offences and Federal and Provincial Statutes (5% each) (see Table 8.2).

Figure 8.2 Most Serious Offence - Open and Secure Custody

Figure 8.2 - Most Serious Offence - Open and Secure Custody
[Description of Figure 8.2]

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, 45% were convicted for robbery, while 34% were convicted for other violent offences. Of those with a property-related MSO, the largest proportion committed break and enter (49%), while 38% committed theft (see table 8.3). [1]

Table 8.4 reports on the relationship between most serious offence type and age. Older youth were more likely than younger youth to have been found guilty of a crime against the person. More than one-half (54%) of those 18 years of age or older had an MSO for a crime against the person, compared to 33% of the 17-18 year olds, and 44% of the 14-15 year olds. Meanwhile, a varied pattern emerges with respect to age and property-related offences. For instance, 57% of the 14-15 years olds had a property-related MSO, compared to 39% of those 18 years of age and older, and 33% of those between 14-15 years of age. Determining 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 8.3 describes the distribution of MSO for those serving an open and secure sentence. Contrary to the national picture, a larger proportion of those serving an open sentence than those serving a secure sentence had a crime against the person MSO (45% versus 39%, respectively). Meanwhile, a larger proportion of those in open than closed custody had a property-related MSO (53% versus 48%, respectively).

Figure 8.3 Most Serious Offence - Open or Secure Custody

Figure 8.3 - Most Serious Offence - Open or Secure Custody
[Description of Figure 8.3]

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


[1] Due to insufficient numbers, an analysis of gender and MSO was not completed.

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