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

Chapter 9 - British Columbia (continued)

9.4 Most Serious Offence

Figure 9.3 and Table 9.2 describes the most serious offences (MSO) attributed to Aboriginal youth on Snapshot day. In British Columbia , the largest proportion of Aboriginal youth in open or secure custody was found guilty of an offence against the person (45%), followed by property offences (36%), and other Criminal Code offences (10%) (see Table 9.2).

Figure 9.3 Most Serious Offence - Open and Secure Custody

Figure 9.3 - Most Serious Offence - Open and Secure Custody
[Description of Figure 9.3]

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, 30% were convicted for assault, while 27% for robbery and 13% for assault with a weapon/causing bodily harm. Of those with a property-related MSO, the largest proportion committed break and enter (58%) (see Table 9.3).

A larger proportion of male than female Aboriginal youth was convicted for a property-related offence (42% versus 18%). Meanwhile, a larger proportion of female than male Aboriginal youth was convicted for an offence against the person (59% versus 40%) (see table 9.2). However, due to small numbers, differences between gender must be interpreted with caution.

Although a larger proportion of females than males was convicted for a crime against the person, the data suggests that males committed offences that were more serious. For instance, of the males guilty of a crime against the person, the largest proportion was convicted for assault (25%), followed by robbery (20%) and murder (15%). In comparison, 40% (each) of the females convicted for a crime against the person were guilty of robbery and assault (see table 9.3). Again, however, due to small numbers, these differences must be interpreted with caution.

Table 9.4 reports on the relationship between most serious offence type and age. Older youth were more likely than younger youth to be guilty of a crime against the person and a property offence. Fifty-five percent of those 18 years of age or older had an MSO for a crime against the person, compared to 40% of the 16-17 year olds, and 50% of those between 14-15 years of age. Meanwhile, 45% of those 18 years of age and older had an MSO for a property-related offence, compared to 40% of the 16-17 year olds, and 20% of the 14-15 year olds. 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. Further, due to small number, these differences must be interpreted with caution.

Figure 9.4 describes the distribution of MSO for those serving an open and secure sentence. A larger proportion of those serving a secure sentence than those serving an open sentence had a crime against the person MSO (54% versus 40%, respectively). Meanwhile, a larger proportion of those in open than closed custody had a property-related MSO (44% versus 21%, respectively).

Figure 9.4 Most Serious Offence - Open or Secure Custody

Figure 9.4 - Most Serious Offence - Open or Secure Custody
[Description of Figure 9.4]

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

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