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

Chapter 9 - British Columbia (continued)

9.6 Sentence Length

Figure 9.6 and Table 9.5 describes the various sentence lengths being served by Aboriginal youth in the British Columbia Snapshot. One-fifth (20%) of youth were sentenced to custody for 50 to 99 days, while 15% were sentenced for 1 to 49 days and 14% for 150-199 days. More than one-half (52%) of the youth were sentenced for 1 to 199 days. Meanwhile, seven in ten (71%) of the youth were sentenced to 1 to 299 days. The median custody length in British Columbia was 191 days.

Data concerning sentence length must be interpreted with caution, as longer sentences are more likely to be captured in a one-day snapshot than are shorter ones; hence, the former may be over-represented in the results. Therefore, the sentence distribution in Figure 9.6 and Table 9.5 (and the median custody length) do not necessarily represent typical sentence lengths.

Figure 9.6 - Sentence Length Being Served on Snapshot Day

Figure 9.6 - Sentence Length Being Served on Snapshot Day
[Description]

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

A larger proportion of females than males was sentenced to custody for less than 99 days (47% versus 31%). In fact, 65% of the females were sentenced to 199 days or less, compared to 47% of the males.

Older youth tended to serve longer sentences in comparison to younger youth. For instance, 90% of those 18 years of age and older were serving a sentence for 200 days or more, compared to 49% of the 16-17 year olds, and 25% of the 14-15 year olds. However, revealing that older youth were serving longer sentences than younger youth was expected given that older youth - especially those 18 years of age and older - would need to be serving long sentences to be within a youth facility (see Table 9.5).

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