A Review of the Principles and Purposes of Sentencing in Sections 718-718.21 of the Criminal Code

B. Introduction and Overview

An analysis of the reforms, if any, that ought to be made to the current statement of the purposes and principles of sentencing in the Criminal Code should first address a few preliminary but fundamental questions:

  1. (1) Do we need such a Statement, i.e. does such a Statement fulfill any valuable purposes?
  2. (2) If such a Statement is of value, what should be its nature and form?

After making brief comments on these preliminary questions, I will describe the genesis and content of the current Statement, analyze the necessity of the amendments which have been made to the Statement mostly in the past 10 years, and then examine some problematic aspects of the current Statement and recommend reforms to it. Finally, I will argue that regardless of whatever reforms are made to the Statement, a revised statement of purposes and principles will never be sufficient on its own to solve the serious sentencing problems that currently exist.

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