Drug Use and Offending
Q13. What kinds of sentence lengths/fines are given to adult offenders for drug offences?
In 2000/2001, prison sentences were generally shorter than the probation sentences.
Three-quarters of adults sentenced to prison received a sentence of less than 6 months while 22% of adults sentenced to a probation term were ordered to report to a probation officer for a period between 12 and 24 months.
Prison sentences are shorter for drug possession
Eight-in-ten adults sentenced to a prison term for a possession offence received a sentence of less than 6 months and less than 1% were sentenced to more than 12 months. Two-thirds (66%) of adults charged with drug trafficking received a sentence of less than 6 months while 17% received a sentence of more than 24 months. The median prison sentence for adults convicted of drug trafficking was five times higher than the median sentence for adults convicted of drug possession (87 days versus 19 days respectively) (see Appendix B, Table 17 for more information).
Average fine for drug possession was $300
Two-thirds (66%) of all drug offenders sentenced to a fine were to pay less than $300. The median fine was higher for individuals found guilty of trafficking ($548) compared to those found guilty of drug possession ($179).
Drug offenders are on probation for at least one year
The majority (70%) of individuals were given a probation sentence from 6 to 24 months. However, a higher proportion of individuals found guilty of drug trafficking were sentenced to more than 12 months of probation compared to those found guilty of drug possession (33% versus 14% respectively) (see Appendix B, Table 18 for more information).
Adult Criminal Courts Survey 2000/2001, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.
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