Youth Sentences

Last updated on June 9, 2021

When you are charged with a crime and plead guilty or are found guilty, you will face consequences. The consequences are based on a variety of factors. This is called a youth sentence.

The youth court will give you a sentence that is fair and has meaningful consequences for the crime you committed. The sentence is meant to hold you responsible for your actions and promote your rehabilitation and re-integration back into society, so you can become a law-abiding member of the community.

Determining the Sentence

The sentence is decided by the judge, who chooses from a range of sentencing options set out in the Youth Criminal Justice Act. These options help address the circumstances of your offending behaviour. They encourage rehabilitation and your return to society. Custodial sentences (sentences served in custody) are used only when all other options are inappropriate.

To determine what type of sentence to give you, the judge may:

  • Accept recommendations or comments about the type of sentence that might be appropriate from Crown counsel, your lawyer, your parents, youth probation officer or you
  • Request a pre-sentence report that gives the judge a better understanding of your situation and provides  information to assist the court with deciding what sentence you will get
  • Request a medical or psychological assessment to find out if you have a physical or mental illness or disorder, a psychological disorder or emotional disturbance, learning disability or mental disability
  • Order a conference to get advice about the best way to make you responsible for committing the crime

In deciding what sentence to give you, the judge considers factors such as:

  • Your involvement in committing the crime
  • The amount of harm the victim suffered and whether it was intentional
  • If this is your first criminal offence or whether you have been found guilty of other crimes
  • Have you apologized or will you apologize to the victim, as well as  pay back the victim for property loss or damage
  • Will you make amends with the community by, for example, helping repair the damage that was done; and
  • Your personal circumstances related to your behaviour (such as things that may have caused or led you to carry out the crimes)

Adult Sentences

See Understanding Your Sentence (Adult Offenders) for information about adult sentences.

Law Lessons

Visit the Justice Education Society's Law Lessons website for law curriculum resources for teachers.