Before you are sentenced, the court can ask for a pre-sentence report it can use when deciding what sentence to give you. A pre-sentence report is a written document that provides information about you and your case. In some situations, if a pre-sentence report cannot be provided in writing, it may be given by the probation officer speaking to the judge in court.
Information That May be Included in a Pre-Sentence Report
A pre-sentence report may include the results of an interview with you, and, if appropriate, your parents and extended family. It may include the results of interviews with the victim. The report may also contain any information related to the case, such as information about:
- Your age, maturity, character
- Attitude, behaviour and willingness to make up for the harm done
- Your plans about how you will change your behaviour so you can become a law-abiding member of the community
- Whether you have any previous history of criminal activity (for example, previous sentences or extrajudicial sanctions)
- The availability and appropriateness of community services, such as counselling, as well as your willingness to participate
- Your relationship with your parents, including the amount of control and influence your parents or extended family have over you
- Whether you attend school regularly and how well you perform in school
- If you have a job and, if so, how well you perform at work
Finally, the court will consider any other information that may help it decide whether there are alternatives to custody.
Medical and Psychological Reports
The court might order a medical, psychological or psychiatric report to help decide on an appropriate sentence. The court can order one of these reports when you and Crown counsel agree to have one done or when the court has “reasonable grounds” to believe you may be suffering from some form of disorder or problem and a report is necessary to help the court make a better decision.
Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services in the Ministry of Children and Family Development prepare these reports. Usually, the report is done while you are living in the community, although sometimes they are completed when you have been ordered into custody. If a report is prepared about you, you and your parents are entitled to a copy of it.
See Deciding on a Sentence (How the Criminal Justice System Works) for more information about pre-sentence reports.