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

Chapter 6 - Manitoba (continued)

6.6 Sentence Length

Figure 6.5 and table 6.5 describes the various sentence lengths being served by Aboriginal youth included in the snapshot. Twenty-two percent of youth were sentenced to custody for 150 to 199, while 16% were sentenced for 300 to 399 days, and 12% were sentenced to 50-99 days. More than two-fifths (45%) of the youth were sentenced for 1 to 199 days. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds (63%) of the youth were sentenced to 1 to 299 days. The median custody length was 244 days.

Figure 6.5 Sentence Length Being Served on Snapshot Day

Figure 6.5 - Sentence Length Being Served on Snapshot Day

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

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 6.5 and Table 6.5 (and the median custody length) do not necessarily represent typical sentence lengths.

With respect to sentence length and gender, there was some evidence to suggest that males were slightly more likely than females to serve longer sentences. A slightly larger proportion of females than males was sentenced to custody for less than 99 days (19% versus 13%). However, similar proportions of males and females were sentenced to 199 days or less (44% and 46%, respectively). Finally, 38% of the males and 31% of the females were sentenced to 300 days or more.

Older youth tended to serve longer sentences in comparison to younger youth. For instance, 68% of those 18 years of age and older were serving a sentence for 200 days or more, compared to 52% of the 16-17 year olds and 41% of the 14-15 year olds. Meanwhile, 37% of the 14-15 year olds were serving a sentence of 149 days or less, compared to 21% of the 15-16 year olds and 19% of those 18 years of age and older. However, revealing that older youth were serving longer sentences than younger youth was expected given that older youth were most likely to have an MSO or MSC for a crime against the person - offences that typically receive longer sentences. It also helps explain why someone over the age of 18 is still within a youth facility (see Table 6.5).

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