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Sentences For Young Offenders

When a young person pleads guilty or is found guilty at a trial, before sentencing, the judge will usually receive a pre-sentence report that includes the young person’s personal history and actions since the crime occurred.

As well, the report will often include an interview with the victim. The judge may also consider a Victim Impact Statement.

Purpose of Sentencing for Youth

The purpose of sentencing for youth is to hold the young person accountable through sanctions that:

  • Have meaningful consequences
  • Promote his or her rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

Sentencing Factors

The factors to be considered when deciding the sentence include:

  • How much the young person participated in the offence
  • The harm done to victims and whether it was intentional or foreseeable
  • Any reparation made by the young person to the victim or community
  • Time already spent in detention as a result of the offence
  • Previous findings of guilt of the young person
  • Other circumstances related to the young person or the offence.


The judge may order the young person to participate in a conference (usually with the victim and supporters and the community) who will then recommend an appropriate sentence. Otherwise, some sanctions available to the judge are:

  • The young person is ordered to pay the victim compensation for loss of or damage to property, for loss of income or support, or for personal injuries arising from the crime
  • The young person is ordered to make restitution to the victim; returning property that was stolen, fixing something that was broken and/or providing personal or community service
  • A fine of up to $1000
  • Any other appropriate conditions.

Did You know?
In BC, under the Parental Responsibility Act, a young person’s parents or guardians can be held liable for loss of or damage to property caused by their child. A victim can sue the parents or guardians of the child in Small Claims Court.

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