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Conditional sentencing in Canada: a statistical profile


The 'conditional sentence' was enacted in September 1996 as a new sentencing option for adult offenders. Under this new sanction, an offender could be ordered a term of imprisonment of less than two years to be served within the community. During the 2001 to 2002 period, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics conducted a special study of conditional sentences in correctional services in order to examine the impact of this new sentence on the administration of sentencing in Canada and to explore its application through an examination of caseloads and case characteristics.

This report uses data from that special study, as well as the Adult Correctional Services survey, to profile conditional sentence caseloads and case characteristics (e.g., length of sentence, most serious offence, conditions ordered), and offender characteristics (e.g., age, sex, Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal), nationally, provincially and territorially for the period of 1997 to 2001. Data on conditional sentences are also compared with probation and custody trends in order to examine the impact of conditional sentencing on probation and incarceration. Additional information describing jurisdictional administrative policies and procedures governing conditional sentences is also provided. The correctional services data have been supplemented with court data on conditional sentences from three jurisdictions: Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and Alberta.

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