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  • In 2008/2009, youth courts in Canada processed 58,379 cases, involving 191,054 charges. Although similar to the overall caseload from the year before, the number of cases was 23% lower than that in 2002/2003, the year prior to the enactment of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). The largest decreases occurred within the first two years of the YCJA. Since 2004/2005, the youth court caseload has remained relatively stable.

  • Youth court cases are taking longer to process. In 2008/2009, the median elapsed time from first to last court appearance was 119 days, over a month longer than the median elapsed time of 81 days in 2002/2003.

  • Cases with a finding or plea of guilt accounted for 59% of cases disposed of in youth courts in 2008/2009. The proportion of guilty findings varied by offence, with the highest being 90% for cases where the youth was accused of being unlawfully at large.

  • Fewer youth court cases received a custodial sentence in 2008/2009 with 5,307 or approximately 15% of all guilty cases resulting in a sentence of custody compared to 13,237 or 27% of all guilty cases in 2002/2003.

  • In 2008/2009, nearly half of the cases with custody and supervision had terms of 1 month or less (48%).1

  • Probation continues to be the most frequently ordered sentence for youth, with 20,747 or 60% of guilty youth cases receiving this sentence in 2008/2009. However, this proportion is 10 percentage points lower than in 2002/2003, the year prior to the enactment of the YCJA

  1. In this report, the sentence length referred to represents both the custodial and supervision portions of the custody and supervision order.
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