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Research at a Glance: Discretion in Sentencing The majority of Canadians believe that judges should have at least some degree of discretion and flexibility when deciding a sentence. What we also found: The overwhelming majority of Canadians (95%) felt that the best approach for determining fair and appropriate sentences for offenders involves giving judges at least some degree of discretion. Seven in ten (71%) Canadians thought the best way was to give judges some sort of guideline or range of sentences to choose from, with the option of going outside those ranges if they deem it necessary. About one-quarter (24%) of Canadians believed that the best way to determine a fair and appropriate sentence was to give judges full discretion (deciding on the sentence after looking at how the offence happened, why the offender did it and what sentences were given in other similar cases). Only 4% thought that there should be no judicial discretion for sentencing (give everyone who commits the same offence the same sentence). The top goal for the criminal justice system (CJS), according to Canadians, is to treat everyone fairly by taking into account her/his individual circumstances (40% of respondents chose this as one of their top three goals for the CJS). 2018-11-22 Department of Justice Canada open_Government@justice.gc.ca LawPersonsProcessesSociety and CultureJustice systemResearchConsultationsLegal issuesJudgesCriminal justice system Discretion in SentencingHTML https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/rg-rco/2018/mar04.html Discretion in SentencingPDF https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/rg-rco/2018/mar04.pdf Discretion in SentencingHTML https://www.justice.gc.ca/fra/pr-rp/jr/rco-rg/2018/mar04.html Discretion in SentencingPDF https://www.justice.gc.ca/fra/pr-rp/jr/rco-rg/2018/mar04.pdf

Research at a Glance: Discretion in Sentencing

The majority of Canadians believe that judges should have at least some degree of discretion and flexibility when deciding a sentence.

What we also found:

The overwhelming majority of Canadians (95%) felt that the best approach for determining fair and appropriate sentences for offenders involves giving judges at least some degree of discretion. Seven in ten (71%) Canadians thought the best way was to give judges some sort of guideline or range of sentences to choose from, with the option of going outside those ranges if they deem it necessary. About one-quarter (24%) of Canadians believed that the best way to determine a fair and appropriate sentence was to give judges full discretion (deciding on the sentence after looking at how the offence happened, why the offender did it and what sentences were given in other similar cases). Only 4% thought that there should be no judicial discretion for sentencing (give everyone who commits the same offence the same sentence).

The top goal for the criminal justice system (CJS), according to Canadians, is to treat everyone fairly by taking into account her/his individual circumstances (40% of respondents chose this as one of their top three goals for the CJS).

  • Publisher - Current Organization Name: Department of Justice Canada
  • Publisher - Organization Name at Publication: Department of Justice
  • Licence: Open Government Licence - Canada

Resources

Resource Name Resource Type Format Language Links
Discretion in Sentencing Publication HTML English Access
Discretion in Sentencing Publication PDF English Access
Discretion in Sentencing Publication HTML French Access
Discretion in Sentencing Publication PDF French Access
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