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Does age play a role in Youth Court Sentencing?

Even 12 year old can get a criminal record under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, but sentencing for them won't be as tough as it is for 15 year olds. Retain a lawyer to help you.

Generally speaking, a 12 year old will receive a lighter sentence than a 17 year old. Our Youth Courts take very different positions on sentencing depending on the age of the offender. Although punishment must always vary in accordance with the crime, Courts attach lesser responsibility to younger offenders. A 12 or 13 year old who commits a serious crime is much less likely to go to jail than a 15 year old who commiots the same crime.


Unfortunately there is very little research on what sentences are imposed by Ontario Youth Courts in ordinary cases. Although high profile cases and cases about complex legal issues get reported in the law books and in the media, very little serious research has been done about what actually happens on sentencing in ordinary cases.


This office initiated extensive research for a ten year period in the 1980's and 1990's to study almost all sentencing dispositions made by the age 12 to 15 Youth Court at Brampton Family Court. With the co-operation of the Family Court Judges and the local probation office re gathered thousands of sentencing cases and placed them into a research database. Many steps were taken to ensure that all identifying information was stripped from the data. Should you accidentally find anything in the data that could possibly be used to identify an individual please notify this office immediately so that we can take steps to purge anything that could prejudice any individual or family.


Excerpts from Age 13 v. Age 15 Research under the YOA at Brampton:


Sentences Imposed on Young Offenders

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