Community Legal Information Association of Prince Edward Island (CLIA PEI) - Legal Information for Youth


Crime and Justice


Crime and Justice

If a young person pleads guilty or is found guilty in youth court, the judge will sentence that young person. An example is a young person who spray paints words on City Hall. He or she may be ordered to clean up the paint and do other community service work.

Before the judge makes his or her decision, any victim may read a Victim Impact Statement. The victim has the chance to tell the court how the crime affected him or her.

Before making a decision, the judge may also:

  • ask if the young person or the young person's parents or guardians have anything to say before sentencing;
  • ask a group of people involved in the young person's life to meet to give the judge advice about sentencing and about ways to help the young person get back into the community in a safe and healthy way;
  • ask for a pre-sentence report to be completed by a youth justice worker. This is a report that talks about the young person and his or her situation.

The judge has several choices when it comes to sentencing. The judge must choose the least serious penalty that can still hold the young person accountable for the crime. Some of the possible sentences are:

  • a lecture in court;
  • a fine that is no more than $1,000;
  • community service (doing work that will benefit the community, such as cleaning up a park or helping a non-profit organization);
  • probation (the young person must be supervised by and report to a youth justice worker with conditions for up to two years);
  • custody (time spent in a youth correctional facility).

If the young person does not comply with the judge's sentence, there will be legal consequences.

Sometimes a young person can be given an adult sentence. This means the consequences for the crime are taken from the Criminal Code of Canada instead of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. This can only happen to young people who are over the age of 14 and who have committed a crime for which an adult could be sent to jail for more than two years. Typically, adult sentences are imposed only for the most serious crimes committed by young persons.