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Reader's Note: This publication presents results of an online public opinion survey completed by a sample of Canadians who received an invitation through email, Facebook and Twitter (called "open link" sample; see method for more details). This survey mirrored a survey conducted with a representative sample of Canadians, the results of which are available at Research on Justice issues.
In general, respondents were not supportive of the current MMP regime and preferred a more individualized approach to sentencing. Compared to the representative sample of Canadians, respondents to the open link survey were more knowledgeable of MMPs, more supportive of full discretion for judges in sentencing, and less supportive of MMPs.
Young people believed it is very important to measure the performance of the criminal justice system (CJS). They indicated that they wanted to know if the CJS effectively deters crime and keeps Canadians safe, treats people fairly and equitably, and holds offenders accountable for their actions.
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).
Readers Note: This publication presents results of an online public opinion survey completed by a sample of Canadians who received an invitation through email, Facebook and Twitter (called an "open link" sample; see Method for more details). This survey mirrored a survey conducted with a representative sample of Canadians, the results of which are available at Research on Justice Issues
Most respondents believe that diversion of accused people from the courts, should be the preferred response in some types of offences/situations. They also believe that increased use of diversion could make the criminal justice system (CJS) more efficient and effective. The majority of respondents believe that judges should have at least some degree of discretion and flexibility when deciding a sentence.
Young people are highly aware of the relationship between mental health, addiction, and crime. Youth agree that the Criminal Justice System (CJS) must take a more active role to address mental health issues through programming and services both within and connected to the CJS.
Government Responses and Standing Committee Reports discuss reports tabled concerning justice-related issues. These responses are meant to provide greater insight into government decisions and the background that lead to these decisions. Topics covered by these reports, dating back to 1998 include Corporate Liability, Mental Health in the Criminal Code, the appointment of Supreme Court Judges; Judicial Compensation among topics. The reports are structured to describe the background that led to the report, the response of the Government to the recommendations made and the recommendations themselves.
Restorative Justice (RJ) is an approach to justice that focuses on addressing the harm caused by crime while holding the offender responsible for his or her actions, by providing an opportunity for those directly affected by crime – victims, offenders and communities – to identify and address their needs in the aftermath of a crime. RJ is intended to support healing, reintegration, the prevention of future harm, and reparation, if possible.
RJ processes provide opportunities for victims, offenders, and communities affected by a crime to communicate about the causes, circumstances, and impact of that crime, and to address their related needs. These processes are guided by skilled RJ facilitators and can take different forms depending on the community, program, case, participants, or circumstances.