Conditional Sentences and the Perspectives of Crime Victims: A Socio-Legal Analysis
Queens Law Journal, Vol. 30, p. 560, 2005
41 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2008
Over the past decade there has been an expansion in the use of community-based alternatives to imprisonment in most Western nations. In Canada this has resulted in the use of more conditional sentences. While the benefits of this type of sentence are apparent from the perspective of state resources and offenders, little is known about their impact on victims. This article seeks to fill the void.
After analyzing developments in Canadian case law on conditional sentencing since R. v. Proulx, the authors present the results of a study of the perceptions of female victims of personal injury offences, Crown counsel, and victims' advocates. In particular, the authors examine the victims' reactions to conditional sentences generally; the extent of their knowledge of the sanctions imposed in their cases specifically; their satisfaction with attempts to obtain their input for sentencing submissions; and their views on the efficacy of specific conditions that are commonly imposed in the courts and on the efficacy of enforcement generally. The authors conclude with suggestions on how to improve the conditional sentencing process from the perspective of victims. They recommend that victims should be better informed of the content of the condition order, the reasons for sentence, any incidents of breach while the offender is carrying out the sentence, and its final outcome. They also recommend that judges be more willing to impose financial reparations as a condition of sentence.
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