After being introduced in September 1996, conditional sentencing needs to be exercised in the community instead of a correctional facility. It usually dictates a certain time period of home arrest along with having some graduate restrictions, particularly the residence and curfew requirements, thus allowing the imprisoned person to attend school or work as needed.
A professional criminal lawyer Toronto used to discuss the fact that conditional sentencing is intended to control reliance over incarceration with the help of an alternative sentencing mechanism.The Criminal Code, in sections from 742 to 742.7, discusses the provisions to govern conditional sentences and explain the following five criteria that should always be considered by the judge:
- When a person is convicted for a crime, the minimum sentencing should be imprisonment.
- The sentencing judge should declare the terms of imprisonment for not more than two years.
- The sentencing judge should make sure that there would be no harm to the community when the sentence is being exercised.
- The judge must make sure that the conditional sentence is consistent with the principles of sentencing, in accordance with the Criminal Code’s sections 718 to 718.2.
- Fifth criterion states the objectives that:
- Condemnation of the unlawful conduct
- Restrict the offender from committing more offences
- Keep the offender separate from the community
- Send the offender for rehabilitation
- Adopt provisions of reparation for victims and the community
- Give sense of responsibility to the offender
Apart from this criteria, the Safe Streets and Communities Act also restricts the implementation of conditional sentences for certain types of criminal offences. So, the offences that usually lead to a sentence of 14 years or even life imprisonment are: aggravated assault, fraud over $5,000, manslaughter and arson. While on the other hand, there are also some offences thatdeclare an imprisonment of maximum 10 years. Some of them are listed below:
- Trafficking, production and import/export of drugs
- Use of weapons
- Bodily harm
As for the offences prosecuted by indictment, an expert criminal lawyer Toronto used to mention the following list:
- Trafficking in people
- Prison breach
- Abduction of people under 14
- Sexual assault
- Criminal harassment
- Theft over $5,000
- Arson for fraudulent purpose
- Unlawfully involved in a dwelling-home
- Entering and breaking a place other than the dwelling home
- Motor vehicle theft
In conclusion¸ it can be said that conditional sentencing was originally intended to increase the restorative justice principles and reduce reliance on incarceration. They even emphasized over the fact that most of the rehabilitation programs should be exercised in the community rather than to keep the offender in custody. However, the recent amendments have made it clear that there would come a time when criminal justice policy would emphasize over being smart instead of adopting tough ideas to overcome criminal rate.