Custody

The most severe sentence that can be imposed by a youth justice court under the YCJA is to place a youth in “custody,” which requires that the youth reside in a facility. Youth custody facilities must not have any adult offenders confined with youths. Under section 85 of the YCJA, provinces must designate the level of youth custody facilities: “open” or “secure.” The youth justice court judge determines the level of custody, while the provincial director determines the specific facility that a youth will be placed in and may move the youth from one facility to another within the designated level. There is significant variation in the size and nature of custody facilities both between and within jurisdictions. Youth custody facilities range from large institutions to small treatment-oriented group homes.

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