Deterrence

A sanction imposed upon an accused by the court designed to reduce the probability of reoffending.

This principle of sentencing is based on the idea that punishing offenders should cause a reduction in future offending because of a desire to avoid punishment. “Specific deterrence” is concerned with punishment to inhibit reoffending by the person being sentenced; “general deterrence” uses the punishment of one offender as a warning to other potential offenders of the consequences of offending. Under the Criminal Code, section 718(b), courts may consider both specific and general deterrence in sentencing an adult. The 2012 YCJA amendments allow a youth court to consider specific deterrence when sentencing a youth, but not general deterrence.

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