Pre-Trial Detention Under the Young Offenders Act: A Study of Urban Courts

6. Multiple Detention Stays (cont'd)

6. Multiple Detention Stays (cont'd)

6.3 Detention Stays in Halifax and Toronto

Most second and third detention stays were the result of a bench warrant whereas fewer than 20 percent of the first stay involved a warrant (the first panel in Table 6.4). The larger the number of detention stays the greater the likelihood that the young person was detained by the youth court (Table 6.4). In both Halifax and Toronto, the likelihood of the youth being charged with a new substantive offence increased between the second and third (or more) police detention. There was a corresponding decrease in the incidence of failure to attend court between the second and third stays. In Toronto, there was a considerable increase in charges involving non-compliance with bail. There was no difference in the average number of days detained across the detention stays.

Table 6.4

Presumably, because in most cases the stays were caused by offences against the administration of justice, the use of non-communication conditions decreased as the number of stays increased (Table 6.5). This was also true of area restrictions in Toronto. The use of house arrest rose precipitously in Toronto between stays one and three, likely because the patience of the court was exhausted.

Table 6.5

6.4 Summary

Earlier sections of this report described the main features of the pre-trial detention experiences of the young persons who were detained by police at their arrest - that is, at the time of their instant charges, the charges that brought the youth into the sample. This Section first looks at all stays in detention throughout the court process. The second part of the Section determines whether the form and conditions of police and court release were related to later periods in detention. If there are no relationships we may be able to assume that the form/conditions of release did not affect bail violations. In the third section, additional details of subsequent post-arrest detention in Halifax, Scarborough and downtown Toronto, where more detention-related information was collected.

With the exception of one court, more than one-half of the samples were detained one or more times if post-arrest detention stays are taken into consideration. Only 38 percent of the overall sample had no period in pre-trial detention. The more stays in detention is related to a longer court process likely because of the longer the period that the young person is "at risk" of being detained. About 70 percent of the police detentions after the youth’s initial arrest resulted from an offence against the administration of justice (FTA, FTC and probation breaches). Almost one-quarter occurred because the youth had allegedly committed a new substantive offence.

The form of release by police had no relationship to the number of detention stays; the conditions of police undertakings were also unrelated. The type of court release was, however, associated with subsequent periods in detention - young persons released to a "responsible person" were more likely to return to detention than others. The main finding of the analysis of conditions of court release was that youth with a curfew were much more likely to have multiple detention stays than were those without a curfew. We conclude that curfew violations precipitate subsequent stays in detention.

In the Halifax-Dartmouth and the Toronto courts, being detained by the court increased the likelihood that the youth would be held by the court until his or her case was over. By the second and third stays, bench warrants were more likely to precipitate the police detention. The number of days detained did not differ by the number of detention periods. Because multiple detention stays were usually caused by offences against the administration of justice, the pattern of bail conditions changed - there were, for example, fewer "non-communication" conditions than there were at the first detention.

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