Dangerous and Long-Term Offenders

AuthorMihael Cole
Dangerous and Long-Term Ofenders
Mihael Cole*
Few oenders represent a signicant threat to public safety. is reality
is reected in the fact that most sentences are non-custodial, and when
custody is imposed, it is usually for a relatively brief period (see Chap-
ter ). A small percentage of oenders, however, have been convicted of
serious oences, often have long criminal records, and do represent a
clear danger for future violence, including sexual violence. Custody in
such cases is inevitable, mainly to protect the public from the substan-
tial risk of harm the oender poses to society. Yet even with the ability
to sentence oenders to lengthy custodial sentences, there is a subset
of high-risk oenders whose eventual release continues to place the
safety of the community in jeopardy. To combat this risk, Canada has
devised two exceptional sentencing provisions to respond to the need
to protect society: the Dangerous Oender and Long-Term Oender
* The opinions ref‌lected in this chapter are those of the author and do not necessarily
ref‌lect those of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.
292 |   
A dangerous oender (DO) designation with an indeterminate sen-
tence is the ultimate sanction in the Criminal Code. It allows a court to
sentence high-risk oenders, who meet the legal and statutory criteria,
to indeterminate periods of custody. ese oenders are eligible for
release only when they can demonstrate to the Parole Board of Canada
that the substantial risk they pose can be managed in the community.
Long-term oender (LTO) designations are the sister provision to
the DO regime. ese designations are a form of conditional release for
oenders who are one step away from being sentenced to an indeter-
minate period of imprisonment. ey allow for a determinate sen-
tence to be imposed with a heightened form of strict supervision in the
community for a period of up to ten years.
Both provisions are designed to provide an extra level of protection
to the public from oenders who pose a real threat of future violence
and sexual violence. Indeed, the “overriding aim is not the punish-
ment of the oender but the prevention of future violence.” Due to
the exceptional nature of these restrictive sentences, DO and LTO
designations have historically been reserved for a “very small group
of recalcitrant oenders” whose personal characteristics and particu-
lar circumstances favour preventive incarceration. However, since the
amendments made to this part of the Criminal Code in , Parlia-
ment has clearly intended to capture a broader group of oenders than
under previous regimes.
is chapter outlines the history behind the dangerous oender
legislation, describes the essential components of the current legis-
lation, and highlights some of the emerging issues and decisions in the
DO and LTO common law.
RSC , c C- [Criminal Code].
R v Payne, [] OJ  (SCJ) at para .
R v Jones, []  SCR  at para  [Jones].
R v Lyons, []  SCR  at para  [Lyo ns]; R v Szostak,  ONCA  at para .
R v Boutilier,  SCC  at para  [Boutilier SCC]; ibid at para .

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