Source: (2002) Alberta Law Review. 39: 788.

The issue of conditional sentencing in relation to mentally disordered offenders was recently addressed by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Knoblauch. Conditional sentencing is a comparatively new option or alternative in sanctioning, the purpose of which is to divert less serious offenders from provincial jails to serve their terms of custody in the community. The decision of the Court broke new ground with respect to the nature, ambit, and methodology of conditional sentencing. The authors of this essay examine the context in which the Knoblauch decision was made by reviewing the incidence of mental disorders in correctional populations and the criminal justice system’s response. They also explore Knoblauch’s implications for the conditional sentencing process as a whole, as well as its use as a tool for dealing with mentally disordered offenders.