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To encourage judges to place fewer youths in custody, the YCJA provides a number of community-based sanctions at the youth court level in addition to such traditional noncustodial sentences as probation, community service, or a fine. Some of these sentences, such as requiring involvement at an “attendance center” or “intensive supervision and support,” are intended to provide youth with more support in the community and address the circumstances leading to the youth’s offending.

The most significant community-based sentence added by the YCJA was the “deferred custody and supervision order” (DCSO), which can be imposed by a youth court judge. This sentence allows the court to permit the youth to remain in the community for the duration of the order, subject to supervision by probation officers and with other supports. In the event of a breach or apprehended breach of the terms of release, the youth may be placed immediately in custody for the balance of the sentence without the need for another court hearing. This sanction represents a “last chance” provided by the court to spare a youthful offender’s committal to custody. This sanction has been used quite frequently, also contributing to the decline in the use of youth custody (Carrington et al. 2011).

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