mandatory sentence
a sentence for which the judge is given no options as to its length (first degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence; an offender who receives a mandatory minimum sentence cannot receive a sentence less than that specified)
mandatory supervision
between 1970 and 1992, the term used to describe the release of inmates at the two-thirds point in a prison sentence – now called statutory release
manslaughter
causing the death of someone without premeditation or planning. Also, murder that is reduced to manslaughter because the offender lost self control when committing the crime
mass murderer
those who kill three or more people at one time and in one location
matricide
the killing of one’s own mother
maximum security institution
houses offenders who pose a serious risk to staff, other offenders, and to the community. Maximum security institutions are characterized by strict control over offender movements and activities
mediation
an informal process of settling disputes through the intervention of a neutral third party, referred to as a ‘mediator’
mediator
A neutral third party that tries to help two different sides of a conflict come to a peaceful agreement.
medium security institution
houses offenders who pose a limited risk to the safety of the prison ‘community’ and is characterized by moderate control over inmate activities and privileges
mens rea
This means “the guilty mind” and refers to the psychological component of a crime. This is an assessment of whether or not an individual meant to commit the crime and fully understands what they were doing. This is one of two components necessary to commit a crime, for the other component see the definition to “Actus Reas”
mental disorder
a disease of the mind or mental illness – can be used as a defence to criminal charges in some cases
mercy killing
see “euthanasia
minimum security institution
houses offenders who pose a limited risk to the safety of the prison community and is characterized by minimal control and supervision of inmate activities, associations, and privileges
Minister of Justice
is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who is responsible for the Department of Justice and is also Attorney General of Canada
missing children’s registry
the Canadian response centre for missing children operated by the RCMP; it coordinates the investigations of missing children, maintains and monitors files on missing children, and acts as an information centre producing and distributing information on missing children
mistrial
a trial that does not result in a judgment because of an error in procedure; it is a declaration by a judge that a trial must be repeated for a certain reason
mitigating factors
in sentencing, factors that indicate that a less severe sentence is called for; compare with aggravating factors
modus operandi
the manner of operation of an accused, the methods that the accused usually operates, their signature way of doing things, the police frequently refer to this concept as the ‘M.O’
mug shots
photographs of people on police files
murder
intentionally causing the death of another person
National Parole Board (NPB)
a component of Public Safety Canada that is responsible for determining the conditional release of inmates in the federal system as well as those inmates in the provincial systems (except Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec who have their own parole boards)
not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder
a verdict that a defendant is guilty of a crime but cannot be convicted. It is used if the accused, when committing the crime, suffered from a mental disorder that rendered the person incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act or of knowing that it was wrong. This may result in the offender not being incarcerated but may also mean that they will be admitted into a mental health facility until the mental illness is cured or the person is no longer a threat to society
not guilty by reason of insanity
the old wording of a verdict now called “not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder”