The Honourable Vic Toews, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, and Senator Claude Carignan, announced legislation to end the early release of criminals and increase offender accountability, while strengthening the rights of victims. Among other key reforms, the proposed legislation would abolish the current system of Accelerated Parole Review, which allows those convicted of “non-violent offenses” to obtain day parole after serving one-sixth of their sentence and full parole after serving one-third. Justice Canada.
“The current system allows white-collar criminals back on the streets much earlier than Canadians expect, given the impact of such crimes on victims,” said Senator Carignan. “We are taking action to put a stop to this practice, which undermines Canadians’ faith in our justice and corrections systems.”
The proposed amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act would also:
- make the protection of society the paramount principle of the system;
- enshrine victims participation in conditional release board hearings, and keep victims better informed about the behaviour and handling of offenders;
- move toward a system of earned parole, by increasing offender responsibility and accountability and strengthening the disciplinary system;
- authorize police to arrest an offender breaking release conditions, without having to obtain a warrant; and
- emphasize the importance of considering the seriousness of an offence, in National Parole Board decision-making.
The legislation responds to the concerns of victims’ groups and police associations across the country, and to the Correctional Service of Canada’s Independent Review Panel’s recommendations to work towards a system of earned parole.