- Showing 10 posts filed under: Region: North America and Caribbean [–], Politics [–], Country:Canada [–] [Show all]
Restorative justice is the law
by Dan Van Ness
Heartspeak Productions is a remarkable Canadian group that describes itself as "on a continual quest to learn about & share the principles and best practices of restorative justice." It does this by creating excellent videos exploring dimensions of restoration. Fraser Community Justice Initiatives Association is a community NGO also in Canada that for 25 years has developed programs and training that help people in conflict find good resolutions.
Harper government misguided in its tough-on-crime approach
from the Globa and Mail editorial:
David Daubney, a justice-department adviser, could have gone quietly into retirement. Instead, he tried to talk some sense back into this country. Prison overcrowding will worsen and breed violence, he told The Globe's Kirk Makin in an exit interview. The tough-on-crime route has been tried and failed. The government knows what it knows, doesn't listen to evidence and is reluctant to ask for research to be undertaken.
“The policy is based on fear – fear of criminals and fear of people who are different. I do not think these harsh views are deeply held.” It's a good point. A new poll shows that 93 per cent of Canadians feel safe from crime. Why, then, spend billions of dollars to go backward?
Fearmonger and Through The Glass: Books that undermine Harper's omnibus crime bill
from the review by Matthew Behrens in rabble.ca:
It's a rare event in the Canadian publishing world when non-fiction books line up in sync with current events, but these two titles are perfectly timed as Canadians consider the serious consequences of the Harper government's dramatic omnibus crime bill, one that will radically alter an already deteriorating judicial system.
....Those who'd like an inkling of what could come down the pipe can do no better than read Paula Mallea's appropriately named Fearmonger, an outstanding overview of recently passed and proposed crime legislation.
I am meeting with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights this morning.
This is what I will be saying.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am pleased to have this opportunity to address you and the rest of the committee regarding Bill C-10, The Safe Streets & Community Act.
....My daughter, Candace, was 13 years old when she was abducted and found murdered six weeks later. We lived without knowing the details of what happened for two decades.
An apology is not good enough and neither is a conviction
Accountability is most powerful when an individual fully understands the effects of their actions on other people and not just the impersonal state.
Some did as soon as they woke up the next day, bewildered and remorseful. Bold acts that drew cheers on the 15th were inexplicable and humiliating on the 16th. Even many of those who felt no remorse felt the lash of global village justice in all its forms.
Remorse, no matter how sincere, is not enough. We had a deal: we respected them and they respected us. They broke that deal on June 15 (albeit impulsively in many cases) and a price must be paid. There are strong and widespread views that the criminal justice system is not up to the task because it is too slow and too weak. But another, more apt reason is that it is too impersonal. A guilty plea and imposition of a fine teaches nothing of the harm that’s been done.
Alberta solicitor general to fight for restorative justice
from the article at CBC News:
Alberta's solicitor general is vowing to fight to restore funding for restorative justice programs in the face of mounting criticism from his party and a retired chief justice.
"I will fight to restore it," Frank Oberle told CBC News. "I'm going to fight to restore the grant money next year."
Oberle said he was forced to eliminate the $350,000 grant for the program to reach budget targets.
His department is responsible for jails in Alberta and most of his budget is taken up by salaries where there is no room to cut.
Zeal to punish eliminates a useful tool
....The “conditional sentence of imprisonment” (CSI) was introduced in Canada in 1996 as an alternate form of incarceration subject to specific criteria. It is not, as some assume, the same as probation.
When sentenced to less than two years, an offender deemed not to pose a danger to society is allowed to remain in the community, but with more stringent conditions than offenders on parole. The offender must abide by a number of typically punitive conditions, such as a strict curfew. If a condition is broken without a lawful excuse, the offender may serve out the rest of the sentence in prison.
Unfortunately, conditional sentences for the type of offence Tobin committed — impaired driving causing death — were eliminated in the last session of Parliament, thus ending Canada’s tradition of granting discretion and independence to the judiciary.
The accident last Christmas Eve that killed his friend Alex Zolpis can only be described as “tragic and senseless.” But giving Jack Tobin a prison sentence may well also prove to be “tragic and senseless,” as there is mounting evidence that jail time does not reduce the chances of re-offending.
Victims' advocate says more energy should be invested in restitution programs
Justice systems in the North should invest more energy in developing restitution processes that work, according to a leading Canadian victims’ advocate.
Irvin Waller, a professor at the University of Ottawa and the president of the International Organization for Victim Assistance, was a speaker at Justice for All: A Comparison of the Crime Victims’ Rights in the U.S. and Canada, put on by the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice section this morning.
“We know from the social science evidence that well-organized restorative justice, which includes restitution payments, not only increases victim satisfaction compared to the normal process, but secondly actually reduces recidivism,” Waller said. “There is a real opening here. It’s win-win all around for justice at times of austerity.”
David Daubney of Canada presented the 2011 International Prize for Restorative Justice
by Dan Van Ness
David Daubney has been awarded the 2011 International Prize for Restorative Justice in recognition of the public policy leadership he has provided in support of restorative justice. The presentation was made during the Prison Fellowship International World Convocation held in Toronto, Canada from 28 June – 2 July, 2011.
"For restorative justice to become the normal way of responding to crime, we need more than programs," said Daniel Van Ness, executive director of PFI's Centre for Justice and Reconciliation. "We also need public policy that reflects restorative principles and values so that the justice system itself becomes more restorative. With this award we recognize a man who as a legislator and an official in his country's justice ministry has helped shape restorative justice public policy in his nation and the world."
Anti-crime bills deserved to die in Canada
The editorial on prorogation (Jan. 5) mentions that among the bills that died with this parliamentary session were many parts of "Harper's tough on crime agenda."
This is the one good result of prorogation as these bills contained very bad criminal law.
Stephen Harper is not "tough on crime"-- he is soft in the head on crime, preferring to build more prisons -- the most expensive, least effective form of influencing behaviour -- instead of investing in preventive measures, such as early childhood care and education, and the alleviation of poverty.