- Showing 2 posts filed under: Politics [–], Region: North America and Caribbean [–] published between Aug 01, 2011 and Aug 31, 2011 [Show all]
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.”