Increased Support for Victims and Strengthened Offender Accountability
By A Correspondent
“The Harper Government is committed to keeping our streets and communities safe. Through our Government’s amendments, victims’ rights are now a priority, providing victims access to more information about offenders and about the corrections process,” said Minister Toews. “Our Government made a commitment to Canadians to guarantee in law that victims have the opportunity to provide input when an offender is being considered for parole. The coming into force of these amendments shows that, once again, we are delivering on our commitment.”
“Today, we are bringing balance to the criminal justice system by making victims’ rights a priority,” said Senator Boisvenu. “These amendments give victims of crime a stronger voice and role in the justice system, while demanding that offenders be more accountable and responsible for their actions.”
The amendments to the CCRA:
- §enshrine victim participation in conditional release hearings, and keep victims better informed about the management of offenders;
- §increase offender accountability by modernizing disciplinary sanctions and adding a requirement in law to complete a correctional plan for each offender that sets out behavioural expectations, objectives for program participation, and the meeting of court-ordered obligations such as victim restitution or child support;
- §give police the tools they need and the power to arrest an offender who appears to be in violation of their parole in certain circumstances; and
- §emphasize the importance of considering the seriousness of an offence in Parole Board of Canada decision-making.
The Safe Streets and Communities Act received Royal Assent on March 13, 2012. Amendments relating to theJustice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to the Criminal Records Act came into force upon Royal Assent, and amendments to the International Transfer of Offenders Act came into force on May 3, 2012. The remaining amendments to the Act will come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.
For more information on the amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, please visit the website: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/media/nr/2012/nr20120613-1-eng.aspx.
Picture: The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety (centre),with Sharon Rosenfeldt, Founding Member of Victims of Violence, and the Honourable Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, after announcing the coming into force of amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. | Credit: Ministry website