I am Professor Doob, from the Centre of Criminology, University of Toronto.
For today's presentation I considered simply listing the many instances in which empirical evidence was apparently ignored in developing this bill. Instead, though, the main point I would like to make is that the process the government has chosen for examining does not allow sufficient opportunity for Parliament to consider adequately ways to improve the bill.
I will give two illustrations. The first is carried over without change from the Penalties for Organized Drug Crime Act from the last Parliament.
To understand proposed subsection 41.(1) of this bill, one has to start with the definition of trafficking in drugs. Trafficking is much more than just selling. To traffic in drugs includes selling, administering, giving drugs, or offering to do any of these things. To be clear, sharing or even offering to share marijuana with a friend is trafficking. This is what the law now says.
To stop organized crime from renting homes and setting up marijuana grow-ops would impose a nine-month minimum sentence on a student living in a rented apartment who grows a single marijuana plant so she can share marijuana with her boyfriend. If she owned the apartment, she would not face a mandatory minimum prison sentence as long as she grew no more than five plants. If she had six to 200 plants in a dwelling she owned, she'd be facing only a six-month mandatory minimum prison sentence.
Some might argue that no self-respecting prosecutor would prosecute a case in which a conviction for running a marijuana grow-op with one plant would automatically result in a minimum prison sentence of nine months. This argument is specious. If you were to pass this bill without change, you, the Parliament of Canada, would be saying that one or two marijuana plants grown in a rented apartment for sharing with one's friends was serious enough to warrant, automatically, a mandatory minimum prison sentence of nine months.
I find it hard to believe that in a sentencing system based on proportionality Parliament really wants to say this.
The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act states that the one purpose of any sentence in this act is “to contribute to the respect for the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society while encouraging rehabilitation, and treatment in appropriate circumstances, of offenders and acknowledging the harm done to victims and to the community”. Anyone who looks carefully at many of mandatory minimum sentencing provisions would have a hard time defending their appropriateness. A law purposefully made incoherent does not deserve respect.
A second example comes from a different part of the bill—the proposed changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. I should point out that in my view some of the provisions of that bill might be improvements—but even they need work.
However, proposed subsection 75.(1) of the bill could use some attention and debate. It would allow a judge to order the publication of the name of a youth found guilty of any violent offence. I find no valid purpose or need for this proposal, in part because publishing the name of a young offender is likely to increase the likelihood of future offending.
The provision applies to “violent' offences”, and the bill expands the meaning of “violence” far beyond what it is now, and far beyond what the word normally means.
If—in the face of the absence of evidence that supports the need for this change and in the face of evidence that it will increase crime—you still want to open up the issue of the publication of names of youths who have committed minor offences, then the test of when this can be done should explicitly make reference to the provisions allowing more limited sharing of information about the identity of the offender with specific people, which currently exists in the YCJA. Surely it should be necessary for the Attorney General to demonstrate that the existing opportunity for targeted disclosure would not be sufficient.
But there is one important point that needs to be made. Proposed subsection 75.(4) indicates that for the purposes of an appeal, the provision allowing the publication of the identity of the youth is part of the sentence.
This is a cruel and dishonest joke on the part of the government. The name will be published before the appeal can be filed. Experience in the past eight years has demonstrated that the government is either naive or dishonest in suggesting, as it does here, that this can be appealed.
The Youth Criminal Justice Act allows the publication of names of youths who are given adult sentences. The imposition of an adult sentence can be appealed but the names of those receiving adult sentences are typically published immediately after the sentence has been imposed and before any appeal can be filed. In other words, the safeguard to a youth of an appeal is already eliminated.
The remedy is simple. If you are going to include this provision, then the section must be changed such that the publication cannot take place until all appeals have taken place or the period for filing the appeal has passed.
This bill deals with a number of important issues. There is no need to rush to judgment on these matters. I would urge you to reconsider your course of action and allow a serious examination of each of the separate issues contained in .
Sue O'Sullivan, Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.
Good morning, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today on this important bill.
Bill C-10 is a substantial piece of legislation with many aspects and issues for discussion.
Given our limited time today, and the role of my office in providing a voice to victims of crime, I would like to focus on providing you with points for consideration in relation to part 3 of , specifically with respect to the changes to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act that apply to victims of crime. I will focus solely on those aspects of this bill as they have direct effect on the treatment of victims of crime within the Canadian criminal justice system.
I would like to begin by commending the government for moving forward with the changes proposed on behalf of victims of crime to enhance the CCRA. We have spoken to a number of victims and victim advocates who have fought for these changes for years and who are extremely pleased to see them come to fruition. The proposed amendments to the CCRA are a positive step forward and I'm heartened to see the momentum building for real change for victims of crime in Canada. That being said, there is still much more work to be done and further changes to be made in order to truly address a broader scope of victims' concerns. The office has been pushing for many of these and further changes on behalf of victims since it opened its doors in 2007. In fact, these proposed changes were the subject of the office's second special report, “Toward a Greater Respect for Victims in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act”, which I have provided to all members for reference. I strongly encourage all members to carefully review the report and would be happy to follow up if there are any questions.
From my perspective, there are three main amendments that relate directly to the treatment of victims of crime: providing victims with the right to present a statement at parole hearings; removing an offender's right to cancel a parole hearing within 14 days of the scheduled hearing; and increasing the scope of information provided to victims.
With respect to the right to present a statement at parole hearings, moving to enshrine this right is extremely important. In the current system, the imbalance between offenders' and victims' rights is stark and unjust. Providing victims with more actual legislated rights will help to address this. However, while this is a long-awaited and crucial change for victims, there is a very important element missing. Victims are still are not being granted the right to attend the hearing. If victims are denied attendance, the right to present a statement in person becomes moot. We believe that victims, barring any security threats or concerns, should have the right to attend a parole hearing and that this right must be enshrined in law, as opposed to simply in policy.
With respect to the second change, the emotional toll of preparing to attend a parole hearing for a victim can be huge, let alone the time required for travel, logistics, and more. The ability for an offender to cancel a hearing, even hours prior, permits a lack of consideration for the victim that is simply unacceptable. Providing a period of 14 days' prior notice allows victims some security in knowing that the offender cannot cancel at the last minute and helps to begin to incorporate some element of consideration for the victims' needs. This change was one that our office recommended in its report, and we fully support it.
Finally, with respect to the last point, it is time we acknowledged that victims are not bystanders in the criminal justice process. They deserve to be kept informed and to be able to plan for their own safety. Victims want more information about the offender who harmed them in order to understand what steps they've taken to rehabilitate themselves--or, conversely, what risk they might still pose. The types of information added through this bill are very much in line with the kind of information victims have told our office they want. However, the amendment only goes as far as to make this information available at the discretion of CSC or PBC. We feel that victims should have a right to this information, full stop. In a system where victims have no recourse if they are denied, this type of information should be given in all cases and should not be at the discretion of CSC or PBC. I would also add one more item to this list: that victims also be provided with an updated photo, upon request, of the offender at the time of his or her release.
While I am encouraged to see these changes being made, there is much more work to be done. Victims need more information, they need to be able to participate in a meaningful way in the criminal justice process, and they need to have tangible supports in place to assist them in the aftermath of a crime. There are further tangible, practical changes to the CCRA that would have a direct and meaningful impact on victims. I would encourage members to consider including these as amendments to moving forward. These are listed in your information package with reference to the specific sections to be amended and include: ensuring that victims have the right to face their offender by providing them with the presumptive right to attend a parole hearing, unless there is justification to believe their presence will be disruptive or will threaten the security of the institution or individuals; providing victims with advance notification regarding all offender transfers between institutions, where possible, not just those transfers where an offender is moved from a maximum to a minimum; providing victims the right to receive up-to-date information about the progress and programming of the offender who harmed them and ensuring they receive it well in advance of having to prepare any victim statement for a parole hearing; providing victims with the choice of attending or observing parole hearing proceedings in person, by video conference, by teleconference, or by reviewing recordings of the proceedings at a later date.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Sharon Rosenfeldt, and I'm president of the organization Victims of Violence. It's a nationally registered organization that has been in existence since 1984—for 27 years.
I've taken out a bit of my presentation because this is five minutes. I'll just begin.
Although I can't speak on behalf of all victims of crime, I can speak on behalf of myself, our organization, and the victims we represent. I can tell you of the strong support that exists across Canada for the government's crime agenda and for the recently announced comprehensive crime legislation, the Safe Streets and Communities Act, specifically as it relates to serious and violent crime.
Opponents of this legislation have stated that because crime rates are going down this new bill does not really have a valid purpose. Why should we get tough on crime when crime is at its lowest point since 1973?
While it is true that overall crime rates are going down, the level of crime severity is not decreasing at such a rate, according to police-reported crime statistics from 2007. This means that while overall crime rates are steadily decreasing, crime rates for serious and violent crimes are not following that trend to the same extent. That is exactly why the Safe Streets and Communities Act is a necessary piece of legislation—this act addresses crimes which are serious and/or violent in nature.
Another issue that has been raised in relation to the content of this bill is that the use of mandatory minimum penalties will result in more trials because accused will not want to plead guilty to a crime for which there is a mandatory minimum penalty. There are concerns that the provinces will not be able to afford the cost of an increased number of trials and they will not want to put money into victim services if cases are being tossed out for lengthy delays.
There are a few issues with these arguments. First, the backlog that would incur from a higher number of trials is necessary to ensure that offenders are tried for the crimes they have committed, not lesser ones that do not truly reflect the crimes they have allegedly committed. This would do much to increase victim satisfaction with the criminal justice system.
Secondly, as an example, there will be an increase to a total of 16 offences related to child exploitation in which mandatory minimum penalties would apply. The opportunity for an offender to plead guilty to an offence that doesn't carry a mandatory minimum penalty would in fact be greatly reduced.
I fail to see how one can argue over the introduction of mandatory minimum penalities in the case of sexual crimes against children. One has to only consider the case of a man convicted of sodomizing and molesting his stepdaughter for more than two years, who received only a 23-month sentence because the judge said that he spared her virginity. Is this justice?
In theory, the total number of offences in which these new penalties would apply is not great, as they only apply to serious and/or violent offences related to crimes against children, organized crime, and violent acts committed by youths—crimes which make up only a small percentage of all the crimes committed. For example, one in five police-reported crimes are considered violent, and three in ten instances of victimization that were reported in the 2009 General Social Survey, GSS, were of a violent nature. These may represent only a small percentage of crimes; however, they represent the most grave and serious offences and, as such, should be sentenced accordingly.
I understand the bill will require that more people be put in prison for longer periods of time, and that as a result money will need to be spent to expand prison facilities—money that some have argued can be better spent elsewhere. However, this is a necessary cost for the protection of society and the detention of serious repeat and/or violent offenders.
It is worrisome that so many people have focused on the cost of crime, particularly as it relates to offenders and prisons, without considering the cost that crime has on victims. The cost of violent and serious crime not only consists of taxpayers' dollars but the loss of human life, of family, loss of law and order, and loss of faith in the criminal justice system.
In 2008 the Department of Justice released a report that estimated the tangible cost of crime, including police, court, corrections, and health care, was approximately $31.4 billion, while the intangible costs—the pain and suffering and loss of life costs—were over double that, at $68.2 billion.
When I hear opposition about the cost of the government's crime legislation, it upsets me greatly. As the mother of a murdered child, this is an issue that has directly affected me. If the criminal justice system had worked in the manner the federal government is now implementing, the way it was supposed to 30 years ago, my son Daryn would not have died.
I believe that we should have a stronger voice and an accountable justice system in Canada and not worry about the cost. How do you put a price tag on our pain as victims or on our children's lives?
Thank you for the invitation to appear before you on Bill .
I speak on behalf of the Canadian Bar Association, which, as many of you know, is a national association of over 37,000 lawyers, notaries, law students, and academics. Our mandate includes seeking improvements in the law and in the administration of justice. Our national criminal justice section represents a balance of crown prosecutors and defence lawyers from across Canada, and the positions we will present to you today represent our consensus on Bill C-10.
I practise criminal law in Vancouver as both a defence lawyer and a crown prosecutor. With me today is Professor Michael Jackson, a member of the section's committee on imprisonment and release, and one of Canada's most prominent experts on prison law.
I am afraid I must begin by expressing our disappointment that we have been given a mere five minutes to address such a complicated and important piece of legislation. This is entirely insufficient to provide meaningful feedback on these proposals that represent a significant shift in Canada's criminal justice and penal policy.
We also object to the process of lumping these profound changes into one bill, as many of them have received no previous committee review and will get little attention in the midst of nine important proposals. It is, in our respectful view, undemocratic.
In addition to our concerns about process, we believe that the substance of this legislation will ultimately be self-defeating and counter-productive if the goal is to enhance public safety.
The bill takes a flawed approach to dealing with offenders at all stages of their interaction with the criminal justice system, from arrest, through to trial, to their placement in and treatment by correctional institutions, and to their inevitable reintegration back into society. It represents a profound shift in orientation from a system that prioritizes public safety through individualized sentencing, rehabilitation, and reintegration, to one that puts punishment and vengeance first.
The measures contained in Bill C-10 will see more Canadian youth incarcerated while waiting for their trials. They will see more matters go to trial due to the harsh and unavoidable jail sentences associated with many offences, and they will see fewer reformed or rehabilitated offenders leave our correctional institutions and try to reintegrate into society.
Members of the committee, I've appeared before this committee on the CCRA for almost 30 years. I appeared in 1992, when legislation was introduced.
The CCRA is the legislative architecture of imprisonment for those serving from two years to life imprisonment in Canada. It was self-consciously based upon the principles of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the rule of law. It involved the most extensive consultation with not just the Canadian Bar Association, but with many others involved in the criminal justice process.
Central to the CCRA was the principle enshrined in the charter that justifiable limits must be demonstrably made in accordance with principles of proportionality and rationality, and not be arbitrary. One of those principles is that state authority must be exercised in the least restrictive manner consistent with public safety, staff safety, and offenders. That principle is enshrined in the CCRA.
In 2000 a committee of this House reviewed the CCRA, as required under its provisions after the first five years of operation. Like the original consultation process, it was extensive. It travelled across the country and heard submissions. It had extensive hearings and made recommendations.
The process this committee is engaged upon has none of those hallmarks of extensive consultation, deliberation, and accountability. In lieu of this, the government and the Correctional Service of Canada places before you “A Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety”, a document prepared in 2007, hastily convened, and even more expeditiously executed.
This road map ignores 150 years of correctional history. It pays no attention to previous recommendations or royal commissions. In its 200 pages there is not a single reference to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or to decisions of the Supreme Court. It is legally illiterate, and yet it is the brainchild of the amendments that you have before you and upon which you are asked to hear.
I want to very quickly deal with just two of the many provisions we have commented on in our submission. The legislation, the amendments—
It's difficult to start without commenting on the process, which doesn't allow the completion of this presentation, but we do have a full brief, sir, and I want to read it.
I'd like to first ask a question of Professor Doob. We all want to see safer communities; that's in the title of the bill. But I'm rather disturbed by what I hear when I see evidence such as that if you incarcerate more young people who are convicted of a crime, which we already do more than any other industrialized country, statistics show that you actually increase the likelihood of further criminal involvement for those youth. If you try youth as adults, the American Justice Department and even the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta find that doing so will make them more likely, not less likely, to reoffend.
How is this legislation, which ends up incarcerating more young people, going to help us make safer communities and decrease the likelihood of crime and victims if we are taking this approach?
Would you like to comment on that, Professor Doob?
Perhaps, Professor Jackson, you can deal with this question.
There was a story last night on television interviewing officials in Texas who indicated that the result of increased spending in Texas on prisons in fact had the opposite effect to reducing crime. In fact, it said if your goal is saving taxpayer dollars and making the community safer, it's the absolute wrong direction to go in. They were talking about drug offenders, and said that the more you did that the more you increased the level of crime in the community. Texas, for example, among other states, is going in a different direction totally.
Would you like to comment on that?
I'd like to bring a bit of clarity to what Professor Doob was stating regarding the potential prosecution for one plant in a rented dwelling. Kudos to you for attention to detail. That's clearly a drafting error that will be corrected by the minister. This happened when the bill was amended some years ago by the NDP. The section wasn't properly changed to reflect that there should be more than five plants. It's clearly the minister's intent to rectify this mistake. It's a drafting error.
Professor, you'd recognize that in any one prosecution there are enormous costs, so the likelihood of prosecution and getting a conviction for trafficking for one plant would be highly unlikely, and that's certainly not a direction the government intends to take. Thank you for the clarification, but the mistake will be clarified and corrected. Thank you.
My question would be to Sue O'Sullivan. Thank you, Sue, for your important work as the federal ombudsman for victims of crime. We recognize that you have a responsibility to the victims and to the government. We respect the job that you do. We know it's a tough one in balancing the interests.
In your recent report, “Toward a Greater Respect for Victims in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act”, you recommended to strengthen Canada's corrections and conditional release system. Do you agree that conditional sentencing is inappropriate for those convicted of a serious crime--for example, murder, the sexual exploitation of children, and drug trafficking?
Yes. First of all, this bill, as I highlighted in my testimony, addresses part 3 of the recommendations that are in our report, but I think there's much more work to be done. As I mentioned, I think we have a unique opportunity here to make committee amendments that would even further provide more information for victims. It is about more information about the offender, and it is about meaningful involvement in the process, and that they have some tangible supports in place. Under the CCRA, victims can only have what the legislation allows the organizations to give. Those are examples.
So the amendments that we've highlighted really are practical, and it's what we've heard from victims. An example might be the attending of parole hearings. As you can imagine, and Sharon has been to many, when you are there, the emotion and the impact and the reliving of what has happened to your loved one—you may not capture all that's in there. I think most Canadians would feel that if you wanted to attend the next day and to listen to the audiotape that was done, you would expect that you would be able to. In fact, you can't.
It really is about the practical: providing information to victims that they deserve to have. For example, a victim would want to know the kind of program, and if in fact the offender has gone through it. Have they made any efforts to address the issues? Or, conversely, if they have not, is the victim's safety considered upon the offender's release and, as we're well aware, whether offenders will come back into the community? Victims have to be considered in that. They have to be treated with respect and with dignity in the process.
Perhaps I can do it, Mr. Cotler, with reference to the question you put to Mr. Doob about what empirical evidence is ignored in these amendments.
One of the themes of the amendments is to toughen up, in the name of accountability, prison conditions to counteract what is perversely and inappropriately referred to as a “Club Fed” atmosphere in federal prisons. I spent 40 years working in federal prisons. They are not Club Feds, and I challenge anyone who would say otherwise.
One of the examples of toughening up the conditions is the way in which the amendments state that they will modernize the regime of segregation. Segregation is the regime under which Ashley Smith died two years ago. It's the harshest, most draconian form of imprisonment known within the borders of Canada. It has been the subject of comment of many parliamentary committee reports.
Indeed, the five-year review of this committee recommended that administrative segregation, which can be indefinite, should never be imposed except through the order of an independent adjudicator, not a CSC official. Due to CSC recalcitrance, that recommendation has not been implemented. It has been repeated by the human rights committee, by the correctional investigator, in academic writings. Every body that has looked at this dispassionately has come up with this recommendation.
It is not in the amendments, and yet this is meant to be the modernization of the regime.
What is in the amendments is that if a prisoner is sentenced, as a punishment, to segregation, one of the sanctions that would now be allowed is to cut off any visits with the outside world—friends or families. CSC's own empirical evidence demonstrates that one of the most important elements of prisoner reintegration, one of the most important elements of ensuring that prisoners are not violent and are compliant with the correctional regime, is having contact with their loved ones.
Why would you do that? Why would you add that condition of confinement to an already rigorous regime? How does it contribute to public safety? How does adding the pains of imprisonment to an already hardened group of people make them better people, so that when they come back into our society they can be our neighbours and not our predators?
I want to address a comment that was made by Mr. Gottardi, who said that there has been little previous review and that this is undemocratic.
Mr. Gottardi, were you aware that former Bill , Bill , Bill , Bill , Bill , Bill , Bill , Bill , and Bill , which are the primary components of this legislation, had 49 days of debate in the House of Commons, 200 speakers, 45 committee meetings, and 123 hours of committee study with 295 witnesses who appeared?
Can you square that circle for me, to say how there has been very little study of this legislation?
Yes, I am aware that some of these bills have been considered before, in the House and by committee. But there are significant component parts of the bill that have had no opportunity for consultation.
The bill that my colleague Professor Jackson has focused on has had little or no analysis, and it represents a fundamental sea change in policy for Canada in terms of how we as Canadians are going to deal with our offenders and of how they are treated inside our corrective institutions and of how they are better prepared to be released back into our communities.
I also recognize that bills such as Bill , dealing with youth criminal justice, have had extensive consultation. Yet many of the recommendations for amendments we have not seen implemented in Bill .
And the amendments that were made were added in and not specifically drawn to our attention. We had to sift through these bills to find out what had changed, only to discover that the bail regime in the Youth Criminal Justice Act is set to be completely overhauled with no reference to the bail regime that is currently in the Criminal Code. We're going to see more and more at risk youth detained before their trials.
We also see changes in the Youth Criminal Justice Act amendments that will remove the high standard of “beyond reasonable doubt” that was put in place to ensure that young offenders are not subjected, improperly and contrary to the constitutional imperatives found by the Supreme Court of Canada, to an adult sentence and to publication of their names, with the stigmatization and labelization that happens thereby.
We had to sift through to find those changes so that we could come to try to make comment to this committee. We have tried to do this in our 100-page written material, which I commend to all of you and hope you will take the time to review carefully.
In response to what you just talked about, I must comment that there is no such thing as closure; however, there is satisfaction. Victims just have to learn a different way to live and to cope, but there is no such thing as closure.
I would also like to say that it has been most confusing. There has been so much controversy in relation to this bill and how it affects victims of crime. I must say that, over and above Part III in relation to changes to the CCRA, there are many victims of crime who definitely are concerned about the sentencing. Victims are throughout every part of this bill, because it is talking about the serious and violent offenders.
I can only mention, in my own particular case, my saying that had we had the legislation that is going to be forthcoming, hopefully in this bill, in relation to my own son—there had been numerous charges of sexual assault, rape, buggery against the man who murdered my son—
First, I would like to thank the witnesses for being here this morning. Their presence is very useful to us.
This is the first time I have studied Bill and its various components. As with my colleague , I find it is unfortunate to have to cut you off halfway through a sentence. I would love to ask you so many questions.
Ms. Rosenfeldt and Ms. O'Sullivan, I appreciate the work you do. I believe that taking care of victims is a very important component in the criminal justice system. We would not want anyone to think that the people sitting on this side of the room do not care about victims.
We are trying to find the best system possible, one which strikes a balance, that is, which respects victims' rights, which also protects people—as indicated in the title of this bill—and makes sure that people who commit crimes have a chance to redeem themselves and become part of society again, if at all possible, as good citizens. It is not always easy to strike a balance in this type of situation. Nothing is black and white.
I would now like to address Professor Doob. One of my basic fears concerning this bill relates to minimum mandatory sentences. Professor, I am familiar enough with the system to realize that, sometimes, we want to avoid a certain result which everybody thinks is completely unthinkable, since it does not apply to the case they are involved with. When I studied criminal law, we were taught that every case was unique. But here, the opposite seems to be true, namely that a sentence is handed down regardless of the offence that was committed.
I would like to know what you think about this. Is discretion being passed from judges to crown prosecutors, who will have to decide under which section an indictment will be laid against a person, given that they already see what sentence will be handed down regardless of the circumstances? These indictments might therefore not be completely justified. So is this not a transfer of discretion, which now lies with the judge, to crown prosecutors? What is your view on this matter?
I now have a question for the representatives of the Canadian Bar, whom I would like to congratulate. Last evening, I read your brief from start to finish, and I would encourage my colleagues to do the same. It is complete. You have done an extremely in-depth analysis. I would like you to talk about the problem with the provision dealing with pardons.
Even in the case of a summary conviction offence, a person would have to wait even longer before applying for a pardon. I don't know whether this is the right way to reach the objective. This would prevent people from finding work again and becoming good citizens again. How are we going to make our streets safer if we make it more difficult for people who might not necessarily have committed a serious offence, to reintegrate society?
Those are my two questions.
Let's start with the issue of the mandatory minimum sentences. It seems to me that even though the government is admitting they made a mistake, or carried over a mistake from the previous bill without correcting it, and are now saying that the mandatory minimum sentence of nine months only applies to people who have six marijuana plants, organized crime, grow-ops with six marijuana plants, the difficulty is that it clearly ends up with a disproportionate sentence. No matter how we look at that, if you look at the range of sentences that are available in Canada, very few people are going to say that my hypothetical student with six plants or one plant--it doesn't really matter--is now deserving of nine months. So what will happen or can happen is that deals can be made.
Another way to deal with the problem of sentencing would be to have reasonable sentences without mandatory minimums, and some form of guidelines. Canada rejected the idea of sentencing guidelines more than 25 years ago, but that doesn't mean that the proposal for guidelines that was made in the 1980s is the only one.
Other jurisdictions have looked to ways in which they can structure sentences in a way that makes sentences more coherent and more fair when you look at sentences across the board, so that they have a sentencing system based on proportionality. Mandatory minimum penalties almost certainly violate or force the violation of the principle of proportionality. As you implied by your question, they also give over the power to sentence to the prosecutor, so that the prosecutor can in effect extort agreements to plead guilty by saying that certain elements won't be proved--in this case, for example, that it's a rented apartment.
Thank you to all the witnesses for your attendance here this morning and for your interesting and conflicting views.
Following up, Professor Doob, on the question asked by Ms. Boivin, you seem very concerned that individuals who, in your view, ought not to receive minimum mandatory sentences might, under this legislation--and you've cited several examples, including the roommates who share two or three marijuana plants.
Are your fears not alleviated by the addition of section 8, which requires the prosecutor to serve notice on the accused in order to seek a mandatory minimum sentence?
We have included a submission on the changes to the Criminal Records Act.
Perhaps what is most disturbing in terms of the provisions.... Many members of this committee have children and grandchildren, as do I. One effect of the amendments will be when someone is convicted of a summary offence. It could be that a person gets a little drunk on a stag night or at a university celebration and punches someone and is convicted of common assault. It could be that it's a conviction on a drug offence. There's an entire raft of things that young people may commit in the immaturity of young adulthood, which they live to regret and they live to overcome. They go to university. They seek employment.
At the moment, we have provisions for a pardon after three years. It's in fact more than three years, because the backlog actually takes about a year and a half. It's already close to five years before young people, who have in fact demonstrated the ability to put this behind them and are ready to take their rightful positions as responsible and accountable members of society, are back in the workplace without criminal records. I don't know why, but this act extends it from three years to five years.
There is no demonstration that the pardon process has in fact been flawed. Ninety-six percent of them have never been revoked. I again ask: Why as legislators would you want to put impediments on the reintegration of people who have in fact started out afresh and demonstrated that they are accountable for their actions?
There is no rational or legitimate correctional reintegration purpose. As in so many of the provisions of this bill, the only purpose is to increase the intensity of punishment and have more people in prison for longer periods of time under more repressive and harsher conditions. When they do get out or finish their sentences, it makes it even more difficult for them to reintegrate.
It seems to be the theme of this legislation. It is contrary to what is happening in many parts of the world, where we've learned the lessons of repression and harsh sentencing regimes. Texas, of all places, is rolling back what we're implementing.
Very briefly, I think my colleague, Professor Jackson, talked about the changes to the CCRA that will have an impact and the changes to the pardon act that would create further roadblocks to reintegration into communities.
The simple answer is that many of the restrictive sentencing measures that are being put in place--such as the increased use of mandatory minimum sentences and the restrictions on conditional sentences, which assist offenders to continue doing positive things in life, continue working, and continue having interactions with friends and family while under strict conditions and monitored by the state--assist and enhance public safety. Restricting those sentencing measures has the opposite effect.
In terms of the resource issue, the increased use of mandatory minimum penalties is going to put enormous pressure on the criminal justice system. Crown prosecutors are going to have many more cases to deal with. They'll have greater discretion in the sense that they'll have to do acrobatics and gymnastics to potentially come up with other charges that could be laid that don't have the mandatory minimum sentence in order to avoid unjust results.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, witnesses, for attending today.
Mr. Gottardi, I belive you have been in front of me before. As I mentioned, I was a member of the CBA for many years. I practised criminal law in Fort McMurray, which obviously has been a very busy place for over a decade, so I have some ability to know.... I've done literally hundreds and hundreds of trials, and frankly, I don't agree with your analysis, with respect. I have seen many success stories after people have been incarcerated, and I believe that re-education, retraining, and pride in one's life could certainly turn those people about.
I have to say that as a defence attorney I always envied British Columbia, because of the size of penalties that were received by, for instance, drug dealers, where many times I saw cases that had 30 days or 60 days for cocaine trafficking. In Alberta, you would receive 18 months or two years for the same quantity and the same circumstances. I looked at B.C. as quite an anomaly in Canada.
But I would have to say that there are startling statistics in relation to the number of people who reoffend and continue to reoffend. I have seen many people with three or four pages of records, which would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 or 50 prior offences.
So I frankly don't agree that people who go to jail for minimum mandatory times cannot have a success story, and certainly I believe they keep people safe.
On that note, I also noticed the Supreme Court of Canada suggested in R. v. Morrisey that it can't be disputed that the need for general deterrence is necessary, and indeed that a mandatory minimum sentence to shape behaviour is and can be utilized successfully. I would suggest that lawyers are somewhat.... If there are 10 lawyers in this room, you're going to receive 30 opinions. I think it's no different in this particular case.
Just to clear the record in relation to that, Mr. Doob, I wanted to talk a little bit to you. I noticed that you have a PhD from Stanford and an AB from Harvard. I apologize for my ignorance, but what is an AB?
I noticed one of your publications, entitled “Mandatory Minimum Sentences: Law and Policy”. I did have an opportunity to read it, and it was an interesting read, for sure. I noticed that you referred to many things within the footnotes, in particular, in 1952, a royal commission on the revision of the Criminal Code, a 1952 Senate official report of debates, a 1987 Canadian Sentencing Commission, and it goes on. In fact, in your footnote 28--and I quote--it states:
|| “'Three Strikes and You're Out': The Impact of California's New Mandatory Sentencing Law on Serious Crime Rates” (1997)”.... In one of the ten California locations the decrease in index crime coincided with the implementation of the three-strikes law. There seems to be no reasonable explanation for the difference between this county (Anaheim) and the other ten.
You then go on further to say—and I think it must be a joke—“There was no suggestion that it was related to the fact that Disneyland is located in Anaheim.”
I went through the footnotes and could not find anything to support your position on this particular paper. I was wondering if there was something more than the footnotes that I may be directed to in regard to your expertise in this particular matter and “The Political Attractiveness of Mandatory Minimum Sentences”, in which, in conclusion, you indicated that “it is clear that the policy process must take into account the various functions”--
I'm here to speak about the parts of Bill introducing mandatory minimum penalties for many drug offences, and generally ramping up the so-called war on drugs. I have worked in the criminal justice and drug policy fields for more than three decades. I didn't think it possible that Canada could enact drug laws that were worse than those in place over that period, but the current government has proved me wrong. Bill is worse, much worse.
Let's not forget what we're talking about here. It's about locking our fellow human beings, many of them non-violent, in cages. This is the 21st century. Surely there are better ways to resolve many societal problems than by locking our fellow citizens in cages.
If Conrad Black and I were to meet, probably we'd not agree on many things, but he spent some time in Florida prisons and he learned something. He said he saw at close range the failure of the U.S. war on drugs: absurd sentences; a trillion dollars has been spent; a million easily replaceable small fry are in prison; and the targeted substances are more available and of better quality than ever, while producing countries such as Colombia and Mexico are in a state of civil war.
Beyond our current drug laws, Bill is sure to be ineffectual. Not only are the provisions sure to be ineffectual, they are certain to be counterproductive. The Harper government says these laws will help solve the problem of drugs in our society. In fact, they will do the opposite: they will make the drug problem far worse than it would be if alternative regulatory and health-based measures were applied to the drug problem. The amendments brought by Bill will foster more crime, more violence, and more dysfunction, rather than less.
This government has ample evidence of the futility of its intended approach from experiences in Canada, the United States, and around the world. If you don't want to believe me, let's listen to the late Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize-winning and conservative economist. In 1989 he addressed a letter pleading for the end of the U.S. war on drugs to William Bennett, who was then the head of the U.S. drug policy in the U.S. White House. He said:
||In Oliver Cromwell's eloquent words, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" about the course you and President Bush urge us to adopt to fight drugs. The path you propose of more police, more jails, use of the military in foreign countries, harsh penalties for drug users, and a whole panoply of repressive measures can only make a bad situation worse....
||Drugs are a tragedy for addicts. But criminalizing their use converts that tragedy into a disaster for society....
If you don't want to listen to Milton Friedman, perhaps you might want to pay attention to the 2002 report of the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, chaired by Conservative Senator Pierre Claude Nolin. The report was unanimously adopted by the members of the committee. What did it say? It said:
||...the main social costs of cannabis are a result of public policy choices, primarily its continued criminalization. [...] It is time to recognize what is patently obvious: our policies have been ineffective, because they are poor policies. [...] The prohibition of cannabis does not bring about the desired reduction in cannabis consumption or problematic use.
If the government doesn't want to listen to its own Conservative senator and his committee, perhaps you might want to pay attention to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which said the following in 2009:
||Global drug control efforts have had a dramatic unintended consequence: a criminal black market of staggering proportions. Organized crime is a threat to security. Criminal organizations have the power to destabilize society and governments. The illicit drug business is worth billions of dollars a year, part of which is used to corrupt government officials and to poison economies.
By the way, the reason this is happening, Mr. Chairman, is because of drug prohibition. The use of the criminal law to prohibit drugs is creating a fantastically lucrative black market.
If you don't want to pay attention to the 2009 statement of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, you might look at the 2011 report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy. Its honorary chair was George Shultz, the former U.S. Secretary of State. Its members included Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General; Louise Arbour, former Supreme Court of Canada Justice and the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Paul Volcker, the former chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve; Sir Richard Branson; and four former presidents of Switzerland, Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has endorsed the report.
What did the report say? It said:
||The global war on drugs has failed with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others. Challenge rather than reinforce common misconceptions about drug markets.
Good morning, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. I am pleased to have the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss proposed Bill C-10 and its anticipated effects on the Correctional Service of Canada.
As you are aware, Bill C-10 comprises a number of bills that were introduced in the previous session of Parliament. As I expect the greatest impact on my organization's operations will come from the elements of Bill C-10 related to former Bill C-39, I will focus my remarks on this area. However, I will respond to any questions committee members may have regarding other elements of Bill C-10.
In 2007 the external CSC review panel released its final report, “A Road Map to Strengthening Public Safety”. This report contained 109 recommendations on how CSC could transform its operations and administration to better manage a complex and diverse offender population, thereby producing enhanced public safety results for Canadians.
Over the past four years, CSC has been using this report as the basis of our transformation agenda. Bill C-10 would advance this agenda further, with key components related to information sharing with victims, offender accountability, offender discipline, and electronic monitoring, among others.
The proposed legislation aims to strengthen principles of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to emphasize offender accountability and responsibility.
If Bill C-10 is passed, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act would now place a greater emphasis on offenders to follow and adhere to their correctional plans, which form the foundation of all programming, education, employment skills development, and decisions related to transfer and conditional release.
As well, Mr. Chair, Bill C-10 will give me, as the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, the opportunity to establish an incentive-based approach to dealing with offenders who have the capacity to follow their correctional plans but choose not to do so during their terms of incarceration. In addition, the bill places additional emphasis on the role and the rights of victims throughout the correctional process. It expands the definition of victims and the types of information that can be shared with them.
Finally, I'd like to note that Bill C-10 would enshrine in legislation CSC's authority to impose electronic monitoring under certain circumstances. These could include monitoring an offender's compliance with the terms of release, such as restricted access to a person or place.
Mr. Chair, as you're aware, last week the ministers of public safety and justice tabled a document indicating that the federal cost of Bill C-10 will be $78.6 million over five years. CSC has estimated that we will require approximately $34 million in new funding to manage the impacts of the proposed legislation. This figure comprises operational costs associated with the projected increase in our offender population arising from mandatory minimum sentences for sexual offences against children and for serious drug crimes.
In addition to the costs associated with housing more offenders, on the operational side we will see an ongoing reliance on double-bunking. This is having a particular impact in our women-offender institutions and in those in the prairies and Ontario regions where we are facing population pressures. I should note that there are also financial implications for the Correctional Service of Canada related to the enhanced provision for sharing information with victims and to the implementation of electronic monitoring. However, we will be absorbing these costs internally.
Mr. Chair, the Correctional Service of Canada has transformed its operations over the past few years to respond to a complex and diverse offender population and to significant changes in the criminal justice system. We're continuously monitoring the impact of these changes on our organization and on our offender population. We are making adjustments as needed.
I am confident that CSC, as a modern, adaptable, world-class correctional system, will implement the provisions of Bill C-10. It will create safer communities for all Canadians while it addresses the needs of victims and provides the most appropriate opportunities for offenders.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I welcome any questions the committee may have.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here.
The position of the John Howard Society of Canada is that Bill will not make streets or communities safer, despite the huge outlay of taxpayers' money. It will instead make communities less safe while eroding rights and principles of justice.
Given the time constraints, I will reaffirm comments the John Howard Societies have made on previous components of the bill that were before committee and focus my remarks on the new provisions and the cumulative impacts of the bill.
The merging of ideologically inconsistent bills into a single omnibus bill provides a philosophically incoherent response to serious social issues. Some of these problems include the following. Adult criminal justice principles are inappropriately applied in the youth justice system. Sentencing principles are incongruously applied to correctional management and parole decisions, resulting in a re-punishing of the offender rather than a scrupulous execution of the court-imposed sentence. Discretion is improperly limited for sentencing judges, preventing proportionate sentences, and augmented for ministers, crown attorneys, and officials dealing with numerous matters. Personal accountability and state paternalism are blended such that a 15-year-old is deemed too young to consent to sexual activity and yet is held criminally liable if he lacks the maturity of judgment to detect the absence of consent in another.
There are two specific provisions that have not been before the committee in terms of the youth justice amendments, both of which I think warrant some serious consideration because of their charter implications. The introduction of the criterion of the public's confidence in the administration of justice as grounds for the detention of youth prior to trial may violate rights to reasonable bail. And the removal of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for young persons to receive an adult sentence is contrary to the Supreme Court decision in R. v. D.B. and thus may violate section 7 charter rights.
With respect to Bill C-39, which has not been before committee and therefore has not undergone a serious analysis, I endorse the comments that were made by Professor Jackson. We thoroughly endorse the response to the corrections road map made by Michael Jackson and Graham Stewart, called "A Flawed Compass”, and believe that the concerted and deliberate law reform process that led to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act some 20 years ago, and which is emulated and praised around the world, needs to have some serious consideration and attention before decisions and changes are made.
The reason this bill will not make communities safer....
Given the evidence that increased penalties do not deter crime and the omission of crime prevention programs from this bill, the only way it could achieve its policy objectives of making communities safer is through successful rehabilitation and community reintegration. But Bill actually impedes supervised and supported reintegration by limiting the transfer of Canadians back to Canada until after they've completed their sentences and are thus deported, limiting pardons, and reducing access to conditional sentences.
This bill will also exacerbate the current crisis of crowding in provincial, territorial, and federal custody by massively increasing the numbers in custody through, one, the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences; two, restrictions on community-based sentences; and three, further restrictions on release for those who are in custody. It is urgent to reduce rather than increase prison overcrowding in order to ensure the safety of inmates and corrections staff, as well as for effective corrections and rehabilitation.
If nothing is done and the courts find, as they already have in the United States, that our current levels of crowding amount to cruel and unusual punishment, offenders will be released or not sent to custody, and there is no guarantee it will be the less risky offenders who remain in the community. If this occurs, the ultimate impact of the bill will certainly be to make the streets and communities less safe.
We are heartened by response to the committee that the National Parole Board could safeguard against overcrowding, and we look forward to the amendments to Bill that would achieve this objective, although further measures would be needed to address the crisis in provincial prisons.
In conclusion, we recommend that the bill not be passed in its present form, since the evidence shows it will not achieve its stated purpose. If the bill is passed, then given the current crisis of prison crowding in Canada, we urge that the bill not be proclaimed in force until provinces, territories, and the federal government can assure Parliament that the expected increase in offenders can be accommodated without exceeding 100% capacity of the prisons.
We hope the Minister of Justice will seriously consider his statutory obligation to ensure that all legislative proposals are charter-compliant before approving a bill that so seriously threatens to create a degree of prison overcrowding that would be cruel and unusual under section 12 of the charter.
Thank you very much.
Thank you to the presenters for their useful information and views.
Professor Oscapella, I would like to ask you a question concerning your discussion on the drug situation. It's interesting that your presentation comes on the heels of an article in yesterday's Globe and Mail by Neil Reynolds, not a noted liberal, on issues of certain types. He talks about the war on drugs. He says it cannot be won and that it has in fact led to increases in crimes and violence throughout the world. He talked about the U.S. and Mexico in particular and the number of deaths approaching 40,000 in the last five years. He says that if the United States legalized drugs, the savings would be $44 billion in law enforcement and another $42 billion in tax revenues.
These are interesting numbers.
I understand that some countries have attempted to take a different approach towards drugs in order to reduce crime and harm to society. Would you care to comment on what has happened in Portugal, which I understand has undertaken a program of changes in its approach to the use of drugs and the criminalization of drugs, particularly marijuana?
Yes, certainly, Mr. Harris. Thank you for the question.
Portugal about ten years ago introduced a system of essentially a drug-dissuasion committee. Instead of being criminally charged for possessing small quantities of a drug or selling small quantities of drugs, people who were apprehended would be required to appear before a committee of three people and they would discuss the person's drug-use habits. Essentially, it's a non-criminal way of dealing with potentially problematic drug use. Let's remember that most drug use is not problematic in terms of its effects on society.
What they found was that actually drug use rates went down. That doesn't necessarily mean that the policies caused the drug use rates to go down, but that they did not explode upwards, as some people might have suggested. In fact, the program has been quite successful. The Economist magazine, as a matter of fact, did an article on it not too long ago. It sort of praised it as an alternative to the current prohibitionist war-on-drugs model, which, as you pointed out, has been a colossal failure primarily because of the black market in drugs that it creates, which makes it extremely profitable for insurgent criminal and terrorist groups that benefit from the drug trade.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I'd very much like to begin by welcoming the witnesses and thanking them for their contribution.
Whether or not we always agree on everything, we're all here with the same intention of providing good public policy for Canadians, according to our principles.
I want to begin, Mr. Chair, by reassuring those Canadians who have been listening that the whole notion of a war on drugs is not anything that our government has declared. It's not anything the minister has ever said, to my knowledge. It's certainly not what's in Bill . And all this talk about war on drugs is really a diversion, and a misleading diversion, about what actually is in Bill C-10. Whatever our policy is on the prohibition of drug trafficking, it isn't established in Bill .
I'd like to ask Mr. Head a little bit.... You are the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, and I'm assuming that people watching can understand that this means you're the head man in the corrections system. Is that correct?
I wanted to go to the issue of overcrowding.
Ms. Latimer, you mentioned that the present legislation would exacerbate that problem. Arguments have been made that before the bill was tabled, there were serious problems of overcrowding--for example, 200% in British Columbia, where a threshold of 137%, as the U.S. Supreme Court said, is a threshold regarding cruel and unusual punishment.
Is it possible that the discrepancy between what you have been saying and what Mr. Head has said is due to the fact that you're dealing with provincial as well as federal systems?
I think there's something to be said for that. You're quite right, we first saw a benchmark by the Supreme Court of the United States in May indicating in the case of Brown v. Plata that 137.5% of overcapacity violated cruel and unusual standards there.
In our provincial systems many are reporting capacity problems at 200%, double the number of inmates being placed in facilities based over what their initial intention was. The correctional investigator of Saskatchewan has pointed out that they are closely approaching 200%. The unions have raised this as a serious concern in many jurisdictions, including British Columbia, where it's 175% to 200% of custodial capacity now, and in Ontario. So many people have raised this as a significant concern.
I don't want to speak for Commissioner Head, but good corrections policy really takes place at about 90% to 95% of occupation of capacity of the prisons, because that allows you to manage the inmates, move people, facilitate programs, and have better corrections applications.
So even at the levels of crowding that the federal government is starting to experience, we're starting to see some problems with Mr. Head being able to deliver the continuing good services that the Correctional Service of Canada has been known for. Women's prisons were particularly poorly hit by the more recent expansion of inmates, and that's before we get into this omnibus bill.
No. Its primary goal is to examine Canadian drug laws and policies to see where they're deficient, and if they're deficient to recommend alternatives.
First of all, legalization is a very dangerous term to use, because it means many different things to many people. To some people, legalization means the total absence of control, which is in effect what we have now with the criminal law in many ways.
There are many alternatives to the current criminal justice system. You can have a medicalized system, a regulatory system, a health-based system. The objective of the organization is not to promote legalization. It's to promote effective and humane drug policies. That's quite clearly stated in the objectives of our organization.
My questions are for Ms. Latimer.
With regard to the questions asked last week, the minister basically denied that a prisoner getting three two-year sentences was capable of straightening out. I would like to hear your comments on that.
I would also like to know, with regard to a former criminal getting out of prison who would like to lead a lawful life but cannot get a pardon due to changes made to the act, what kinds of obstacles this would mean for him.
Ms. Latimer, I want to go back to a couple of the comments you made in your opening statement: one, that this legislation is going to make our streets less safe; two, that increased penalties do not deter crime; and three, that this will massively increase the prison population.
One of the things that we continuously hear from people who come to this committee to advocate on behalf of criminals is that our communities are made less safe because the principle of deterrence doesn't work. But what you constantly fail to identify is that there are two types of deterrence. There is general deterrence, which means a penalty will cause a person to say “I perhaps should not commit this crime”, but there is also specific deterrence, which means that this person is in jail and therefore will not victimize other people in Canadian society.
Would you not agree with me that when somebody is in prison, they are therefore specifically deterred from further victimizing people in Canadian society?
With respect to massively increasing the inmate population, this committee heard in the previous session the same type of hyperbole with regard to elimination of two-for-one and three-for-one sentencing. We were told that this is going to massively increase the prison population. I don't know whether that was the testimony that you gave or not, but we heard it.
Well, we heard from the Minister of Public Safety a few weeks ago. He explained—and maybe Mr. Head can correct me, if my figures are wrong—that the prison population only went from 14,200 to 14,600.
So if you're making these same statements again, what is the evidentiary, empirical basis for making that statement? Or is this just a case of saying, we are going to say the same things we said the last time?
Thank you, Mr. Chair. My questions are for Commissioner Head.
I have been hearing the figures since I began sitting on this committee and religiously reading the documentation provided, and I heard the minister's speech, to which you refer in the report you have tabled and in your comments.
The cost of Bill for the federal government will be $78.6 million. You estimate your needs at $34 million in new funding to manage the consequences of this bill. I am also looking at some reports according to which the costs for Correctional Services Canada have increased from $1.6 billion in 2005-2006 to $2.98 billion in 2010-2011, which equals an 86% increase. This figure is even expected to double. I am trying to reconcile all these figures.
How can you tell us today that Bill C-10 will cost you $34 million? You are talking about consequences. What consequences are you referring to? What have you seen, since 2005, in terms of increased costs for services?
In terms of the larger figures you refer to, the most significant increase in our budget has come as a result of the tackling violent crime bill and the bill regarding the two-for-one sentencing. That's where we saw the largest increase in our budget, both on an operating cost level and a construction level. We have about 37 living unit construction projects under way across the country.
Relating to , as you know, there are a number of bills in there. There are two sub-bills, I guess we'll call them, that have direct impacts on CSC: one is in relation to the sexual offending piece, and the other is in relation to what was previously referred to as , the drug piece. When I refer to the $38 million, it's in relation to the implementation of those two subsections of .
The cost for us is the anticipated increase of the offender population for the sex offending piece, which we're estimating at its peak would probably be around 164 more inmates, on an ongoing basis, per year.
With regard to the costs associated with , because we provide community supervision for provincial offenders where there is no provincial parole board, a significant amount of that cost is for individuals who may get parole and we have to do the case preparation and the supervision of them. Those are our costs with that piece.
As for the rest of it—the previous question from a member was about the difference between the $38 million and the other $70 million—that's not related to the Correctional Service of Canada. As I said, I'd have to defer to the Department of Justice for the breakdown of those costs.
Do you see a potential consequence? For example, I talked to some correctional officers who were greatly concerned. They anticipate an increase in the number of offenders in the system and they feel this is a problem for them.
We often talk, and rightly so, about victims. We talk, rightly so, about punishing offenders. That said, we are forgetting about those who work inside those walls, those for whom you are responsible and who fall under your jurisdiction, and those are the officers responsible for these inmates.
Are you considering making some changes if the prison population increases? We know that, with regard to women's prisons, there are enormous difficulties. Have you made provisions for such measures? Have you already considered the problem this would mean for your services?
That's a very good question. This is something I engage with our six unions about on a regular basis. The strategy has multiple facets to it, including looking at training and equipment for staff from a safety perspective.
The biggest piece for us, and it's one that's been mentioned, is ensuring we have the right programs—the interventions, education programs, and employment skills opportunities for offenders so we engage them and keep them busy. If we keep the offenders busy, the issues around safety are diminished.
One of the key things for me in terms of implementing , or any other bills that come forward, is making sure we have the appropriate interventions and programs in place to give offenders opportunities. If they're engaged and busy, safety is not a concern.