Committee
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 15 of 34
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay, I'm going to stop you there.
I'm going to turn to Ms. Latimer.
How common is it for this type of situation to occur? How many people, including murderers, past murderers, are able to reintegrate into society and not offend?
Catherine Latimer
View Catherine Latimer Profile
Catherine Latimer
2020-03-12 9:29
The recidivism rate for people who've committed murder is one of the lowest recidivism rates that we know of. These tend to be one-off incidents.
To go back to Monsieur Bensimon's case, our halfway houses have a lot of people who have committed murder in the past and are making their way into the communities, and there are lots who have made significant contributions in the community without ever reoffending.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Could you explain why it is safer for the public for people who are low risk to be released into a halfway house versus spending time in prison until their statutory release?
Catherine Latimer
View Catherine Latimer Profile
Catherine Latimer
2020-03-12 9:30
People who come out at statutory release may not have had the preparatory programs and support to persuade the Parole Board that they are ready to be released, but they are coming out anyway. It is very important that we continue to support those people with programs and support.
There's no question. The statistics show that the safest way to release people is through parole and through the graduated mechanism, but we could be skimming off the safe ones.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
Thank you, Chair.
Thank you to all the panellists for their introductory remarks. This is a very serious case, of course.
My first question is for Mr. Bensimon.
We're dealing with two real factors here. One is the assessment of risk. We have a person who was clearly guilty and found guilty of a violent murder of an intimate sexual partner, with a hammer and a knife. He was in jail for 13 years and then was released.
What would you expect the people conducting a risk assessment to know of the level of risk? Knowing that they had this individual in their custody for 13 years, availability of programs, etc., what would you expect to be put forward to a parole board to assess that risk? Would they have information about his rehabilitation or his capacity to be rehabilitated? What would you expect?
Perhaps I would suggest a very high degree of likelihood or positive outcome if he's going to get parole.
Philippe Bensimon
View Philippe Bensimon Profile
Philippe Bensimon
2020-03-12 9:38
Thank you, Mr. Harris.
I'd like to remind you that crystal balls don't exist. All prisoners, whoever they are, whatever the nature of the offence, are all going to be released conditionally into the community. It's only a matter of time. Now, it is all well and good to set up programs and have any kind of supervision, but neither the service nor the board will commit an offence. It will be the person doing it. You can supervise an inmate, but if the individual wants to assault, steal, traffic or take someone's life, it is not you, the police or the courts that will prevent him from doing so. There is no such thing as zero risk. There are limits.
In Gallese's case, as a professional, I can't comment. I won't, because I don't have the file in my hands.
Having said that, from what I have heard—some colleagues have called me—we must not only review the case of the individual in the community, we must go back up the chain. How long was he in a maximum-security institution, how long was he in a medium-security institution, how long was he in a minimum-security institution before he was released into the community? I think we went too fast with him. We're talking about over 300 outings. Do you realize that? This is something that is completely absurd. For a long time, I was responsible for inmates convicted of one or more murders, very serious cases, and there were never that many outings. We are talking about 10, 15 or 20 outings, but not 300. I think that the individual was in the community much too quickly. This is what is called a gradual downgrading that happened much too fast.
Anne Kelly
View Anne Kelly Profile
Anne Kelly
2020-03-10 8:56
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I am joined today by Alain Tousignant, Senior Deputy Commissioner, and Larry Motiuk, the Assistant Commissioner, Policy.
First, I wish to express my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Marylène Lévesque for the terrible tragedy that took place in Quebec on January 22. This is not an outcome any of us ever want to see. We are committed to getting answers for everyone affected by this.
As you know, there are two investigations under way. The first is a criminal investigation by the Quebec City police, and the second is a joint Correctional Service of Canada and Parole Board of Canada investigation.
Given the various aspects of this case and involvement by two separate organizations, this joint investigation is key to getting a comprehensive account of what happened. All five board of investigation members are skilled and experienced, bringing various perspectives to this process. Two external community board members, who are also criminologists, are co-chairing the investigation. This brings added openness and transparency to the process. Once the investigation is completed, we are committed to communicating the results with this committee and Canadians.
I want to be very clear: CSC does not condone offenders seeking sexual services and I am deeply concerned by what happened. I am in my 37th year with the service and can firmly attest to the fact that this is not something that we, as an organization, endorse in how we manage offenders.
I want to be very clear with the committee that CSC does not condone offenders seeking sexual services. I am greatly concerned by what happened. I am in my 37th year with the service, and can firmly attest to the fact this is not something that we as an organization endorse in how we manage offenders. I have made this message very clear throughout the organization and ordered a review of all community strategies across the country as an added measure.
Until the investigations are completed, I cannot speak to the specifics of this case, but I can outline the case management and conditional release process.
CSC's approach is governed by a very comprehensive piece of legislation called the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. Public safety is the most important consideration that underlies everything we do. During the incarceration period, public safety is achieved by ensuring the secure custody of the offender and maintaining a safe environment for both staff and offenders. But incarceration is only a temporary solution, as the vast majority of offenders will eventually be released into the community and become our neighbours. Therefore, an equally important job of corrections is to prepare offenders to safely and successfully return to the community as law-abiding citizens.
As soon as the offender receives their sentence, CSC begins the process of assisting them to become law-abiding citizens. Each offender has their own correctional plan, which is based on addressing the specific factors that relate to their criminal behaviour. The correctional plan details all the programs and interventions to be undertaken by the offender to address the problems that led to their incarceration. It acts as a yardstick against which the offender's progress can be measured throughout the sentence.
The offender’s progress in meeting the requirements of their correctional plan is a significant consideration in any decision related to the offender, with public safety being the paramount consideration.
All offenders are eligible at some point to be considered for some form of conditional release. Federal correctional legislation sets out various types of conditional release that provides offenders with gradually increasing degrees of freedom and trust that help make their transition safer.
Conditional release, however, does not mean the sentence is over, not at all. Conditional release means the offender is serving that part of their sentence in the community, under supervision and abiding by strict conditions. Community supervision is integral to our work, as research consistently shows that the gradual, structured and supervised release process represents an effective means of facilitating a safe and successful reintegration.
The assessment of the offender's risk forms the basis of any conditional release decision made by the Parole Board of Canada. CSC provides information to the board on the offender's criminal history, their involvement in programs and interventions, their release plan and release suitability, and then ultimately makes a recommendation to the Parole Board, including a recommendation for the conditions of release. In addition, community agencies, police, victims and others provide input about an offender's ability to reintegrate successfully. This information assists the board in determining whether an offender should be released and under what conditions.
When offenders are released into the community, the community supervision is carried out by community parole officers who monitor the offender's behaviour and compliance with release conditions. As part of this supervision, the parole officer maintains regular contact with the offender, as well as with police, employers, mental health professionals, the offender's family and others who are involved in the offender's life. This ongoing appraisal by the parole officer provides a continuing assessment of the offender's risk to reoffend. If the parole officer has concern about the offender's risk to the community, the offender can be returned to custody.
ln addition to monitoring and supervising offenders, an important part of the parole officer's job is to ensure offenders are linked to community services, volunteers and programs that can help them successfully reintegrate. In general, the more ties offenders have to the community, the more likely they are to make the successful transition.
Building safer communities is a complex process and CSC cannot and does not work in isolation. As just one component of the criminal justice system, CSC not only works closely with traditional criminal justice partners but also relies on the participation and support of the community.
Communities provide services to offenders and their families that are a vital part of an offender’s safe reintegration. Our community partners include individual volunteers and community organizations such as the St. Leonard's Society of Canada and the Salvation Army.
Offenders come from the community and the vast majority return to the community. Assisting offenders to become law-abiding citizens is the most significant contribution CSC can make to keeping communities safe. Having started my career as a parole officer, I have full appreciation for the nature of the work done by our staff on the front line. It is an important job with a critical role in ensuring public safety. This is why in early February, in addition to meeting with the chief of the Quebec police, I also met with the Quebec regional employees, who are deeply distraught by this tragic incident, to stress the importance of continuing their vital work of supervising offenders in our communities.
Although risk assessment is not an exact science, we manage risk through a robust framework of evidence-based decision-making using the best available information with the assistance of the best tools at our disposal. While I do not want to undermine in any way the seriousness of what happened here, it is important to note that it is incredibly rare. This was also highlighted by the correctional investigator on February 25, when he appeared before this committee. He underlined that this was an “extreme case”.
ln fact, we know that in 2018-19, 99.9% of offenders successfully completed their day parole supervision period without recommitting a violent offence. Moreover, our results show that there was an increase in the safe transition of offenders into the community.
For example, more offenders on conditional release successfully reached the end of their sentence without re-admission, in comparison with the results five years ago.
I know that the correctional investigator recently suggested that CSC is resistant to change. I want to take the opportunity to set the record straight.
We have shown much openness and commitment to making positive improvements to federal corrections. We have seen historic and transformative change in recent years. This past November, we eliminated segregation and implemented structured intervention units. Our correctional programs consistently deliver positive results in reducing reoffending and we continue to focus on improving our culture.
It takes sustained commitment, effort and dedication to deliver good corrections. We know that there is more work to do and we remain committed to self-reflection and improvement. Public safety is at the core of what we do. This is an unequivocal responsibility and a prerequisite to successfully transitioning offenders to the community.
When tragic events happen, we have a duty to closely examine our business to see what we can do better to serve and protect Canadians.
ln closing, I would once again like to express my sympathies to the family and friends of Marylène Levesque.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, Dr. Zinger and Ms. Kingsley.
I'd like to talk about the part relating to community supervision. In your report, you state, “According to 2016-17 numbers, the total number of offenders on community supervision, 8,886, is at its highest point in over a decade”.
Has the Correctional Service of Canada provided you with answers and explanations concerning the lack of funding for community supervision programs?
Ivan Zinger
View Ivan Zinger Profile
Ivan Zinger
2020-02-25 8:56
The Correctional Service of Canada is more than adequately funded. Based on the ratio of inmates to employees, its funding is probably the highest in the world. The ratio is about one to one. In other words, there is at least one Correctional Service of Canada employee for every inmate. Financially, the expenditures average more than $120,000 a year per inmate.
I don't think it's the resources that are the problem. It's more a question of priorities and redistribution of funds. The Correctional Service of Canada spends only 6% of its total budget on community supervision activities, which is insufficient. It is simply a matter of redistributing funds to ensure that priorities are met.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
I'm sorry for cutting you off, but our time is limited.
In recommendation No. 11 of your report, you say that significant resources should be reallocated to the community supervision program. You just told me that the ratio of officers to inmates is the highest in the world, namely, one to one. That's not the current ratio, and that's problematic. In the community, there is a lack of resources to properly monitor offenders compared to what there used to be. Is that currently the case?
Ivan Zinger
View Ivan Zinger Profile
Ivan Zinger
2020-02-25 8:58
The ratio in the community is six offenders to one employee. There is no question that the ratio will never be one to one in the community; it would be absolutely crazy. In my opinion, it's a matter of priority and balance. Incredible amounts of money are spent on incarceration, at the expense of rehabilitation in the community. There has to be some balance, and 6% of the total budget isn't enough, in my opinion.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
In recent years, conditional release and day parole cases have increased dramatically, but there aren't enough resources on the ground to monitor these people.
You are talking about a ratio of six to one. What should this ratio be to ensure full supervision of offenders on parole?
Ivan Zinger
View Ivan Zinger Profile
Ivan Zinger
2020-02-25 8:59
I couldn't say what the right ratio is. Adequate supervision must be a priority. That's a question you should ask the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
In your report, you talk about the Auditor General's report. Recently, in Quebec, there was an issue with the supervision of Eustachio Gallese, the man who killed Marylène Lévesque, as everyone knows.
A study will be conducted in the coming weeks on this, but there is a safety issue. I know the Correctional Service of Canada wants to release more offenders and get them into the community, but if the resources aren't there, are we not creating a public safety problem?
Results: 1 - 15 of 34 | Page: 1 of 3

1
2
3
>
>|
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data