Epidemic of illegal firearms overwhelms Canadian cities

Corrections institutions are merely holding facilities with few effective rehabilitative programs. They must have programs for safe, effective reintegration

Epidemic of illegal firearms overwhelms Canadian citiesAn analysis by the CBC covering two decades of homicide statistics for Winnipeg reveals a major shift in the types of weapons used. It’s happening across the country. Winnipeg had 44 homicides in 2019, more than in any other previous 10-year period. Police seized 1,771 guns in 2018, up from 1,195 in 2017 and 825…

We can’t just throw money at crime prevention

We need to to treat the crisis of a growing prison population as a public health challenge rather than the narrower response being advocated

We can’t just throw money at crime preventionWinnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth has a typical challenge on his hands: crime is up, resources are stretched and more money is needed. Behind the scenes, he must also be seen as preserving the interests of his officers and the police association. The Winnipeg Police Board and municipal politicians have their perpetual challenges: be perceived…

A criminal charge based on the race of the victim is wrong

Not all the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report recommendations stand up to scrutiny

A criminal charge based on the race of the victim is wrongThe Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIW) report declares that violence against Indigenous women is genocide. But do the recommendations stand up to scrutiny? Already, a Senate committee is at work dealing with some the report’s 200-plus recommendations, as part of the Senate’s study of an omnibus criminal justice act, Bill C-75. One…

Time to end mandatory minimum sentences for murder

Indigenous women are vastly over-represented among those sentenced to life

Time to end mandatory minimum sentences for murderWhat’s wrong with mandatory minimum sentences? Plenty. Especially when it comes to murder. High-profile serial murderers come to mind when Canadians think of murder convictions: Bernardo, Olson, Pickton. Few turn their minds to the 18-year-old Indigenous teen who kills her abusive drug dealer. Such a situation can amount to murder in our law. When it…

A staggering number of Indigenous Canadians are in jail

Canadian governments continue to allow the operation of a justice system constructed on a foundation of systemic racism

A staggering number of Indigenous Canadians are in jailThe ’60s Scoop never ended – only the destination changed. Instead of sending Indigenous children to white families, the government has sent a generation of Indigenous children to jail. It must end. Not long ago, First Nations people ‘caught’ leaving their reserve would be arrested and thrown in jail. Even more recently, Indigenous children were…

Reduce the poverty-to-prison pipeline for women

From prison reform to better community services that address poverty and prevent crime, here's what Canada can do

Reduce the poverty-to-prison pipeline for womenBy Sen. Raymonde Saint-Germain and Sen. Art Eggleton Over the last decade, the number of women in Canada’s jails has spiked by 30 per cent. Even more troubling, Indigenous female prisoners now account for 37 per cent of all incarcerated women, and 50 per cent of women in maximum security. According to the 2017 correctional…

Stemming the tide of inmate deaths after release

Time in custody offers a perfect opportunity to intervene and prevent health issues from arising after release

Stemming the tide of inmate deaths after releaseThe tragic stories of Ashley Smith, Edward Snowshoe and other inmates who have died in Canadian correctional facilities have rightly made headlines. Less well known are the premature deaths of hundreds of Canadians every year from preventable causes after they are released from jails and prisons. Canadians might be surprised to learn that many health…