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Presented to Alberta Association of Police Governance.

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Presentation on theme: "Presented to Alberta Association of Police Governance."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presented to Alberta Association of Police Governance

2 What do we all want? Safe and Peaceful Communities What is Our Goal?

3 Much Less Costly Much More Effective Than Incarceration to Warrant Expiry

4 For all adult correctional services in Canada: Statistics Canada, Adult Correctional Services 3306 Total Expenditures 3,509,221,000 Custodial Services 2,506,341,000 for 33,000 individuals Community Supervision Services 512,704,000 for 119,965 individuals Incarceration (average) per person - 101,666 Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview, 2009 : Public Safety Canada. Halfway House (range) per person – 40, ,000 (estimated) Community Supervision – 24,825 (Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview, 2009) Public Safety Canada CSC Only (for )

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6 Criminological Highlights (volume 11, Number 1; February 2010)This issue contains summaries of articles that address the following questions: Does the incarceration of offenders reduce their likelihood of offending? Conclusion: In fact, incarceration may increase the probability of recidivism. Is it true that the first time people go to prison; they learn from their mistakes and, as a result, are likely to reduce their offending after release? Conclusion: First-imprisonment of offenders increases the likelihood that they will re-offend.

7 Sentence Severity and Crime: Accepting the Null Hypothesis Anthony N. Doob and Cheryl Marie Webster Crime and Justice, 30:143–195, 2003 Abstract The literature on the effects of sentence severity on crime levels has been reviewed numerous times in the past twenty-five years. Most reviews conclude that there is little or no consistent evidence that harsher sanctions reduce crime rates in Western populations. Nevertheless, most reviewers have been reluctant to conclude that variation in the severity of sentence does not have differential deterrent impacts. A reasonable assessment of the research to date-with a particular focus on studies conducted in the past decade-is that sentence severity has no effect on the level of crime in society. It is time to accept the null hypothesis.

8 Canadian Sentencing Commission Date: 1987 Chair: J.R. Omer Archambault Report: Sentencing Reform: A Canadian Approach Three of these purposes (deterrence, rehabilitation and incapacitation) are clearly pragmatic. Sentences could potentially be justified with reference to these goals to the extent that they are able to realize them. There has been a great deal of research on each of these three purposes. Although the results are too equivocal to yield certainty, the research does, nevertheless, indicate the following :

9 Evidence does not support the notion that variations in sanctions (within a range that could reasonably be contemplated) affect the deterrent value of sentences. In other words, deterrence cannot be used, with empirical justification, to guide the imposition of sentences. There are no comprehensive data that support the idea that courts can in general, or with specific identifiable groups, impose sanctions that have a reasonable likelihood of rehabilitating offenders.

10 Although it is a truism that offenders will not be able to commit the same offences while imprisoned as they would if they were at large in the community, the extensive literature on incapacitation suggests that as a crime-control strategy the costs of imprisonment far outweigh the benefits achieved in reducing crime. The difficulty with incapacitation as a crime-control strategy is simple: too many people would have to be imprisoned unnecessarily in order for crime levels to decrease appreciably.

11 Is incarceration a criminogenic factor or do inmates learn their lesson? This question has been investigated many times, in many different times, but the answer is always the same: The undeniable responsibility of the state to those held in its custody is to see that they are not returned to freedom worse than when they were taken in charge. This responsibility has been officially recognized in Canada for nearly a century but, although recognized, it has not been discharged. The evidence before this Commission convinced us that there are very few, if any, prisoners who enter our penitentiaries who do not leave them worse members of society than when they entered them. This is a severe, but in our opinion, just indictment of the prison and past administrations. ( Report of the Royal Commission to Investigate the Penal System of Canada [Ottawa: King's Printer, 1938] [Commissioner: Joseph Archambault], cited in Sentencing Reform at 41)

12 The persistent recidivist statistic can be related to the fact that so many in prison have been irreversibly damaged by the system by the time they reach the final storehouse of the Criminal Justice System -- the penitentiary... It was compounded in schools, foster homes, group homes, orphanages, the juvenile justice system, the courts, the police stations, provincial jails, and finally in the "university" of the system, the penitentiary. Most of those in prison are not dangerous. However, cruel lockups, isolation, the injustices and harassment deliberately inflicted on prisoners unable to fight back, make non-violent inmates violent, and those already dangerous more dangerous. Society has spent millions of dollars over the years to create and maintain the proven failure of prisons. Incarceration has failed in its two essential purposes - - correcting the offender and providing permanent protection to society. ( House of Commons Sub-Committee on the Penitentiary System in Canada [Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services, 1977] [Chairman: Mark MacGuigan], cited in Sentencing Reform at 43) Taken from Just Behind the Walls.net

13 What are the recidivism rates now? It is difficult to assess as there is no definitive research and no universal description. What we can estimate if we think of recidivism as an individual who has already been convicted for an offence commits another offence after serving whatever sentence he had originally. Inmates released from Federal system counting individuals who did not necessarily return to prison. About 37% Vancouver Sun Inmates released from provincial institutions – 50 to 75% (Manitoba, CBC News)

14 Day Parole Completion 84.5% Revoked12.2% Non-violent offence2.8% Violent offence.5% Full Parole Completion73.4% Revoked19.2% Non-violent offence6.7% Violent offence.8%

15 Statutory Release Successful completion60.3% Revoked30% Non-violent offence8.4% Violent offence1.3

16 Good completion rates – less dangerous than just releasing Deal with real life issues in the community Supervision covers the most high risk period after release Support and monitoring in community Halfway Houses have the best success rates The more time they are supervised in community the better Helps overcome the criminogenic effects of incarceration

17 Lots of contact and interaction with staff so a relationship is established Able to monitor activities in the community finances, relationships, drug use, whereabouts and employment Provide access to programming, counselling and psychiatric services Develop supports in the community that will be there after release Work closely with police, including high risk unit which allows them to use their time more effectively

18 Every person has intrinsic worth and must be treated with dignity, equity, fairness and compassion. Every person has the right to live in a safe and peaceful society. Maintaining a safe and peaceful society through humane responses to crime is every person’s responsibility. Every person has the right and the responsibility to be informed about the criminal justice system. Justice is best served through measures that resolve conflicts, repair harm, and restore peaceful relations in society. Society has a special responsibility to provide a positive developmental environment for youth. “Promoting positive change through humane, just and informed community responses to crime and its effects” Gordon Sand Executive Director Calgary John Howard Society


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