ARCHIVED - Safe Streets and Communities Act: Increasing Offender Accountability

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As part of its commitment to help ensure the safety and security of Canadians, the Government has introduced the Safe Streets and Communities Act, which includes amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA).  These changes would provide better support for victims of crime, increase offender accountability and ensure that the “protection of society” is the paramount principle of corrections and conditional release.

Better Support for Victims of Crime

A victim's right to participate in parole board hearings would be enshrined in law.  Although the CCRA clearly recognizes the interests of victims of crime and the role they play in the correctional and conditional release process, victims and victims' advocates have voiced dissatisfaction with the current provisions and have called for enhancements. The proposed amendments to the CCRA would ensure a victim's right to attend and make statements at Parole Board hearings.

Additionally, the CCRA will be amended to expand the information that may be disclosed to victims by the Correctional Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada. This includes:

When offenders withdraw their participation 14 days or less before a parole hearing date, the Board may still proceed with a review and decision. This ensures that victims will no longer travel long distances to attend a parole hearing which is then cancelled at the last minute. Victims will also be able to request information on the reasons for a waiver of a parole hearing.

In addition to the proposed reforms to maximize the knowledge available to victims of crime, a National Advisory Committee on Victims Issues, co-chaired by the Departments of Justice and Public Safety, has been created. This committee gives victims the opportunity to provide input into policies and procedures that impact victims and victims' services.

Increasing Offender Responsibility and Accountability

The current disciplinary system will be modernized and enhanced, including:

Furthermore, adding a requirement in the CCRA to complete a correctional plan for each offender underscores the plan's importance. The legislation will require that a plan include certain elements such as behavioural expectations, objectives for program participation, and an offender meeting their court-ordered obligations, such as restitution to victims or child support.

The Safe Streets and Communities Act also includes provisions to:

Ensuring the Parole Board of Canada has the capacity and power it needs to protect society

The CCRA will be amended to:

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