ARCHIVED - Harper Government Ends Inmate Abuse of the Federal Corrections System

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OTTAWA, September 26, 2012 — Today, on behalf of the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Centre, Roxanne James, accompanied by Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, announced the government is again moving forward to strengthen the federal correctional system.

Private Member's Bill C-293 – An Act to Amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (vexatious complainants), which was introduced by MP James in September 2011, will be put to a final vote in the House of Commons this afternoon.

“With this legislation, our Government will hold offenders in federal institutions to account and address those who abuse the grievance process by filing numerous, frivolous complaints,” said MP James. “This Bill will help the Correctional Service of Canada meet its legal obligation to resolve legitimate offender grievances, and make better use of resources.” 

In recent years, a group of 20 offenders have each submitted more than 100 grievances a year (some submit 500-600 each), and account for 15% of all grievances filed.  This Bill will prohibit offenders who persistently file grievances that are frivolous, vexatious, or not made in good faith from filing further grievances unless special permission is granted by the Commissioner of Corrections.

Here are some examples of such complaints by offenders:

“Our Government is committed to inhibiting offenders' ability to abuse the corrections system,” added Senator Boisvenu. “Instead of being bogged down with frivolous complaints like the temperature of offenders' food, correctional officers with be able to shift their focus from the troublemakers to legitimate cases.”

The proposed changes would help ensure that those in the federal correctional system have access to a fair grievance process. Further, the proposed changes would reduce Correctional Service of Canada's administrative burden and save correctional resources.

The Harper Government has stated that ensuring offender accountability is a key priority of the criminal justice system. The changes are also consistent with the reforms found in the Safe Streets and Communities Act to increase emphasis on offender accountability. For more information, please see: Offender Accountability.

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Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

Julie Carmichael
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety

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