Parliamentary Committee Notes: Repeat violent offenders and offender reintegration
Date: March 20, 2023
Secteur / Agence: CPB
- Our Government is committed to the safety and security of Canadians. We take the issue of community safety with the utmost seriousness as we know far too well the consequences that crime has in our communities.
- The solutions to addressing repeat violent offences are complex, but one of the ways we can do this is by working to address the root causes of crime.
- Through the National Crime Prevention Strategy, Public Safety Canada invests over $45 million annually to support the implementation and evaluation of local, targeted, crime prevention initiatives with the objective of developing and sharing knowledge of what works, to prevent and reduce crime among at-risk populations and vulnerable communities.
- Any solution to violence in our communities must also empower local governments in their prevention and intervention efforts. Through the Building Safer Communities Fund, $250 million is provided directly to municipalities and Indigenous communities, to support community-led prevention and intervention activities to tackle the root causes of gun and gang crime.
- We’re also providing over $358 million as part of the Guns and Gangs Violence Action Fund to support prevention, intervention, suppression and enforcement initiatives at the provincial/territorial, municipal and community levels.
- The Government of Canada is also supporting community safety through the rehabilitation of offenders and their successful reintegration. The Federal Framework to Reduce Recidivism is the Government of Canada’s first step in putting together a plan that identifies crucial factors that impact why people reoffend and how to support safe and successful reintegration into the community.
- Developed in consultation with a diverse array of stakeholders, it outlines five priority themes key to the successful reintegration of offenders: housing, education, employment, health and positive support networks.
- Recognizing that some individuals continue to be involved in the criminal justice system, Public Safety Canada provides funding annually to provinces and territories to enhance their capacity to identify and track high-risk, violent offenders and facilitate prosecution and sentencing of these offenders if they re-offend.
- We know that there are many reasons why individuals come into contact with the criminal justice system, and therefore in order to build stronger and safer communities, it is essential that a multi-sectoral partnership approach be adopted to ensure that a continuum of services are provided to those most at-risk.
- Community safety doesn’t happen by itself. By engaging multiple sectors, partners can leverage knowledge, expertise, reach, and resources, benefiting from their combined and varied strengths as they work toward a shared goal.
Increasingly, jurisdictions across Canada have been looking for ways to address the issue of repeat and violent offending. It is understood that due to its complexities, there will be several ways that partners can work together to bring forward solutions.
Public Safety Canada's National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS) provides funding to projects that contribute to preventing and reducing crime in Canada and to increasing knowledge about what works in crime prevention. The NCPS aims to deliver concrete results in local communities by funding and evaluating interventions to prevent and reduce offending among those most at-risk, especially:
- Children, youth and young adults who show multiple risk factors known to be related to offending behaviour;
- High risk offenders in communities; and
- Indigenous and northern communities, especially those with high crime rates and persistent crime problems.
Within these populations, the NCPS will also target specific priority crime issues such as drug-related crime, youth gangs and gun violence.
While Public Safety (PS) also plays a critical role in providing funding and programs to provinces, territories and municipalities for broader public safety objectives. PS may leverage these initiatives in a broader response to public safety concerns and to help mitigate risks associated with accused persons released from custody prior to trial.
These initiatives have included taking action to address the challenge of gun crime with a comprehensive plan that increases resources to communities and aims at removing guns from the streets, including funding directed to provinces and territories as part of the Guns and Gangs Violence Action Fund under the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence. This program, works to support prevention, intervention, suppression and enforcement initiatives at the provincial/territorial, municipal and community levels.
The large majority of individuals who do become incarcerated will be released in their lifetime. The Federal Framework to Reduce Recidivism (the Framework) was tabled in Parliament on June 22, 2022. It is the first step in putting together a plan that identifies crucial factors that impact why people reoffend and how to support safe and successful reintegration into the community. Rehabilitation is provided through effective correctional programs and interventions in the institutions where most offenders serving a sentence reside prior to being supervised in the community. Offenders follow a correctional plan, throughout their sentence, to help address the factors contributing to their criminal behaviour.
The Framework points to the intent to develop a comprehensive implementation plan by June 2023 that will direct efforts and resources to address the unique circumstances of offenders exiting the correctional system in order to assist with their successful reintegration into the community following incarceration and to prevent reoffending.
In 2007, Public Safety Canada created the National Flagging System Grant Program. Public Safety offers grants to provinces and territories participating in the NFS to enhance their capacity to identify and track high-risk, violent offenders and facilitate prosecution and sentencing of these offenders if they re-offend. The National Flagging System is both a database and a network of provincial/territorial officials who are responsible for identifying high-risk offenders for flagging purposes. The objectives of the NFS are:
- To assist Crown prosecutors to more effectively prosecute high-risk violent offenders;
- To prevent high-risk violent offenders from falling through jurisdictional gaps in the criminal justice system, should they move to another part of the country; and
- To encourage prosecutors to make Dangerous and Long-Term Offender applications in appropriate cases.
Prepared by: Nikki Maier, Manager, Community Safety and Crime Division, 343-573-4837
Approved by: Talal Dakalbab, Assistant Deputy Minister, Crime Prevention Branch, 613-852-1167
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