Brandon, MB - Larry Maguire, Member of Parliament for Brandon-Souris fully supports the recent announcement from Prime Minister Stephen Harper to introduce legislation to further protect families by ending the practice of automatic early release for repeat violent offenders.
The Government has determined that this is the wrong approach when it comes to repeat violent offenders. Therefore, under the proposed legislation, repeat violent offenders will no longer be granted statutory release after serving two-thirds of their sentence. These measures reflect the Government of Canada's ongoing commitment to keep our streets and communities safe while ensuring that the rights of victims are placed over those of criminals.
"It is unacceptable that individuals fall prey to violent offenders, who have benefitted from early release after repeatedly committing violent crimes," said Maguire. "We must ensure that violent offenders are kept off the streets and out of our communities."
Statutory release is a presumptive release by law at the two-thirds mark of a fixed sentence, and takes effect automatically unless the Parole Board of Canada determines that the offender is likely to commit another serious offence.
Under the current laws, eligible federal offenders serve the final third of their sentence in the community, under supervision and subject to conditions which can include a residency condition (i.e., reside at a 'halfway-house'). Only offenders serving determinate (i.e., fixed-term) sentences are eligible for statutory release, whereas inmates serving a life sentence or an indeterminate sentence are always ineligible.
The proposed amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act would seriously restrict statutory release for repeat federal offenders who have previously received a prison sentence of five years or more that includes a serious violent component. The amendments will allow repeat offenders to be exposed to correctional programming in penitentiaries for a longer period of time to change behaviour which contributes to reoffending.
These changes complement other tough on crime actions introduced by the Government, including:
- Tougher prison sentences for sexual offences against children, serious gun crimes, impaired driving, and selling drugs to children;
- Providing the courts with the discretion to end sentence discounts for multiple murders; and,
- Repealing the Faint Hope Clause which allowed offenders serving a life sentence with a parole ineligibility period of more than 15 years to apply for parole after serving 15 years in prison.