Critics around the country are speaking out against new legislation that would prevent inmates serving life sentences from applying for parole, arguing that the proposed policy is unnecessary and too costly.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay defended the bill during a press conference Jan. 23.
“We are talking about individuals who have committed the most heinous crimes serving an entire life in prisons,” he said. “We are talking about multiple murderers, multiple sexual assaults on the most vulnerable- our children.”
But critics of the proposed policy say that it would lead to unnecessary spending of taxpayer dollars.
Those incarcerated for violent acts do not often re-offend if released, Howard Sapers, Correctional Investigator for Canada, told the CBC on Jan. 27.
Recidivism rates low
The numbers back his claim– statistics released by the same news agency show that 97 per cent of offenders released on full parole last year completed their parole without offending.
The new bill would keep people in prison longer than necessary, diverting tax money from other priorities like health care and education, says Kim Pate, executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.
In an interview with News Talk 650 CKOM, Pate reported that it costs the prison system $140, 000 to $150, 000 per year for male inmates, and above $200, 000 to keep women incarcerated.
The proposed bill will be discussed during the current sitting of Parliament, which will be in session until Feb. 6.
Photo courtesy of iPolitics.