2013 International Prison Justice Day Activities

14 Aug, 2013

The 2013 International Prison Justice Day activities included a presentation under a blue sky in Lafontaine Park by Jean-Claude Bernheim, Lecturer at Laval University and recipient of the 2012 Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award. Mr. Bernheim made some interesting points:

  • Regarding fear and safety in Canada today, most Canadians are not afraid of being victims of crime, but rather are afraid of losing their jobs, falling ill etc.
  • The crime rate in Canada peaked in 1997. By 2012, it had dropped to the same level as in 1962.
  • When Canadians get their crime information from the media, 80% think that punishments are not severe enough. However, when Canadians are able to read the statements of the prosecution, the defense and the judge, 70% of Canadians find that the punishments given are too severe. This is especially true regarding crimes committed against property.
  • How the taxpayers’ money is spent (2007 figures): $11 billion for Canada’s police force; $1 billion for the courts; $1 billion for the provincial prison systems; $2 – $3 billion for the federal penitentiary system. The federal penitentiary system has 18,600 employees and 13,500 inmates.
  • Why do cars have speedometers that go up to 200 – 250 km/hour when the speed limit is 100?
  • Most crime in Canada is committed by people aged 15-18. After that age, people commit relatively few crimes.
  • 20% of Canadian males and 6% of females have criminal records, about 4.2 million adults.
  • A person’s criminal record is automatically erased on one’s 80th birthday
  • The majority of Canadians believe in rehabilitation!

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1 Comment

  1. Bob
    August 15, 2013

    “When Canadians get their crime information from the media, 80% think that punishments are not severe enough. However, when Canadians are able to read the statements of the prosecution, the defense and the judge, 70% of Canadians find that the punishments given are too severe.” I get some comfort from this. I know of many of us, myself included, who have lost a great deal as a result of the sensationalized media. And those who say they mistrust the media, even those, fall victim to its magnetic allure. Because of the media, those closest to me were repelled into a permanent distance. I mean family and friends. Yet, what would have happened had they read the court documents when I went for sentencing — the judge suspended my sentence and I was immediately released. But I remain forever condemned in the minds of family and friends because the media holds more sway than the truth as revealed in the court documents. Nevertheless, I am comforted by the aforementioned quote.

    As for, “A person’s criminal record is automatically erased on one’s 80th birthday.,” this is true in Norway,but does anyone have any reference to how this applies in Canada?

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