Feds Cool to Canadians Jailed Abroad

10 Jan, 2013

Since 2004, after the International Transfer of Offenders Act became law in Canada, the federal government has increasingly denied transfers to Canadian citizens serving time in penitentiaries in foreign countries, especially after the Conservatives formed a minority government in 2006.

When Canada began signing bilateral treaties with other countries in 1978, the goal was to have Canadian citizens returned so they serve time in Canadian penitentiaries where there is relatively more emphasis on rehabilitation. It was considered a better option than having an inmate returned to Canada having gone through no rehabilitative programs and disconnected from their support network at the end of their sentence. From 1978 to March 2010, 1531 Canadians were transferred—almost 80% of those were from the United States.

The 2004 International Transfers of Offenders Act has since given the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness more discretion when considering applications referred to the minister by Correctional Services Canada and data shows the door continues to close shut.

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