National Victims Week: Make Criminals Pay
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
With National Victims Awareness Week underway, those advocates for Victims Rights want to ensure serious time for serious crimes complete with restitution for victims, restitution not from the government, but from the criminals themselves. Currently victims are out of pocket for trials, security, counselling, while the criminal gets his paid for by the Canadian Taxpayer, in addition the criminals gets three squares a day, tv and other luxuries while his tax payer paid lawyers work behind the scenes on his behalf to get his freedom.
The COnservative government has been trying to push thier crime bill and similar bills through the Liberal Dominated Senate with little success, as the Liberal Senate Majority's Lack of Moral Compass continues to frustrate Victims of Crimes who dearly wish our out of touch Justice system to adhere to already strict laws in place and not continually misinterpret them which allows Criminals to walk free amongst us with little time served or restitution for it's victims. Certainly a Conservative Crime Bill we can all agree on, as most everyone has been, or knows someone who is a victim of crime and the anguish which accompanies the victims life forever.
Make them payOmbudsman wants restitution for victimsBy KATHLEEN HARRIS, NATIONAL BUREAU CHIEF
Canada's victims' ombudsman wants more offenders to pay for their crimes, including financial restitution for the psychological and physical harm they caused.
Steve Sullivan says restitution orders are rarely imposed by judges or enforced by authorities. As a result, victims must carry the costs themselves or engage in battle through civil courts.
Sullivan is urging the Conservative government to explore options to shift the burden back on the offender, including new sentencing regimes, garnishing prison wages or making restitution a condition of parole. He also believes judges should be encouraged to step up and expand the use of restitution orders beyond property offences to violent, sexual and child exploitation crimes.
"If you talk about accountability and rehabilitation, and the offender can pay, then why should the state?" he said. "Where possible, I think we should be encouraging offenders to take responsibility for the harm they have caused." While there are some provincial and federal compensation programs in place, Sullivan said most victims would prefer to have restitution from the offender than the government.Through spokesman John Brent, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said offender accountability is a "key pillar of corrections transformation," and that he has written to the Correctional Service of Canada Commissioner asking him to examine the issue."We will ensure that all options for ensuring inmate accountability, including with respect to restitution, are fully considered," he said. "The victims' ombudsman has provided valuable input on this issue and we will continue to engage him on this matter."Sullivan points to a 2004 Justice Department study that put the price of pain and suffering endured by Canadian victims of crime at about $36 billion a year. Overall, crime in Canada cost an estimated $70 billion annually, with the majority, about $47 billion, borne by the victims.The office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime was established a year ago by the Conservative government to give victims a stronger voice in the criminal justice system through individual assistance and federal policy recommendations. In the first year, Sullivan's office has received about 500 letters, phone calls and e-mails requesting help for services.While the bulk of issues concern CSC and the National Parole Board, some complaints have taken him to the door of other federal departments, including Citizenship and Immigration. Right now, when an offender is subject to a deportation order and is turned over to the authority of the Canada Border Services Agency, the victim has no ability to get information. In one case, the victim of a foreign national sex offender had no ability to determine if he'd left Canada."Here's a guy who was in the country illegally, sexually assaulted at least three women and is being removed from Canada, yet his privacy rights take precedent over her right to security and safety," he said. "This is a gap in the system. Victims should have the same rights in the immigration system as they do in the Corrections system."This is National Victims of Crime Awareness Week.