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Storseth introduces bill to crack down on parole and release offenders

Jun 24, 2014 09:45 am | Sam Macdonald

In an effort to crack down on crime rates in an area of the justice system where it is severe, Westlock-St. Paul MP Brian Storseth has introduced a new Private Members Bill on parole reform.

Bill C-616, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act contains amendments to Section 135 and 145 of the Criminal Code. It increases the severity of the punishment for people committing crimes while on parole or conditional release.

“The point behind this new legislation is the fact there is a disproportionately small number of offenders who are responsible for a disproportionately large number of offenses,” said Storseth, when speaking to the Journal last week.

The MP noted it is important to target offenders with a high rate of repeating crimes, and keep them behind bars so they are less likely to commit more offenses.

“When we’re talking about repeat offenders, we’re not just talking about a few times. There are 10 to 20-time repeat offenders, and the crimes they commit escalate,” said Storseth.

A press release from Storseth’s office states that the new bill will impose statutory consequences on offenders who commit new offenses on conditional release, or breach the terms of their parole. It will require parole supervisors to report any such breaches of conditions to the appropriate authorities.

If an offender does breach conditions, future justice decisions will take the breaches into account.

“A criminal committing more crimes while on parole or conditional release is showing disregard for the conditions of their parole or release,” said Storseth. “We ask that people respect society and be accountable. If they don’t do that, we need to have an accurate record of their breaches of conditions, and they need to be punished.”

A person found guilty of failure to comply with conditions, under the amendments will be found as committing an indictable offense, and will be liable for prison for up to two years, he noted.

Storseth described early release as “a privilege,” saying that any breaches in those situations should be recorded and should not go unpunished.

“If that leads to revocation of parole, that’s how it goes,” he said.

The Edmonton Police Association, the Canadian Police Association, and the RCMP have already endorsed the bill.

“The bill was brought forward to me, by the Canadian Police Association. We’ve been working on it for a couple of months now, getting it ready to go. In my creation of this bill, we’ve worked with both the Minister of Justice and representatives from the RCMP,” said Storseth.

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