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April 2016 Archives

Credit where credit is due: The Constitutionality of Pre-sentence Custody

Last week, in R v. Safarzadeh-Markhali, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down with a specific provision of the Criminal Code that stemmed from the Conservative government's Truth in Sentencing Act. The act limited pre-sentence custody for people who were detained awaiting trial primarily because of their criminal records. This means that the law that limited people from getting enhanced credit in this situation is no longer valid. 

Tasked with change: finding solutions to the Ottawa jail

The Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre has long been plagued with overcrowding and poor conditions. Lately, it seems that the situation is getting worse and worse, with daily reports of new and horrific examples of the health and safety issues. After the reports of inmates sleeping in shower stalls, to the overuse of segregation for mentally ill inmates and two deaths in custody in the last few weeks, Minister Yasir Naqvi has now announced a taskforce to deal with the issues there. Whether this taskforce will be successful in affecting real change remains to be seen. Its members face some significant hurdles, particularly that some of the root causes are beyond their control. 

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