Coming Events This Year
This year, we plan to compile the tangible changes achieved since we first implemented our accreditation process. We will learn the initial findings of a research project aimed at evaluating the differences between operational units accredited for program delivery and others that have not yet met the accreditation standards.
In addition, we will continue our review of six other institutions and sixteen parole districts.
On the international front, other review panels will examine programs that address violence (June), sex offender programs (August), family violence programs (February 2001), and substance abuse programs (March 2001). Accreditation work shops will be among the activities at two international conferences for corrections professionals. And for the first time, in January 2001, French-speaking accreditation panels will review programs designed and delivered in French.
We have made progress towards attaining the objectives of our accreditation program and intend to move full steam ahead this year. Check our bulletins on InfoNet for news about the other programs, institutions and parole districts to be accredited.
Regardless of their political orientation, most people believe that the sentencing process is flawed. Right-wing critics argue that sentences are not tough enough; people on the other side of the political spectrum say that we imprison too many people, and that serving time in prison does not reduce the chance that the offender will re-offend. Most offenders sent to a provincial institution serve relatively short periods of time: the average is three weeks. Perhaps there is a better way of punishing these offenders, a way that will be more meaningful to them and less expensive for the rest of us.
"Lifestyle" sentences are punishments which do not involve custody, but which have a more important impact on an offender's life. The essence of a lifestyle sentence is that some privilege or right is temporarily withdrawn, or property is temporarily impounded. Offenders may be required to observe a curfew, may be prohibited from driving, or required to stay away from any place of public entertainment. Let's consider a concrete example:
John Smith has been convicted of assault, for the third time. On all three occasions he had been drinking with members of his rugby team in a bar. Upon leaving the bar, he assaulted an innocent member of the public. A typical sentence for this offence under the current sentencing process would be a brief period of custody, say 30 days followed by a one-year term of probation with minimal requirements to keep the peace and report once a month to a probation officer.
A lifestyle sentence in this case would include the following elements, all of which would be in force for a year. First, Smith would be prohibited from entering any licensed establishment. Second, he would be suspended from playing in any officially-sponsored rugby league. Third he would have to observe a curfew from 7 p.m. on the weekend. Fourth, while the curfew was in effect, no person not normally a resident in Smith's abode would be permitted to visit. Finally, he would be required to pay a sum of money to the victim. Thus no prison, at no cost to the community, but the sentence is likely to have considerable impact on the offender.
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