Federal Liberals To Scrap Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Drugs And Gun Crimes

Federal Liberals To Scrap Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Drugs And Gun Crimes

The Trudeau government is bringing in its justice reform agenda. It intends the remove mandatory minimum penalties for drug offences and some gun-related crimes. The government says the penalties do not make Canadians safer, and unfairly affect Indigenous and Black offenders. The legislation would also allow for greater use of conditional sentences — such as house arrest, counselling or treatment — for people who do not pose a threat to public safety.

From the government press release:

  • Repeal MMPs for certain offences to address the disproportionate impact on Indigenous and Black offenders, as well as those struggling with substance use and addiction. This would restore the ability of a judge to impose appropriate sentences that respond to the facts of the case before them, including the individual’s experience with systemic racism and the risk they pose to public safety. This moves away from the one-size-fits-all approach, which has not deterred crime but has resulted in unfair outcomes and a less effective criminal justice system, as well as longer and more complex trials.
  • Allow for greater use of CSOs in cases where an offender faces a term of less than two years imprisonment and does not pose a threat to public safety. Under these circumstances, judges would have the option to order that the term be served in the community under strict conditions, including house arrest, curfew, and mandatory counselling or treatment for substance abuse. This change would allow for more effective rehabilitation and reintegration by enabling individuals to maintain their employment, or continue caring for children or family members in need. This approach has been proven to reduce recidivism.
  • Require police and prosecutors to consider other measures for simple possession of drugs such as diversion to addiction treatment programs, rather than laying charges or prosecuting individuals for simple possession of an illegal drug. The proposed amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act reinforce the Government’s commitment to treat substance use a health issue, and address the opioid crisis. It also aligns with calls heard from many in the law enforcement community and local leaders across the country.

Here is yesterday’s announcement:

Photo Credit: Liberal Party of Canada

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