Wednesday, March 25, 2009

P.M. to Introduce Bill to End "Two for One" Prison-Time Credit

CTV reports:

CTV News has learned that the government plans to introduce legislation on Thursday to end the "two-for-one" credit for convicted felons for time spent in pre-trial custody.

The credit aims to compensate for so-called "dead time" spent in overcrowded detention centres that do not have rehabilitation programs or many of the amenities of long-term prison housing.

... Canada's criminal code says that judges may take pre-trial custody into account and that discretion has become a near-standard practice, backed up by support from various appeal courts.

The government legislation would take away the judge's discretion, but some believe that longer sentences given out under the bill could be subject to a Charter of Rights challenge.

...However, the opposition Liberals say they will support the Conservatives' move to kill the credit.

Meanwhile, in America...:

The New York Times reports on the number of states reversing course and closing prisons as a means of saving money.

Some states, like Colorado and Kansas, are closing prisons. Others, like New Jersey, have replaced jail time with community programs or other sanctions for people who violate parole. Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill this month that enhances the credits some inmates can earn toward release.

Michigan is doing a little of all of this, in addition to freeing some offenders who have yet to serve their maximum sentence. And last Wednesday, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, a Democrat, signed legislation to repeal the state’s death penalty, which aside from ethical concerns was seen as costly.

(H/T: Talk Left)

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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