Rave Radio: Offline (0/0)
Email: Password:
News (Media Awareness Project) - CN ON: Crime Bill May Jam Windsor's New Jail
Title:CN ON: Crime Bill May Jam Windsor's New Jail
Published On:2012-01-26
Source:Windsor Star (CN ON)
Fetched On:2012-01-27 06:02:25

Mandatory Sentences to Blame

Despite building two new jails in the province, including one in
Windsor, there won't be enough cells in Ontario for inmates convicted
under the federal government's new crime bill, Ontario's Community
Safety and Correctional Minister told The Star Wednesday.

Madeleine Meilleur said she planned to make a pitch to the federal
government later in the day for $1 billion - the estimated cost of
another jail that could house 1,000 inmates. She said the province
should not be burdened with the costly consequences of the Safe
Streets and Communities Act, commonly referred to as Bill C-10.

The bill, expected to become law in March, will set new mandatory
minimum sentences for things like weapons offences and drug possession.

For instance, under the new legislation, anyone caught growing six
marijuana plants could face a minimum sentence of six months in a
provincial jail.

More people will go to jail, and for longer periods of time, Meilleur
said. "These are longer sentences.... The law takes away the
flexibility for a judge."

Some of the sentencing changes may result in convicts going to federal
penitentiaries rather than provincial prisons. For instance, gun
dealers will face a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in
prison - a sentence that would be served in a federal penitentiary.

Currently, the mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking in firearms
or ammunition is one year in jail - a sentence that is served in a
provincial prison.

Sentences of two years or more are served in the federal system, while
sentences of two years less a day or less are served in provincial prisons.

Asked if the province needs a new federal penitentiary, Meilleur said
that's a question for the federal government.

"I don't know if there is any capacity left," she said.

Meilleur said the new jails under construction replace "old,
inefficient" buildings, namely Windsor Jail and the Don Jail in
Toronto. "We have a plan to modernize our correctional services system."

She said the new, larger detention centres will reduce costs and,
because of their size, will be able to offer better rehabilitative
programs for inmates. "It's always cheaper to offer programs to more
people," Meilleur said.

The minister said Windsor's South West Detention Centre, which will
house 315 inmates and is set to open in 2014, will act as both a
remand centre for people in jail awaiting court dates and those
already sentenced for crimes.

"I think it will be full," said Frank Miller, head of the local
chapter of the Criminal Lawyers' Association.

The new legislation will make it more difficult to get bail. "That
will put stress on the detention centres," Miller said.

The effects of Bill C-10 remain to be seen. "Whether it's going to
cost a billion dollars, I don't think anyone knows."

But, he added, "there will be a large inmate population, no doubt."
Member Comments
No member comments available...