Dock Prison Wages to Pay Crime Victims: Ombudsman

Dock Prison Wages to Pay Crime Victims: Ombudsman

Postby la-leepatterson » Fri May 07, 2010 5:56 pm

Dock prison wages to pay crime victims: Ombudsman
Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service: Monday, March 29, 2010

The federal government should dock prison wages of offenders who owe court-ordered restitution to their victims, says a report to be released Tuesday.
Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images, National Post
19
Share OTTAWA — The federal government should dock prison wages of offenders who owe court-ordered restitution to their victims, says a report to be released Tuesday.


The recommendation is among more than a dozen contained in a report from the federal ombudsman for victims of crime.


"Restitution is not about punishing inmates by taking their money," said Steve Sullivan's report. "Rather it is about promoting a sense of accountability and responsibility."


The report urges the Harper government to introduce a law that would garnishee "reasonable amounts" for prisoner wages, which are about $7 per day.


The Conservative throne speech earlier this month promised to make it mandatory for judges to order offenders to pay a federal victims' surcharge, which is intended to go toward victim services.


The surcharge is set at 15 per cent of any fine levied against an offender for a crime. The extra federal charge ranges from about $8 for petty crimes to $100 or more for drinking and driving.


If the crime merits jail time instead of a fine, offenders must pay a set amount, depending on the offence.


A federal study two years ago showed that judges routinely waive the surcharge when they believe it would cause undue hardship to the offender.


The finding prompted Sullivan to write the government suggesting that prison wages be docked to improve victims' services, given that programs have suffered because of non-payment of restitution.


The government, in the weeks before the last federal election, said the idea had merit, but the measure was not contained in a bill on victims' rights, introduced last year, nor was it mentioned in the throne speech.


The proposed legislation, introduced last June, died when Parliament was prorogued in December.


The ombudsman's report urges the government to revive its bill which, among other things, proposed to enshrine victims' rights into law, building on existing policy.


"In Canada, under the current system, victims' rights are not enforceable," says the report.


The report renews calls for victims to have more information about the offenders who harmed them, including the special programs they attend in prison and the reasons behind a transfer to another penitentiary.


The proposed legislation would have given victims more information about offenders during their imprisonment and parole proceedings.


Chris McCluskey, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, would not comment on whether the bill will be resurrected.


"We are committed to cracking down on criminals and protecting the rights of victims," he wrote in an email. "We will continue to introduce reforms to that effect."


In the recent throne speech, the Conservatives also promised other measures for crime victims.


The government said it will introduce a new law that would give employees in federally regulated industries the right to unpaid leave if they or their family members are victimized by crime and give families of murder victims access to special employment insurance benefits.


Sullivan became the first federal victims' ombudsman when he was appointed three years ago. The government recently told him that his term would not be renewed when it expires next month.


© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service


Read it on Global News: Dock prison wages to pay crime victims: Ombudsman
la-leepatterson
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:03 pm

Return to Victims' Rights Laws

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron