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Corrections and Conditional Release Act

Bill to Amend--Second Reading--Debate Continued

June 28, 2021

Honourable senators, I look forward to the opportunity to more fully debate Bill S-219. In the interest of ongoing, consistent, careful and evidence-based reflections on the goals and impact of the criminal legal system, we must consider what approaches will be most likely to realize our objectives for systems that contribute to more just, fair and inclusive communities.

Four decades of work with and on behalf of marginalized, victimized, criminalized and institutionalized youth, men, and especially women, make it painfully clear that the same factors of systemic inequality and exclusion that make women — particularly Indigenous and racialized women — the fastest growing prison population in Canada have also contributed to putting them disproportionately at risk of victimization. It is likewise painfully clear that conventional responses to victimization by encouraging people to play a role in the criminal legal system and advocating harsh punishments are not meeting their needs. These responses are not providing people who have been victimized with the social, economic, health and personal supports that they need and to which they are entitled. Nor are they successfully deterring crime, preventing future victimization or making communities safer.

I look forward to our further careful examination of this bill. But in the meantime, I adjourn the debate for the balance of my time. Thank you.

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