Watch this video and think about this issue seriously. Regardless of where you stand I think the following is obvious.
Many victims of family members who have been killed by the most serious criminals are taunted whenever a parole hearing or Faint Hope Clause is invoked.
Canada at one time had the death penalty but in 1976 after it was abolished those who would have faced the death penalty had their sentences commuted to life sentences. Many of those might have served a true life sentence. This would mean that they would serve the rest of their lives in prison.
This is no longer the case.
Now a life sentence means 25 years. Or does it? Not necessarily. When for instance, you read that someone is sentenced to 25 years without any chance of parole, this doesn’t mean they will not be released before 25 years. They can apply for the Faint Hope Clause within 15 years. This has now been changed by the Conservative Government but it doesn’t apply to everyone. Only “offenders who commit murder on or after the day that this legislation comes into force will no longer be able to apply to be eligible for early parole.”1
If someone is convicted of second degree murder then they would be sentenced to 25 years but they can apply for parole in 10 years.
So not only does a life sentence not really mean life, it doesn’t necessarily mean 25 years. Notwithstanding the horrible nature of these crimes and the fact that these people will re-offend, this along with victims’ families being taunted at parole hearings might be part of the motivating reason that we have a considerable portion of the Canadian population still in favour of the death penalty.
What can be done?
1. Make a life sentence really mean life.
or at the very least,
2. Eliminate the Faint Hope Clause for everyone it might apply to. Conservatives have done so going forward. But it only “offenders who commit murder on or after the day that this legislation comes into force will no longer be able to apply to be eligible for early parole.”1
3. Do not allow for parole until at least after the 25 years is served.
4. Beef up the Parole Board process to have to really utilize the information that the experts have recommended with regard to release. Now what happens is that a team of professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrist, etc. will follow the prisoner and recommend whether he/she will likely re-offend, etc. Often what happens is that although the experts indicate that the likelihood is very high, the parole board may still release these people. To avoid this, if recidivism (likelihood to re-offend) is high the person should not even get to the Parole Board, because this Board can completely ignore what the experts have said and release the person.