Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that he is planning on releasing new legislation that will stiffen penalties for violent, repeat offenders. The Conservative government is in the first stages of developing new legislation that would mean that offenders, who have been convicted in committing first-degree murders, will be jailed for life without the possibility of parole. This legislation applies to several groups of those committing first-degree murder charges, such as those who killed police, corrections officers, murder during a sexual assault, kidnapping or terrorism. Currently, the penalty for first-degree murder is a parole review after the mandatory 25-year sentence is done. In short, life imprisonment would actually mean life.
The legislation, which has not been approved by all members of the PM’s cabinet, is being accelerated in the lieu of the events that transpired on January 17th, 2015: two Mounties were shot in Alberta in which one was killed. The new bill is set to be released just weeks after a new, strict anti-terrorism bill is being released in the first week of February. The new legislation is in-line with Harper’s tough-on-crime policies, which has been a hallmark of his prime ministerial terms. Justice Minister Peter MacKay say that Canadians would agree with the contents of this legislation as they do not understand why criminals – who commit serious, violent crimes – would ever be released from prison after receiving a life sentence. In the United States of America, which has the similar penalty of “life without parole,” many have called this type of sentencing “death by incarceration.”
Edward Prutschi was a guest on Jerry Agar’s show, and was joined by Randi Rahamim and Chris Stockwell to discuss a slew of issues. Jerry Agar asked Edward Prutschi, what he thought about the Conservative Parties new planned legislation that will make life imprisonment actual life imprisonment, and not subject to parole review. Mr. Prutschi corrected Mr. Agar by saying that this is not what we actually do now. Mr. Prutschi said that if you are convicted of a first-degree murder, you are not subject to a “fuzzy review,” it is just your earliest opportunity to make an application for parole. This application, Mr. Prutschi continues, will usually be denied and most murderers will serve out the entirety of their sentence in jail. Mr. Prutschi, commenting directly on the legislation, has a specific question: name me a heinous murderer who has ever been actually released on parole. Murderers, Mr. Prutschi says, are statically one of the least likely, if not the least likely, to reoffend. Mr. Prutschi concludes that this legislation is not prudent and rather purposeless and should not be a major point of legal concern. Mr. Prutschi says that to him, it seems that it is an empty legislation and mere political posturing.