June, 18, 2015 Ottawa, Ontario Public Safety Canada
Today, the Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, highlighted the Royal Assent of Bill C-12, the Drug-Free Prisons Act. Our Government’s Bill amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to provide the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) with explicit legislative tools to reconsider the release of criminals who have been granted parole, but refused or failed a drug test prior to being released in the community.
The abuse of drugs and alcohol in penitentiaries presents a significant barrier for criminal rehabilitation efforts and can create an unsafe environment. Entrenching the PBC’s legislative authority when making conditional release decisions where a criminal’s drug or alcohol use is a factor supports the PBC’s mandate to contribute to a just, peaceful and safe society.
- Under this Bill, the PBC will have explicit legislative authority to:
- cancel parole should the criminal fail a drug test or refuse to take one; and
- impose a condition on parole, statutory release or unescorted temporary absence relating to the use of drugs and alcohol before the offender is released into the community.
- In addition to this Bill, our Government is pursuing other measures to tackle drug use in penitentiaries, including expanding the number of random drug tests of criminals, and increasing disciplinary fines. These initiatives complement provisions in the Safe Streets and Communities Act which introduced two-year mandatory prison penalties for drug trafficking in penitentiaries or on penitentiary grounds.
- In 2007 the Government initiated a comprehensive prison anti-drug strategy designed to help eliminate drugs from prison in order to create an environment that better facilitates rehabilitation. The funding provided under this strategy has provided enhanced tools, including ion scanners, drug-detector dogs and additional security intelligence officers to detect, disrupt, and deter drug use inside prisons.
- In fiscal year 2013-14, there were 2,406 drug seizures in penitentiaries.
- In that same timeframe, there were 2,510 charges with guilty outcomes brought against offenders who tested positive for drug use through a urinalysis test, or who simply refused to take a drug test.
“Drug use in Canadian society and in penitentiaries is a serious concern. In addition to other tools at our disposal, the tough new measures in our Government's Drug-Free Prisons Act will allow us to combat drug use in penitentiaries and ensure that criminals are held accountable for their drug or alcohol abuse while in prison.”
- The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Office of Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
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