During the 2006 Canadian election, the Conservative party proposed a series of crime reduction strategies in their political platform in order to respond to public discontent (Doob & Webster 2016, p. 359; Piquero & Blumstein 2007, p. 267). The media’s misrepresentation of the criminal justice system – such as highlighting serious crimes, lenient sentences, and high profile cases – distorted and diminished public confidence (Tonry 2013, p.246-247). In light of their limited understanding of the justice system, the populace began to support punitive sentencing (Tonry 2013, p. 246-247). In a recently online article, Conservatives Want Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Fentanyl Crimes (Vice 2016, September 21, p.2), Rachel Brown describes how the recent media coverage of fentanyl related deaths has caused a moral panic in the community. Brown notes that recent conservative moral entrepreneurs – “individuals, groups, or organizations that seek action against certain groups of people or certain behaviours and bring pressure on the legislators to enact criminal statutes”(Griffiths 2014, p.15) – are pressing for mandatory minimum sentences on fentanyl trafficking crimes despite the ample empirical data that suggests mandatory minimums are ineffective and unconstitutional.
Consequently, upon their appointment to Parliament, the Conservative government, led by Stephen Harper, passed their tough on crime policy that stressed prison, incapacitation, and punishment; this included the introduction of mandatory minimum sentences (Doob & Webster 2016, p. 359; Piquero & Blumstein 2007, p. 267). However, Tonry (2013, p.247) has questioned the reasoning behind the government’s policy as crime rates in Canada have been decreasing since the 1990s. Gr...
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...es were unsuccessful as a means of reducing crime – such as producing rigid and unconstitutional legislature. Instead, they adversely effected sentencing disparity (Tonry 2013, p.474) by removing the human mechanisms that could gauge the complexity of aggravating and mitigating factors. The only thing certain regarding mandatory minimums, is that they provided Parliament with more power over the criminal justice system. As of recent, (The Globe and Mail 2016, November 01, p.1) Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced that the government will be removing the tough on crime and mandatory minimum policies in order to increase judicial discretion. In this news article, (The Globe and Mail 2016, November 01, p.1) Sean Fine reports that the government plans to concern itself more with marginalized groups, “mental illness, addiction, poverty, and indigenous issues”.
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- During the 2006 Canadian election, the Conservative party proposed a series of crime reduction strategies in their political platform in order to respond to public discontent (Doob & Webster 2016, p. 359; Piquero & Blumstein 2007, p. 267). The media’s misrepresentation of the criminal justice system – such as highlighting serious crimes, lenient sentences, and high profile cases – distorted and diminished public confidence (Tonry 2013, p.246-247). In light of their limited understanding of the justice system, the populace began to support punitive sentencing (Tonry 2013, p.... [tags: Mandatory sentencing, Crime, Judicial discretion]
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