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Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced legislation Friday that places new restrictions on violent offenders deemed not criminally responsible for their actions, invoking a horrific case in British Columbia that saw a mentally ill father kill his three children.
The proposed legislation would allow courts to designate people who are found not criminally responsible for violent crimes as "high risk." Such offenders could be held longer without a formal review, would be ineligible to leave their forensic facility by themselves and would find it far more difficult to leave even with an escort. The hearing will determine whether Schoenborn, who is currently confined to a psychiatric hospital, should be given any access to the outside world.
"They tend to be thinking that these people haven't been Nike Free Rn Flyknit Wolf Grey Mens punished enough. They're not realizing that they're not criminally responsible they're not being punished at all."
"Currently, there is no obligation under law or regulation to warn the families of their victims that these violent people are returning to the community," he said. Review Board concluded the lead psychiatrist at the Port Coquitlam facility could decide whether to allow Schoenborn to take escorted trips into the community, where, it turned out, Schoenborn's ex wife also lives.
Stacy Galt, Darcie Clarke's cousin, said the new legislation will put victims such as her family first.
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"When atrocious events do occur, and the state fails to act, fails to do all it can do to defend innocent citizens, it violates the inherent trust upon which its existence is justified," Harper said in Burnaby, east of Vancouver.
The psychiatrist said later he didn't know Clarke was living nearby.
A 2006 study for the federal Justice Department looked at 12 years of data and found almost a quarter of offenders declared not criminally responsible spend at least 10 years in the system.
cent, compared to more than 40 per cent for convicts who leave the federal prison system.
"Our current system allows a triple child murderer to be given fast freedoms and the mother of his victims to have no say."
risk category for not criminally responsible
rates for such offenders are roughly eight per Nike Flyknit Chukka Sneakerboot Women's Shoe
"We've got people cutting people's head's off, killing little children, so it really does attract a lot of media attention, and I know the public looks at that and thinks, 'Wow, how can these people ever be back in our midst?"' said MacAlister.
"Darcie did nothing wrong, yet she has been held victim by outdated laws and early reviews there is an imbalance in the system," Galt told Friday's news conference.
current law balances public safety and treating the offender, while calling for the "least onerous and least restrictive conditions" available. The new legislation removes that language, he said.
About three quarters of them were diagnosed with schizophrenia or an affective disorder, such as being bipolar or suffering major depression. Some 57 per cent had a prior conviction before being declared NCR.
Harper, who said he met with Schoenborn's ex wife, Darcie Clarke, earlier Friday morning, said the case exposed "glaring gaps" in the system.
The changes prompted immediate skepticism from mental health experts and advocates, who suggested the Conservative government is viewing mentally ill offenders as criminals who deserve to be punished, rather than patients who need treatment.
"I think that is concerning, given that we're talking about people who have committed acts because they're sick," said Simpson, who is also a professor at the University of Toronto.
Offenders deemed to be a high risk under the new law could not be released until a court agrees. They would never receive unescorted passes to leave their facility and could only receive escorted passes in "narrow circumstances," the government said.
Simpson said the proposed legislation represents a significant shift by placing public safety above all other considerations.
But MacAlister said the new restrictions aren't supported by evidence about mentally ill offenders and instead appear primarily designed to pacify public anger generated by high profile cases.
The federal government could not provide any statistics that show how often people who are declared not criminally responsible end up re offending, but experts say it's rare.
Currently, a review board chaired by a judge and including mental health professionals assesses such cases on an annual basis. Under the new law, high risk offenders could be held for up to three years before their status is reviewed.
"We've heard from Canadians loud and clear: Something here is very wrong."
Dr. Sandy Simpson of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health said recidivism Nike Flyknit Us
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