Liberals reinstate Canada’s prison watchdog fired by Harper government

Canada’s prison ombudsman, who was quietly fired by the Conservatives for being critical of the Harper government’s treatment of prisoners, is being reinstated by the Liberal Government.

“Today, I am pleased to announce that Mr. Howard Sapers has agreed to continue in his role as the Correctional Investigator of Canada,” Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said in a released statement. “Mr. Sapers’ appointment has been renewed for a one-year term and his experience and dedication will be invaluable as we move towards fulfilling the Government’s commitment to review the criminal justice system. I look forward working with him.”

“Since his initial appointment in February 2004, Mr. Sapers has demonstrated an objective and attentive approach in identifying issues of concern within the federal correctional system in a timely, fair and reasonable manner,” Goodale added. “Our Government believes in strong public institutions, in transparency and accountability, and that includes an accountable federal correctional system that is fair, humane, and effective.”

Sapers released a report last year in which he showed that Stephen Harper’s “tough-on-crime” policies were leading to too many inmates being released from prison with little to no preparation or supervision.

“Returning offenders to the community who are embittered by their incarceration experience, instead of (being) provided opportunities for positive change, is not in anyone’s interest,” Sapers said. “Graduated and structured release is less costly and more successful than releasing an offender directly from prison with limited or no period of supervision.”

Sapers had made it clear that he was frustrated with a lack of response by the Harper government to his previous recommendations.

“What I say to the government is, it’s time that we had a response,” he said. “It’s time that we knew what steps were being taken because these issues address the ability to prevent deaths in custody. It’s very important.”

The then Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney’s office reacted to Sapers’s report with its oft repeated line “At all times, our thoughts are with the victims of crime,” before proceeding to fire Sapers.

9 Responses to Liberals reinstate Canada’s prison watchdog fired by Harper government

  1. Realbertan says:

    Howard Saper believed that criminals and terrorists have rights, so Harper rightfully fired him. All the Liberals ever want to do is to coddle criminals and terrorists, especially Muslim ones, so they want to reappoint Saper.

    Canada needs Donald Trump!

    • Anonymous says:

      can’t wait until you get caught spewing hate speech and end up in jail where you belong. you’ll have so much fun it’ll be a real “eye” opener.

    • Paul Whistlecraft says:

      A real Albertan wouldn’t be so stupid as to say what Realbertan said here.
      To quote John Stuart Mill: “Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.”

    • John says:

      I think you need a hug. Do you have anyone you can turn to? A mother, sister, neighbour? You don’t have to sit and troll alone. Seek the friendship you crave.

  2. Anonymous says:

    He presented real and indisputable evidence that Conservative policies failed to address re-integration into society after jail, creating repeat offenders. Rather than acknowledge these simple facts, they choose to bury their heads further in the sand.

    I agree that the punishment should be fair and proportional to the crime committed. Mandatory minimum-sentences for minor offences and not providing a system of re-integration after time served are obvious deficiencies in the system that only stand to create more hardened criminals and more unnecessary victims of crime.

  3. Christian Stapff says:

    The “Realbertan” has revealed his ignorance and prejudice.
    No constructive suggestions? Hm!
    No evidence for what he asserts( my guess is he is white male and angry)
    I wonder if a day in prison will get him to change his view about being coddled?

    Moreover, we, yes we Canadians, have an obligation to reintegrate a person once they have served their time. It is counterproductive and not very smart to continue the punishment, as much as we may want to be vengeful, once a prisoner has left prison.
    Of course, some prisoners should never be released, if they pose a threat to reoffend, especially when we really about violent crimes.

  4. Paul Whistlecraft says:

    This is a smart, and easy, fix for the Trudeau government. Mr. Sapers is intelligent and caring, and he knows what he’s talking about. The Harperists totally ignored all the evidence coming out of the U.S. penal system, as affirmed by Mr. Sapers — the hard-line approaches do not work.
    Aside from the obvious positive optics attached to this re-appointment — it’s the dismantling of Harper’s legacy one piece at a time — let’s hope the Liberals heed what our prison ombudsman has to say, and actually implement the changes to our correctional system that are so badly needed.

  5. Joanne Kehayas says:

    This is a good first step by the Liberal government. The next best step would be to follow the recommendations that Mr. Sapers offers in his reports. There is no point in having a prison ombudsman if he is simply there to spout the same concerns year after year with no action being taken by decision makers.

  6. guy hawkins says:

    first the laws need to be updated to match current social realities independent of input from police unions…secondly…a ‘living wage’ paid to unemployed and unemployable…thirdly…reintegration procedures outlined when sentence handed down…

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