Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel

Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

The parliamentary budget office says allowing judges to use their discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year.

Independent Sen. Kim Pate last month reintroduced legislation that would let judges deviate from mandatory minimum penalties, including for murder, which carries a sentence of life in prison.

Pate and advocates who support the proposed legislation say mandatory minimum penalties do not allow judges to consider extenuating circumstances such as abuse and systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

The parliamentary budget office says that based on a similar law in New Zealand, it expects about three per cent of murder convictions would result in lesser sentences due to exceptional circumstances.

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions as well as in parole programs, which is where the cost savings would come from.

Pate welcomed the budget officer’s findings, saying the money saved by her bill could go to supporting marginalized communities.

“Over 50 years of evidence, including findings of the Supreme Court of Canada, make clear that mandatory minimum penalties do not deter crime,” Pate said in a statement Thursday.

“Mandatory sentences fail to respond to the individual and community circumstances in which crime exists and create more harm,” she said.

“In both human and fiscal terms, they are one of the most costly and least effective ways of trying to make our communities safer.”

Bill S-207, which would also apply to mandatory minimum sentences for other crimes, is being debated in the Senate.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

crimeprison

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock and Surrey RCMP – along with police forces across the province – have launched their holiday CounterAttack campaigns. (Contributed graphic)
White Rock, Surrey RCMP CounterAttack campaigns underway

Enforcement ramps up to remove impaired drivers from cities’ roadways

Statue of Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judge finds Surrey RCMP breached two robbery suspects’ Charter rights

This was in connection with the robbery of the Ritecare Pharmacy in Surrey on Oct. 10, 2017

This year’s White Rock RCMP children’s clothing drive was the best yet, organizers say. (Contributed photo)
White Rock RCMP children’s clothing drive ‘best ever’

Month-long annual event wrapped up Dec. 1

Unlike Vancouver, White Rock doesn't have the power to remove landlord restrictions on renting to pet owners, the city's Housing Advisory Committee heard Nov. 25. (CNW Group/Canadian Animal Health Institute)
No relief expected for renters with pets in White Rock

Little chance of removing landlord restrictions, housing committee told

Art rendering of Surrey’s Legion Veterans Village. (Submitted photo)
Surrey’s Legion Veteran Village to get 91 affordable housing units, B.C. government says

Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing David Eby made the announcement Wednesday

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Suspect tries to thwart police in Abbotsford with false 911 call about men with guns

Man twice sped away from officers and then tried to throw them off his trail

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Most Read