Amendments that eliminate conditional sentences for serious and violent crimes – the final component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act – came into force on November 20.
Our government has a strong record of putting victims first, getting tough on serious and violent offenders, and keeping our streets and communities safe. House arrest should not be available for offenders of serious crimes like sexual assault, kidnapping, and human trafficking. Those who commit these violent crimes must serve their time behind bars, not in the comfort of their homes and that is exactly the issue this legislation corrects.
The Criminal Code outlines the circumstances when a conditional sentence can be imposed. The amendments in this component of Safe Streets and Communities Act maintain these conditions and expand the list describing when a conditional sentence is not available, including:
- Any offence for which the law prescribes a maximum penalty of 14 years or life imprisonment;
- Any offence prosecuted by indictment and for which the law prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment that results in bodily harm, involves the import/export, trafficking or production of drugs or involves the use of a weapon; and,
- A listed offence prosecuted by indictment and for which the law prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment – which means that crimes such as theft over $5,000, breaking and entering, and theft of a motor vehicle are now included on the list of indictable offences ineligible for a conditional sentence.
The government introduced the Safe Streets and Communities Act on September 20, 2011, fulfilling its commitment to expeditiously introduce several law-and-order bills aimed at combating crime and terrorism. The Safe Streets and Communities Act received Royal Assent on March 13, 2012.
An online version of the legislation can be found at www.parl.gc.ca.
David Wilks is the Conservative Party MP for Kootenay Columbia riding. You can reach him in his Ottawa Office at:
Suite 620 – 151 La Promenade, House of Commons K1A 0A6
You can also reach his constituency office at:
100 – B Cranbrook Street North, Cranbrook, British Columbia V1C 3P9