FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 23 June 2022
Now is the Time to Invest in Community
Ottawa ON/Algonquin Territory – Representatives from leading national organizations that are dedicated to human rights within the criminal justice system are reinforcing their role as experienced and knowledgeable leaders in community-based corrections, in light of Minister Mendicino’s introduction of Public Safety Canada’s Federal Framework to Reduce Recidivism (FFRR) in Parliament yesterday.
For decades, community-based groups have sought the long-term, sustainable investments that are so desperately needed to create comprehensive, meaningful progress within justice and corrections in Canada. Yet while 41% of the federal correctional population resides in the community, only 6.5% of the Correctional Service of Canada’s $2.6 billion budget is allocated to community supervision.
The framework represents a tremendous opportunity to recognize that recidivism happens in the community, often as a result of systemic discrimination and lack of supports and services. Without financial stability, reliable shelter, food security and access to health supports, other windows of opportunities close, leaving people with few meaningful choices to successfully reintegrate back into our
NAACJ and its members are urging governments and Parliamentarians to invest in community-based resources and wholly address systemic barriers, thereby ensuring a safe, effective and humane implementation plan across systems, jurisdictions and departments, pursuant to the NAACJ working group’s paper released in April, Reducing Recidivism: Shifting the Paradigm to Invest in Community.
We can no longer accept the systemic, overt and covert discrimination of Indigenous Peoples and Black Canadians in the criminal justice system, nor can we accept that approximately 30% of people exiting corrections have no home to go to. Moreover, we can no longer accept the lifelong trauma, increased involvement with child welfare systems, and life trajectories toward criminalization that the children of incarcerated parents risk experiencing unless – collectively – we can provide interventions and encouragement that are unique to their experiences. We cannot achieve our shared goals by maintaining the status quo. Rather, a socially responsible, inter-sectoral approach to implementation that focusses on the community can be cost-effective, humane, and significantly address our shared goals of reducing harm and victimization.
We have the evidence, experience, tools, programs and services to reduce our reliance on incarceration, to provide transformative alternatives to punishment, and to support people where they are at through research, collaboration, compassion and hope. Now is the time to invest in individuals and communities, and re-establish Canada as a global leader in human rights and justice.
The National Associations Active in Criminal Justice (NAACJ) brings together currently 19 voluntary sector member organizations that contribute to a humane, fair, equitable and effective criminal justice system. It promotes and upholds human rights, and is committed to research, social development, and the inherent worth of all human beings. With leadership and expertise that spans the
criminal justice continuum, NAACJ’s membership is ideally placed to stimulate and inform ideas and initiatives through dialogue and
understanding with Public Safety Canada partners and others.
Susan Haines, Executive Director