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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 6, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta 10 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday, February 6, 1975 Law commission trying to keep people out of prison OTTAWA (CP) A new Law Reform Commission of Canada working paper recommends a formalized division process under which perpetrators of minor offences can make restitution without going to trial. In another of its attempts to keep people out of prison where possible, the commission calls for restraints on the part of the community, police, prosecutors and judges in laying and prosecuting of minor charges. It seeks continuation of the present practices of dealing with minor crime before a case comes to trial and seeks to expand the practice to cover even more cases. Under its recommendation the victim and a law- breaker could agree to have a case sent to some community-based agency where a settlement would be worked out. The settlement might involve restitution through pay- ment or work. A contract would be signed and, after its conditions were fulfilled and restitution made, charges against the offender would be dropped. In other cases an offender might repay a community through work, such as cleaning up waste in public areas or assisting the elderly in snowclearing. The commission, a three year old body that is reviewing the whole body of law with a view to change, issued the working paper, its seventh, on Wednesday. It said too many forms of "socially problematic behavior" is finding its way into Criminal law. But removal of this behavior from the law, is not always successful. Diversion would free the courts to handle serious crime, from murder and other forms of violence to crimes that concern the public, while providing max- imum conciliation and settlement. The commission, which puts out all its working papers for pubiic discussion, realizes it is on touchy ground. "Diversion, even, more than other measures of disposi- tion of criminal cases, depends on the understanding and co-operation of the public and we therefore urge the public to express its views to the the paper said. It notes that Canada has a higher rate than other countries in the use of incarceration. "In addition, we usually send persons to prison not because of crimes of violence, but because of convictions for property offences, offences against the public order or other offences not involving violence to the person." Almost 50 per cent of male prisoners had committed non-violent offences against property. Most were young, unemployed or under-employed and poorly educated at the time of the offence. The deterrent effect of jail was low. Deterrence was found in the certainty of arrest and publicity, not in im- prisonment. The commissioners wanted less use of jail and more community-based dispositions which would provide for restitution and supervision and would upgrade offenders' economic and social skills. It would mean more community-based services in health, job training, work, counselling, social and residential facilities. The paper adds: "This is not to suggest that communi- ty-based dispositions will greatly reduce crime, but simp- ly to suggest it probably is less wasteful, less destructive of human dignity and more likely to bring improvement in individual cases than imprisonment. "For the victim, community based disposition should at least bring restitution and compensation, and society will likely find that its interests and security are reasonably well protected as well." The commission notes that most criminal incidents never get to court. Many incidents were settled at the community level or diverted from trial either by police or prosecutors. Sometimes judges acted to divert a case. The attitude in all these cases was that restraint must be used in criminal law in the name of justice and that it was unjust and unreasonable to inflict more harm than was necessary on the wrong-doer. The paper says it is the responsibility of officials to show reason why cases should be brought to trial. "Instead of automatically proceeding from complaint to arrest to charge, trial, conviction and imprisonment, it makes sense to pause and justify proceeding to the next more serious and costly step." The paper says organized attempts to use community- based alternatives to the criminal justice system are becoming increasingly common. Offenders were diverted to detoxication centres, drug crisis centres, family crisis centres, youth service bureaus, various mental health clinics and others. Noting the community often solves its own problems, through individuals or groups operating in one area and through such things as private security forces, the com- mission says this is a norm in society and should be allow- ed to continue. Then it says there must be a more formalized approach by police and prosecutors to diversion so that the public knows and understands what is happening and so that there is equality for all under the law. Police should continue using discretion to reprimand, counsel, mediate or settle cases or to refer an incident to health, welfare or other agencies. But there must be guides that identify situations that would lead to charges and others that would be screened from the judicial process. Other guides must be published covering prosecutors who could divert cases after police had laid charges. These guides would include: Offender and victim accepting pre-trial settlement; the fact that the needs and interests of society, the offender and the victim are better served through a pre-trial program rather than conviction and sentence; trial and conviction may cause undue harm to the offender and his family or exacerbate the special problems that led to criminal acts. If the offender fails to live up to the pre-trial settlement, charges would be laid and he would wind up in court. The paper discounts talk that a diversion program would save money. It adds: "Diversion programs will not solve the problems that lead some people to crime; it will only make it possible to see those problems clearly and come to grips with them at the community level. "Diversion makes it possible for our responses to crime to be more rational, informed, open and selective. "Yet it all depends on governments supporting the com- munity and its agencies to make that intelligent response in a timely way." Return of hanging urged Your Business Associates Will Be Staying At The Jfflotel Fernie B.C. Color TV DD Telephones See You There! Reserve 423-4438 Pantera coLLeoe Now Through February 15th OTTAWA (CP) Eldon Woolliams arguing that police forces are demoralized and crime is rising, called Wednesday for the restoration of capital punishment and a royal commission inquiry into justice administration. He said in the Commons the cabinet has commuted nine death sentences since 1968, the year the Trudeau govern- ment took office. Eight cases involved killers of policemen and one involved a prison guard. Justice Minister Otto Lang said he thought the number was "four or five." But Mr. Woolliams said he got his in- formation from Solicitor- General Warren Allmand. The Calgary MP said morale has fallen among police forces and shoot-outs with criminals may become common as police try to protect themselves. He said the partial ban on capital punishment, approved by Parliament for a five-year trial period in 1967 and reinsti- tuted for a further five years in 1974, would not have been passed if cabinet actions had been foreseen. YAMAHA ORGANS New and Used COLLEGE MALL Phone 328-3694 Saskatoon hijacker gets seven years Indians ignore request Members of the Native People's Caravan read a statement to a news conference yesterday at the building they are occupying in Ottawa. The Indians who declined to give their names to reporters, said they will ignore a request by the National Capital Commission in Ottawa to leave the government building which has ben occupied since the end of September. Returning PoWs in bad shape SASKATOON Nairn Djemal, a 30-year-old natural- ized Canadian who was found guilty earlier this week of hi- jacking a CP Air jetliner, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years' imprisonment. In handing down the sentence, Judge R. H. King of magistrate's court said that if it were not for psychiatric reports the sentence would have been more severe; The hijacking charge carries a maximum term of life im- prisonment. Djemal, a native of Cyprus who was a resident of the Win- nipeg YMCA prior to the hi- jack incident, was found guil- ty Monday. The verdict followed three days of testimony from three cabin a stewardess who was wounded during the hijacking, the cap- tain of the flight and police witnesses. The plane, which originated in Montreal and was bound for Vancouver, was hijacked be- tween Winnipeg and Ed- monton-Nov. 29. Passengers aboard the plane said a man grabbed one of the stewardesses, held her at knifepoint and shouted repeat- edly "Go to Cyprus MOTORS APPLIANCE MOTORS Available Best Prices All Types! Fairfield Appliance Services Ltd. 1244 3rd Ave. Phone 327-6684 SAN DIEGO, Calif. (AP) The 591 Americans who were Vietnam war prisoners came There's one great reason why Acadian 400 is becoming so popular. Flavour! EYE WHISfvY CANABUX SPECUllV MELLOW f J home with illnesses and injuries, an average of three for each the Centre for Prisoner of War Studies said Wednesday. The centre said dental prob- lems, including abscesses, broken dentures and gum dis- eases, were among the most debilitating. "Seventy-five per cent of the returned PoWs were suf- fering from intestinal parasites and a few had asthma, but since have said Dr. William Berg, the lieutenant who heads the Navy-run centre's medical section. The types of diseases and other ailments apparently de- pended to a degree on whether the Americans were imprison- ed in North or South Vietnam. Death Of A Clue Sniffer On August Denise Whitebear, 14, died from glue sniffing. In Weekend Magazine this Saturday, writer Suzanne Zwarum traces the path of heartbreak and despair leading to Denise's death. The Lcthbridgc Herald deserve a retirement savings plan. could use a tax deduction. work hard for it. You work hard and you should be getting some of the breaks you should be getting a tax deduction. You should also be putting money away for your future because, let's face it, you're not going to be able to work forever. What you can do about it. What you need is a retirement savings plan something you put aside every year- that also gets you a tax deduction. Royal Trust makes it easy. Royal Trust has a new system that makes having a retirement savings plan easy. You put away as much as you want, whenever you want. Either a lump sum or so much a week, so much a month, just like a savings account. You probably won't even notice it, but it'll build up. You'll have money put away for your future and a tax deduction each and every year you contribute. And we'll go one step further. We'll lend you the money. Decide what you want. We can help you. Retirement Savings Plan. Royal Trust 740 4th Ave. South, Lethbridge, Alberta 328-5516 ;