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Witness Protection Programs in Selected Countries

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Witness Protection Programs in Selected Countries (PDF)
Source: Public Safety Canada

Effective witness protection is a cornerstone of the criminal justice system in the fight against organized crime. Traditional witness protection focuses on the safety of the witness. Experience shows, however, that individuals are not willing unless they have confidence that the State will protect their rights and safety as well as those of their immediate family.

Witness protection programs serve many purposes. They provide opportunities for victims and witnesses to participate in a criminal process with the expectation that they and their families will not be put in danger. They offer the hope of accountability and give threatened witnesses a way to seek shelter from the scene of victimization. Witness protection provides a space in which individual traumas may be treated and enables a victim/witness to regain more control over their life. It can also lead to a serious disruption of the lifestyle of the witness and any persons accompanying them into the program. It may even have implications for third parties. For these reasons, witness protection programs must have a good foundation in legislation or policy.

This paper reviews the practices and outcomes of witness protection programs using open source literature on the legislation and practices followed in Australia, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) and compares them with both federal and provincial programs in Canada.

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CA — Applications for Ministerial Review, Miscarriages of Justice – Annual Report

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Applications for Ministerial Review, Miscarriages of Justice – Annual Report
Source: Justice Canada

Under Canadian law, the Minister of Justice has the authority to review a criminal conviction to determine whether there has been a miscarriage of justice. This report outlines the history of this power, describes the role of the Department of Justice in such reviews, and outlines how the criminal conviction review process works. It provides statistical information, examines various emerging issues, and describes developments expected in the coming year.

Police-reported cybercrime in Canada, 2012

October 1, 2014 Comments off

Police-reported cybercrime in Canada, 2012
Source: Statistics Canada

The Internet is an increasingly integral part of the daily lives of Canadians. According to results from the Canadian Internet Use Survey, 83% of Canadians aged 16 and over accessed the Internet for personal use in 2012. A majority of Internet users in Canada did their banking online (72%), visited social networking sites (67%), and ordered goods and services online (56%). The total dollar value of orders placed online by Canadians reached $18.9 billion in 2012 (Statistics Canada 2013).

The rapid growth in Internet use has allowed for the emergence of new criminal opportunities (Nuth 2008). Criminal offences involving a computer or the Internet as either the target of a crime or as an instrument used to commit a crime are collectively known as cybercrime (see Text box 1). Frauds, identity theft, extortion, criminal harassment, certain sexual offences, and offences related to child pornography are among the criminal violations that can be committed over the Internet using a computer, tablet, or smart phone.

Using data from the 2012 Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR2.2), this Juristat article examines police-reported cybercrime in Canada. Analysis is presented on the number of cybercrimes reported by police services covering 80% of the population of Canada, as well as the characteristics of incidents, victims, and persons accused of cyber-related violations. These findings are supplemented with self-reported data on cyber-bullying, based on results from the 2009 General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization.

CA — A Three Year Review of Federal Inmate Suicides (2011 – 2014)

September 25, 2014 Comments off

A Three Year Review of Federal Inmate Suicides (2011 – 2014) (PDF)
Source: Office of the Correctional Investigator

Sadly, we have come to expect about ten suicide deaths each year in federal penitentiaries. Though the number of prison suicides fluctuates annually and has generally been declining, the rate has remained relatively stable in recent years and is still approximately seven times higher than in the general population. In the 20-year period from 1994-95 to 2013-14, a total of 211 federal inmates have taken their own life. Suicide is the leading cause of un-natural death among federal inmates, accounting for about 20% of all deaths in custody in any given year.

While there is no fail-safe method to predict suicide in a prison setting, there is an obligation on the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) to preserve life in custody. A comprehensive suicide awareness and prevention program increases the likelihood of identifying and safely managing suicidal inmates.

This report, part of the Office’s continuing focus on prevention of deaths in custody, consists of a comprehensive review of all completed acts of suicide (n=30) that occurred in federal penitentiaries in the three year period between April 2011 and March 2014.

Canadians rank highly when it comes to public science knowledge, attitudes, and engagement, finds Expert Panel

September 2, 2014 Comments off

Canadians rank highly when it comes to public science knowledge, attitudes, and engagement, finds Expert Panel
Source: Council of Canadian Academies

A new expert panel report, Science Culture: Where Canada Stands, released today by the Council of Canadian Academies, helps to paint the clearest picture of Canada’s science culture and science culture support system in 25 years. The expert panel who conducted the assessment found Canadians excel in public science knowledge, attitudes, and engagement; however they also determined there is room for improvement in some areas, including skills development.

The Expert Panel based their findings from a review of relevant literature, a new public survey of 2,000 Canadians. The report does not provide policy recommendations but rather provides evidence and insights for policy-makers and others looking to strengthen science culture, and for Canadians to better understand what science culture is, and what it means for our country.

Canada — Police-reported crime statistics, 2013

July 29, 2014 Comments off

Police-reported crime statistics, 2013
Source: Statistics Canada

The police-reported Crime Severity Index (CSI), which measures the volume and severity of crime, declined 9% in 2013 compared with 2012. This was the 10th consecutive decline in the index. The CSI was 36% lower than 10 years earlier.

The traditional crime rate also declined in 2013 compared with 2012, falling 8%. It continued its long-term downward trend that began in the early 1990s, reaching its lowest level since 1969. Since 1962, the traditional crime rate has measured the volume of crime, but does not take into account the severity of crimes.

Canada — Police-reported hate crimes, 2012

July 2, 2014 Comments off

Police-reported hate crimes, 2012
Source: Statistics Canada

In 2012, police reported 1,414 criminal incidents motivated by hate in Canada, 82 more incidents than in 2011. These hate crimes represented 4.1 incidents per 100,000 population.

In 2012, about half of all hate crimes (704 incidents, or 51%) were motivated by hatred toward a race or ethnicity such as Black, Asian, Arab or Aboriginal populations. Another 419 incidents, or 30%, were motivated by hatred towards a particular religion, including hate crimes targeting Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and other religions.

An additional 13% (185 incidents) were motivated by sexual orientation, while the remaining 6% of hate crimes were motivated by language, mental or physical disability, sex, age or some other characteristic (such as occupation or political beliefs).

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