More Restorative Justice Programs And Decriminalization Of All Drugs

More Restorative Justice Programs And Decriminalization Of All Drugs

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This petition is to ask The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada to implement and fund more restorative approaches in our criminal justice system as well as a plead for the decriminalization of possession of illicit drugs and a demand for increased funding to impoverished minority communities. Bill C-22 which will restore access to conditional sentence orders and remove mandatory minimum sentences for some drug and firearm offences is a major accomplishment (Macnab, 2021). However, much more could be done by the federal government and other important stakeholders in order to address the overdose crisis and the overcriminalization of Black and Indigenous people across Canada.

As a criminal justice student and hopefully a future police officer and representative of this system, my goal is not only to enforce the law but to protect the most vulnerable and positively impact individuals who may be suffering from the mentioned issues in such a way as to steer them away from criminalization and towards a healthy, meaningful life. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there have been 17,602 opioid overdoses resulting in death from 2016 to 2020, that’s more than 12 people a day (2020). Ivan Zinger, the Correction Investigator of Canada reported that Indigenous people in Canada account for 5% of the population but represent 30% of inmates (Bellrichard, 2020) and similarly, 7.3% of inmates are black compared to only 3.5% of the general population (Bronskill, 2020). This is a national health and safety issue. 

Let's demand the federal government to create policies similar to that of Portugal and Norway. Portugal has changed their view of drug dependency from a criminal act to a medical condition and has decriminalized all drugs. Their overdose-related deaths, as well as cases of diseases associated with injection drug use such as Hepatitis C and H.I.V., have fallen dramatically (Frakt, 2020). Similarly, Norway has adopted a much more holistic, rehabilitative and reintegrative approach in their correctional system that has reduced recidivism and helps offenders become contributing members of society (BBC News, 2019).

By signing this petition we ask that the federal government:

1. Treat drug dependency as a health issue by amending the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and decriminalize all drugs.

2. Invest in reforming our criminal justice system to adopt more restorative programs, especially our correctional system.

3. Increase funding to minority communities to help with proper and affordable housing and education as these factors have been proven to reduce crime.

Addressing these issues is of utmost importance to all of society. We claim to be peace-keepers and defenders of human rights but we label those with drug dependency as criminals and treat incarcerated offenders as animals rather than treating both as humane as possible because after all, they are human.

Let's bring humanity to our criminal justice system. Thank you for taking the time to read and sign the petition. 

References

BBC News. (2019). How Norway turns criminals into good neighbours. BBC News. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-48885846

Bellrichard, C. (2020, January 21). Over-representation of Indigenous people in federal prisons reaches 'disturbing' historic high. CBC News. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/indigenous-overrepresentation-prison-oci-statement-1.5434712#:~:text=Indigenous%20people%20account%20for%20roughly,per%20cent%20four%20years%20ago

Bronskill, J. (2020, January 21). Prison service trying to better understand the needs of black offenders. CTV News. Retrieved from https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/prison-service-trying-to-better-understand-the-needs-of-black-offenders-1.4776414

Frakt, A. (2020, October 6). Pointers From Portugal on Addiction and the Drug War. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/05/upshot/portugal-drug-legalization-treatment.html

Macnab, A. (2021, February 18). Bill C-22 a positive move, but more study and action needed to tackle systemic racism, say experts. Law Times News. Retrieved from https://www.lawtimesnews.com/practice-areas/criminal/bill-c-22-a-positive-move-but-more-study-and-action-needed-to-tackle-systemic-racism-say-experts/337942

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2020, December 16). Joint Statement from the Co-Chairs of the Special Advisory Committee on the Epidemic of Opioid Overdoses. Cision Canada. Retrieved from https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/joint-statement-from-the-co-chairs-of-the-special-advisory-committee-on-the-epidemic-of-opioid-overdoses-834633209.html#:~:text=Between%20January%202016%20and%20June,to%20increased%20stress%20and%20trauma

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
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