3. Many of the recent (i.e., since 2006) set of legislative proposals that were tabled in
Parliament appear to have been designed to increase the punishments handed down to
offenders. Can this approach be reconciled with the statement regarding proportionality
of sentences to the offence and offender’s responsibility (s. 718.1)?
4. Section 718.1 of the Criminal Code says that sentences should be proportionate to the
seriousness of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender. The Code also
indicates that judges are required to take into consideration the views of victims on the
appropriate sentence that should be handed down. What are the challenges of
reconciling these two considerations?
Taking into consideration the view of the victim is principal of restorative justice.
But as mentioned in lecture, the victim impact statement is relatively rarely given
and those who make one expect it to have an impact on the sentencing. In either
way, this possibility for the victim doesn’t seem to satisfy people with the criminal
justice system. The purpose of this statement ultimately is in the hand of the judge
But reconciling these two is hard, because if we take into consideration to much the
statement of the victim, (either it would be good or bad) it may impact the purpose of
sentencing the offender proportionally. The offence may deserve a certain
sentencing, but the victims may express feeling of forgiveness and this may not
result in a proportional sentence (the contrary can also happen/ a victim who is not
Also we can take for granted the level of knowledge and understanding of the victims
the sentencing system in Canada, judges themselves have problems with it! The way
they see the situation is tainted and not objective.
5. A poll reported by the Globe & Mail found that 65% of Canadians agreed with the
statement “When lawmakers set mandatory minimum sentences, they are getting tough
on crime and sending a message to criminals.” On another question, 55% agreed with
the statement “A person who commits a relatively minor crime may be punished too
severely because of mandatory minimum sentences. Finally, 62% agreed with the
statement that “Long prison sentences are the most powerful way to reduce crime.”
Imagine that you are advising a thoughtful politician who was interested in research
evidence. How would you suggest that the politician should respond to these findings,
and how should they be taken into account in determining sentencing policy in Canada?
The politician should keep in mind that the public does know as much as he thinks
about the sentencing system. Their opinion and point of view are very influenced by
the media. Also just by these 5 the politician should realize that the public has
conflicting view about sentencing. The fact that they agree strongly with mandatory
sentences and yet think that it’s not fair and too sever for other types of crime,
should a lack of uniformity among the public
The politician should also keep in mind to qualify these findings according the
context in which the respondents answered. Also further question should be asked
and specify the circumstances, because people ten dot change their judgments ounce