I think we've asked the government to balance it out a little better. Taking the Prime Minister's point, the more we spend on how we treat offenders means we can't spend it on how we treat victims. I think everybody has to be really careful.
Yes, sentencing is important to families. They look at that as a measurement of the harm committed against them, and they expect appropriate sentences. But it can't be seen or sold as something that will meet their needs, because their needs are much more basic than that. Realistically, their needs won't be met by whether the offender gets five years or ten years.
I've travelled to many different conferences in the U.S. over the years, where the sentences are far stiffer than we'll ever see in Canada, and talked to victims about their cases. They say, “He got this and that's just not long enough”. The problem is that if all we give victims to measure the harm is a number of years in prison, that number is never going to equal the harm that was done to these people.
We need to focus on their needs on a daily basis. If we can address those, they might have less interest in what the numbers are. They obviously still want offenders to be held accountable. I think most of the victims I talk to want offenders to come out of prison different from when they went in—they have an interest in that—but it can't be seen as a means of meeting their needs.