moved for leave to introduce Bill C-283, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (addiction treatment in penitentiaries).
Mr. Speaker, I am very excited today and pleased to rise to introduce my private member's bill, the “end the revolving door” act, to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act regarding addiction treatment in penitentiaries. I would like to thank the member for Kootenay—Columbia for doing a lot of the preliminary work on this legislation and for seconding my bill.
This bill proposes to amend the Criminal Code of Canada to expand the sentencing options available in our justice system and to assist those whose lives have been ravaged by addiction.
In my home province of British Columbia and my community of Kelowna—Lake Country, we are all too familiar with the revolving door of our criminal justice system, with prolific offenders and seeing addiction on our streets with increasing crime rates. High recidivism rates in Canada among those suffering from mental health issues and drug addictions are putting extreme pressure on law enforcement resources, straining our justice system, harming and costing our communities, burdening our municipalities and breaking Canadian families.
A 2015 study by the Correctional Service of Canada showed that, at admission to federal custody, 70% of men and 77% of women offenders have a substance use issue. This legislation would allow the commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada to designate all or part of a facility as an addiction treatment facility. It would allow a court the ability to make a recommendation that people serve their sentence, or part of it, in custody in a designated facility as defined and under certain terms as laid out in the bill.
There needs to be evidence establishing a pattern of repetitive behaviour by the offender that indicates that problematic substance use has contributed to the offender's involvement in the criminal justice system. The purpose of an addiction treatment facility is to provide inmates with access to a program for a curative treatment in relation to the problematic substance use, as well as access to other related services that respond to their specific needs. In sentencing, offenders would still receive meaningful consequences, while also receiving care leading to a path of reducing the risk of reoffending.
We have a complex addictions crisis in Canada, and this would be an important tool to help communities and families, protect the public, and maintain public confidence in the judicial system. I trust that all members of this House will support my private member's bill.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)