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BC courts easy on crime

November 16, 2006

Source: Simon Fraser University

Contact:Dr. Robert Gordon 604.291.4305; rgordon@sfu.caDon MacLachlan 604.291.3929; donmac@sfu.caTim McEwen, executive director, BC Progress Board, 604.775.1664;

November 16, 2006BCs criminal justice system often fails to ensure criminals pay for their crimes, says a discussion paper from the BC Progress Board and two SFU criminologists. The report speaks of lenient sentencing by courts in BC, failure to hold offenders to account for breach of probation, and failure to appropriately supervise criminals sentenced to community service.

The paper also notes failure in BC to ensure that justice is swift, sure and effective. It finds the processing of offenders from arrest to final court disposition is cumbersome and bureaucratic. Among the report's recommendations is formation of an agency to address core issues and challenges facing the justice system. Also urged is a provincial plan to address the drug trade "in a clear and consistent manner."

The paper was prepared by Dr. Robert Gordon, director of the SFU school of criminology, with assistance from Dr. Bryan Kinney, assistant professor of criminology at SFU. The document surveys the state of crime, criminality and criminal justice in BC. It says BCs relative position within Canada is improving in all major crime categories but BC still lags behind the Canadian average. "British Columbia has improved in many key measures of property and violent crime offences", says Gordon.

"Making further sustained progress requires concerted efforts to identify and tackle the primary causes of crime, while identifying and correcting inefficiencies in the provincial criminal justice system that may inadvertently contribute to criminal activity." The full release from the board is available at: BC Progress Board is made up of 18 senior business and academic leaders who benchmark BC's performance on measures of economy, innovation, education, environment, health and social condition, and advise the BC government.



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