“Old news” – new anxieties for Liberals, posted three weeks ago, mentioned Basi/Virk judge Anne MacKenzie’s reasons for sentence and her dialogue of standard clichés, wordplay, and nonsense:
- “…a conditional sentence is not necessarily a more lenient sentence…”
- “The stigma of a conditional sentence with house arrest should not be underestimated.”
- “…encountering members of the community may make it even more difficult for the offender to serve his or her sentence in the community than in prison.”
- “The defendants have suffered the stigma of being charged with criminal offences.”
- “The charges have no doubt had a profound effect on their reputations”
It is appropriate to ask how a person perched in an ivory tower can draw such conclusions. What, in fact, does Anne MacKenzie know about conditional or community sentences?
Today, the BC Auditor General released a report on community corrections. After detailed examination, A.G. John Doyle determined that conditional sentences served in the community may indeed be more lenient. Or, not. No one knows.
“… the CCCP lacks a full understanding of its performance because its evaluation framework excludes some significant areas of activity that impact re-offending, mainly contracted services and community programs.
“The CCCP has also not comprehensively determined what its current and future staffing levels should be to enable it to provide adequate programs and services. This is despite the number of cases under supervision increasing at a faster rate than staffing. As a result, the division does not know whether it has sufficient resources in place to be effective and sustainable.” (emphasis added)
The report goes on to conclude:
- “probation officers do not consistently complete the appropriate training before supervising offenders in the community;
- “probation officers’ case management work is not regularly reviewed by local managers to ensure it complies with policy;
- “probation officers do not consistently identify strategies that address offenders’ risks and needs and subsequently ensure offenders complete assigned interventions;
- “insufficient documentation is contained in offender files, specifically as it pertains to risk/needs assessments and breach decisions, to confirm the appropriateness of probation officers’ judgements.”