Public Safety Canada

Public Safety Canada

November 08, 2013 13:19 ET

Harper Government Tackles Drug Use in Federal Penitentiaries

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 8, 2013) - Today, the Harper Government introduced Bill C-12, the Drug Free Prisons Act.

The Bill seeks to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) to specifically stipulate that the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) has additional legislative authority when making decisions on the conditional release of offenders who have been granted parole, but who then test positive for drugs or refuse a drug test before being released from an institution into the community.

The Bill will also amend the CCRA to ensure that the PBC pays particular attention to whether a condition to abstain from drugs or alcohol should be imposed on offenders on conditional release.

"Tackling drug use and trade in federal penitentiaries will make the correctional system safer for staff and inmates, while also increasing the success of rehabilitation," said the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. "This contributes to building safer communities for Canadians."

In 2008, $122 million was provided to implement a more rigorous approach to drug interdiction to create a safer and more secure environment where offenders can focus on rehabilitation. The funding was used to expand the detector dog program in penitentiaries, enhance links with law enforcement agencies and enhance institutional perimeter security.

Our Government has also implemented the following measures to combat drugs in federal penitentiaries:

  • increased monthly random testing of offenders;
  • improved data collection on drug use in prisons through benchmarking;
  • continued work with Crown Attorneys to ensure that drug-related criminal charges in penitentiaries are prosecuted;
  • introduced revisions to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, section 5(3)(ii)(B), so that anyone who traffics in a substance in Schedules I-IV in a penitentiary or on its grounds is subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of two years; and
  • enhanced training on urine testing and addictions for Parole Board of Canada members.

Bill C-12 demonstrates that the Harper Government is combatting the presence of illegal drugs in federal penitentiaries and holding federal offenders accountable for their actions.

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Contact Information

  • Jean-Christophe de Le Rue
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister of Public Safety
    and Emergency Preparedness

    Media Relations
    Public Safety Canada