According to Sault Ste. Marie Police Services (SSMPS) Chief Hugh Stevenson, a lot of good things came from Bill C-75, but challenging things have happened as a result as well.
“The difficulty we’re having with Bill C-75, in my opinion, is that any new piece of legislation has to have a feedback circle from the people that use it each and every day,” said Stevenson.
“We did a controlled study, pre and post Bill C 75. And we looked at a random selection of offenders. And we found that the release for second, third and fourth release provisions was up 30 to 40% from previous to Bill C-75.”
SSMPS Chief Stevenson understands the community is frustrated; he admits his organization is also feeling the same way. He explained that in some cases now they have to release at the car, instead of holding for bail. He then gave another example.
”So there is a specific problem right now, waiting for me on my desk. I have one person who is charged with a robbery and a weapons offense, who’s been released and charged
since then 33 times. We have people in this community who have been victimized by the same offender, the same day.” said Stevenson.
“It is a consistent theme across the north, where people are being released; not brought into custody, not being given treatment.”
He understands the critics point of view, where it is not always about custody. He knows these individuals need treatment and that sometimes jail will not help. He also knows the deterrence factor of police is not as efficient as it has been in the past.
“Our goal is to prevent crime. Our goal is to prosecute crime and bring people before the courts. The problem is the determined impact of the court system in this community is limited and diminishing. Because that criminal sub-population know full well that they will be released.”
The full interview with Stevenson can be seen on ‘Between the Lines’ tonight at 7 p.m. on ONNTV.