The entire process leading to Sanderson’s release needs to be investigated

Opinion: The murder could have been prevented if Miles Sanderson had been declared a dangerous criminal. Have prosecutors considered filing for it?

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On September 7, the RCMP reported that Saskatchewan stabbing suspect Miles Sanderson died in police custody. Thus, 12 of him, including Sanderson and his brother, were killed and 18 wounded, ending the trajectory of death and destruction that began three days earlier.

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Since Sanderson’s legal release from prison, many have echoed the words of Prince Albert’s Grand Council Chief Brian Hardlott, who said the Canadian Parole Board had let the community down. Avoided. ”

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Maybe not. The Board has played its part in this tragedy and will investigate its decision with the Canadian Correctional Service, which has jurisdiction over federal prisons. Federal Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino welcomed the inquiry, saying “the process starts there, but it doesn’t end there”.

That’s right, because the parole board’s role is limited to the conclusion of a long process that ended in murder. And that whole process needs to be investigated.

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In fact, the board did not initially release Sanderson from prison. In effect, he was released by the federal government. This is because the law requires the offender to be released after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

Many people believe that criminals should serve their full sentences in prison, but legal release plays an important role in the reintegration of criminals into society. Statutory release is not parole, but offenders are placed under the supervision of parole officers and subject to various conditions, such as education, obtaining employment, and maintaining sobriety.

If the offender violates these terms, he can be sent back to prison, and this is exactly what happened to Sanderson. complied with the conditions. This was a key factor in his long history of violence, but he later resumed a relationship with her common-law wife in violation of the terms of maintaining the relationship, leading to his release. has been suspended.

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Three months later, the parole board reversed the suspension and Sanderson was re-released. That is the only decision the board has made and therefore the only decision that can be investigated. And it wasn’t a bad decision at all.

After all, if his release is revoked, he will spend no more than a year in prison until his sentence is completed. He would then be released unconditionally without the supervision of a parole officer. Therefore, for high-risk criminals like Sanderson, statutory release is often preferable to serving a full sentence.

In fact, according to Public Safety Canada data, most offenders successfully completed their legal release, and just over 1% committed more violent crimes. Of course, this is him 1% too much, but these criminals can’t possibly fare any better in the absence of any oversight at all.

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At best, keeping Sanderson in prison probably would have delayed rather than prevented a tragedy. This is what we must focus on.

The murder could have been prevented had Sanderson been declared a dangerous criminal. Criminal law allows courts to make a dangerous offender (DO) designation when an offender exhibits a pattern of serious violent crimes and is unlikely to be deterred by normal standards of behavioral deterrence. .

If a designation is made, the court can impose life imprisonment. That means criminals may never be released from prison. At the end of 2019-20, there were 860 designated offenders, of whom 736 remain in detention.

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The DO designation could have prevented this tragedy, but it is usually given after the offender is convicted, not when the sentence expires. Therefore, the investigation looked not only at parole board decisions, but decisions made by prosecutors many years ago, specifically whether Sanderson met all the criteria for a DO designation, and whether prosecutors have considered applying for it.

However, while preventing future tragedies, DO designations can only be made after a tragedy has already occurred, after the criminal has already victimized people. of people were sacrificed.

That requires going beyond prosecutorial decisions and looking back at Sanderson’s troubled past and what led to his history of violence. .

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Of the 860 DOs at the end of 2019-20, 36.3% were Indigenous. This is even higher than the astronomical proportion (26.1%) of Indigenous people in the federal prison population. Despite Sanderson’s case, Aboriginal criminals are already more likely to receive DO designations than non-Aboriginal inmates.

The DO designation may prevent them from committing further crimes. Most or all were indigenous.

Still, it would be difficult to conclude that the DO statistic represents any kind of success. On the contrary, they highlight the problem. Indigenous peoples continue to be victims of both criminals and the systems designed to deal with them. And this is the result of systemic discrimination faced by Indigenous peoples throughout Canada’s history.

This is where the investigation, which Mendicino welcomes, must end, rather than the parole board’s decision.

peter McKnightcolumn appears weekly in The Vancouver Sun.he can be reached at

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The entire process leading to Sanderson’s release needs to be investigated

Source link The entire process leading to Sanderson’s release needs to be investigated

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