Better Monitoring Of Sex Offenders
McGuinty Government Amends Christopher's Law To Improve Community Safety
TORONTO, Dec. 5 /CNW/ -
Starting today, changes to Ontario's Sex Offender Registry will enable police to better monitor sex offenders and keep Ontario communities safer.
Under the amendments to Christopher's Law (http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/English/police_serv/sor/sor.html), sex offenders will be required to register if they are:
- Serving an intermittent sentence (e.g., on weekends)
- Released on a temporary absence pass
- Found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder and
are released on a day pass
- Released on bail pending an appeal.
The new measures were introduced in response to the December 2007 Report of the Auditor General (http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en07/311en07.pdf) into the Ontario Sex Offender Registry.
Ontario established the registry in 2001 when Christopher's Law came into force, requiring convicted sex offenders to register with their local police.
"Although we already lead the way in Canada, we are making the sex offender registry an even more effective tool to help police prevent, investigate and solve sex crimes and keep our communities safe," said Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Rick Bartolucci (http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about_min/bio.html). "These new provisions will help police better monitor offenders who are in the community before completing their sentence."
- Ontario has one of the highest compliance rates of all sex offender
registries. More than 96 per cent of registered sex offenders in the
community are compliant.
- As of November 28, 2008, there were 8,513 registered sex offenders in
the community on the Ontario Sex Offender Registry.
Read the legislation(http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_0 0c01_e.htm) and the regulations (http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_010069_e.htm).
See police reaction to changes to Christopher's Law (http://www.oacp.on.ca/content/news/article.html?ID=433).
Disponible en français
ONTARIO'S SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY
Ontario's Sex Offender Registry, the first of its kind in Canada, was sparked by the tragic 1988 murder of 11-year-old Christopher Stephenson at the hands of a convicted pedophile on federal statutory release. At the 1993 inquest into Christopher's death, the coroner's jury recommended creating a national registry for convicted sex offenders, requiring that they register with their local police service as soon as they are released from jail.
With the support of the Stephenson family, victims' groups and law enforcement organizations, the province proclaimed Christopher's Law (Sex Offender Registry), 2000 on April 23, 2001, making the Ontario Sex Offender Registry a reality.
MANDATORY REGISTRATION FOR CONVICTED OFFENDERS
Ontario's registry is routinely checked by police services in the course of their investigations. It provides critical information (offender's name, date of birth, current and historical address, photo, and other pertinent details, such as the nature of each offender's crime) on offenders in the community.
The registry helps police investigate sex-related crimes and helps locate offenders in a particular geographic area. The legislation defines specific sex offences for which a person, if convicted or found not criminally responsible for on account of mental disorder, must register.
Mandatory registration applies to those individuals convicted of a sex offence in Canada and who were (a) serving a sentence for that offence on the day Christopher's Law was proclaimed or (b) convicted of a sex offence on or after the day the legislation came into force. Other individuals required by law to register are those who have been found not criminally responsible for a sex offence on account of a mental disorder, and who have received an absolute or conditional discharge on or after the day the legislation came into effect.
The registry is administered by the Ontario Provincial Police on behalf of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. As of November 28, 2008, 8,513 sex offenders were on the registry.
THE AUDITOR GENERAL'S FINDINGS
The auditor general conducted an audit of the registry and tabled his report in the legislature on December 11, 2007.
The report (http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en07/311en07.pdf) commended the province for diligent and cost effective work over the past six years in establishing and maintaining the registry, and made recommendations for improvement.
The report pointed to the need to strengthen procedures in some areas to ensure that all offenders who should be in the registry were registered and to make the registry more useful for police investigations.
The report (http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en07/311en07.pdf) also recommended that the ministry amend Christopher's Law to ensure that the following persons register:
- Sex offenders serving an intermittent sentence (e.g., on weekends)
- Sex offenders released on a temporary absence pass
- Persons found not criminally responsible on account of mental
disorder for a sex offence and who are released on a day pass
- Sex offenders released on bail pending an appeal.
WHAT HAS CHANGED
The legislative amendments now coming into effect respond directly to these recommendations.
The new legislation:
- Requires sex offenders serving an intermittent sentence to register
within 15 days of sentencing (previously, they were not required to
report until they had completed their sentence)
- Requires that all those who are released on bail pending an appeal in
relation to a sex offence must register
- Requires police services to notify the Ontario Sex Offender Registry
immediately if they receive a notification from a mental health
facility that a person who has been found not criminally responsible
on account of mental disorder for a sex offence is being released
from the facility unsupervised
- Requires that provincial correctional facilities notify the Ontario
Sex Offender Registry of all sex offenders who are released from a
correctional facility on an unescorted temporary absence pass
24 hours prior to their release
- Requires that sex offenders report to their local police within
15 days of changing their name.
Most of the remaining recommendations were operational or technical in nature and the ministry is already implementing them through improved co-operation with police and the Correctional Service of Canada and changes to the registry itself.
The Ontario's Sex Offender Registry has a compliance rate of more than 96 per cent, one of the highest compliance rates of all sex offender registries in operation, including registries in the United States.
Disponible en français
For further information: Laura Blondeau, Minister's Office, (416) 325-4973; Anthony Brown, Communications Branch, (416) 314-7772