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Ontario Government Working To Make Communities Safer

Ontario Recommends Legislative Changes To Better Deal With High-Risk Offenders

Ministry of the Attorney General

TORONTO -- The Ontario government is working to keep our communities safe by recommending changes to the Criminal Code of Canada that would allow the justice system to deal more effectively with dangerous, long-term and high-risk offenders, announced Attorney General Michael Bryant while attending the annual federal-provincial-territorial justice ministers' meeting in Ottawa.

"The current legislation for designating dangerous, long-term and other high-risk offenders needs to be clarified and tightened, so these offenders are dealt with more effectively and Ontario communities are kept safer," said Bryant.

Ontario's recommendations would include seeking to limit and clearly define the circumstances in which a court would impose a long-term offender designation instead of a dangerous offender designation.

The Criminal Code was amended in 1997 to create the long-term offender designation, which can include jail sentences of two years or more and supervision orders of up to 10 years. Dangerous offender sentences are indeterminate, with parole eligibility only after seven years.

"Last August, I established a working group of Crown attorneys to review the situation and consider ways to better protect the public from high-risk offenders," said Bryant. "The working group has recommended a number of amendments which would ensure that legislative gaps are closed and offenders are designated appropriately as either dangerous or long-term offenders. I hope our federal and provincial partners will work with Ontario to bring these reforms forward."

Proposing legislative changes is one piece of the government's multi-pronged plan to deal with high-risk offenders. Ontario is also looking at ways to protect the public from high-risk offenders who are not in prison.

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