Source: (2003) In, United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders Japan. Annual Report for 2002 and Resource Material Series No. 61. New York, NY: United Nations Publications

Following the introduction in section 1, section 2 describes the historical and political climate of Canada, including the administration of Canada’s penitentiaries and parole supervision program. Section 3 describes the key features of the Canadian criminal justice system, including the legislative framework that provides for community-level sanctions. The Canadian system is a principles-based system that leaves discretion in the hands of judges. This is contrasted to the American system in which judicial discretion has been increasingly muzzled by such initiatives as Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Section 4 describes the community-based correctional programs that emerged following a study into the prison population explosion in Canada. Pre-Charge diversion programs that begin at the police-level are discussed, as are court-based post-charge diversion programs, pre-sentence conditional and absolute discharges, post-sentence probation programs, and post-sentence conditional release. Section 5 discusses recent innovations in alternative sanctions, including the use of accelerated parole boards which ensure that certain types of offenders will receive a timely release from custody. The use of conditional sentences and restorative justice practices are also emerging trends that offer alternative sanctions to incarceration. Finally, section 5 describes the Hallow Water First Nation’s Community Holistic Circle Healing (CHCH) program in which serious sex offenders within the community are confronted by community members and forced to repair the damage they created. In conclusion, the author heralds restorative justice as the criminal justice practice that has the ability to contribute to the health and well-being of communities. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,

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