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Mandatory minimum penalties of Imprisonment: an historical analysis

Crutcher, Nicole
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) M.A. thesis, Department of Law, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. Downloaded 4 March 2005.

This thesis will examine mandatory minimum penalties within the penalty structure of the Canadian Criminal Code and the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act (later to become the Narcotic Control Act). Since the inception of the Criminal Code in 1892, there has been a gradual increase in the number of minimum penalties but there has never been a historical documentation of the legislative attempts at adding and repealing this mode of punishment nor have the legislative debates been traced, until now. In addition, various inquires into the criminal justice system since 1938 that have looked, either directly or indirectly, at minimum penalties has maintained that they are not an effective or desired mode of punishment. A case law analysis reveals that there has been an increase in the number of reported appeals where the issue is the fairness of mandatory minimum penalties. In order to determine the direction legislators should take with regards to minimum penalties, it is imperative that we first fully understand them in an historical context. Given the absence of a history of minimum penalties, this thesis is meant to be a building block for future reform endeavours. Author’s abstract.


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