Saturday, June 5, 2010
NDP agrees to order probation officers to report breaches to police
THE NDP is now onside with a Tory call for zero tolerance on probationary breaches for high-risk offenders.
Weeks after brushing it aside, the NDP quietly agreed with the Tories that such a plan was a good way to hold repeat criminals more accountable. The Tory motion got unanimous support late Thursday in the Manitoba legislature, including from Justice Minister Andrew Swan.
Progressive Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen said Friday the NDP flip-flop is in the best interest of public safety.
"We have always been consistent on this," he said. "When there are breaches by high-risk offenders, they should be reported to police for follow-up."
The furor over probation breaches erupted more than a month ago when the Free Press reported a 14-year-old high-risk offender thumbed his nose at the law 24 times without any consequences in the days leading up to March 29, 2008, the night he piloted a stolen SUV that killed city cab driver Tony Lanzellotti.
The boy, now 16, was handed a maximum sentence of two years' closed custody under the Youth Criminal Justice Act on Friday.
He was also given a 10-year driving prohibition.
Fadyen said the passing of the resolution means the province will have to instruct its probation officers to report breaches by high-risk offenders, like repeat car thieves, to police. It will be up to police to decide what to do. The motion also requires the Department of Justice to report all breaches on a quarterly basis to the legislature.
Swan was unavailable for comment Friday.
I agree to an extent. I would specify the nature of the breaches which must be reported. For example, if a teen is 10 minutes late for their curfew or an appointment with a probation officer, that is a breach, but a very minor one and they may have a good reason. These types of minor breaches should NOT have to be reported. Their should be discretion in this area. Major breaches, such as skipping school when required to attend, or skipping work, for non-legitimate reasons, should be reported, for example.