Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Need some information on pardons? Want to know how to receive one? All the information you need is here!

Lesley Atkinson from pardons.ca recently made a proposal to write a guest article for my blog. I gladly accepted, as the pardon process is of great interest to me. A pardon from a criminal record can be very useful in opening up employment, housing and travel opportunities. Below, is the informative article written by Lesley Atkinson from www.pardons.ca.   
 What you can do about your criminal record
People with a criminal record often find it more difficult to get a good job or opportunity to volunteer, as well as more difficulty with child custody cases and immigration situations. A criminal record presents an almost permanent barrier to living a normal life, and hampers an individual’s attempt to rehabilitate back into law abiding society. This is why many people with criminal records apply for a government document called a pardon.
What is a pardon?
A pardon is granted by the National Parole Board of Canada, and being granted one means an individual’s criminal record will be removed from all federal databases and permanently sealed away (with a few exceptions). There are millions Canadians living with a criminal record today, and only a small number of them end up applying for a pardon. Of the more than 400 000 pardons granted by the National Parole Board since 1970, 96% of them are still in force. This evidence shows that the vast majority of individuals who get a pardon truly wish to live as law-abiding citizens.
Changes to the Criminal Records Act
On June 17, 2010, MP’s voted to pass a bill known as bill C-23A, known as the Limiting Pardons for Serious Crimes Act. Once this bill becomes law (this is expected to happen before July 5), individuals with criminal records for the following convictions will be forced to wait at least 10 years before they become eligible to apply for a pardon:
·         Manslaughter (for which at least 2 years in prison were served)
·         A Schedule 1 indictable or summary offence
·         Any indictable conviction for which at least 5 years were served in prison
·         A Service offence under the National Defence Act
Individuals with criminal records for these convictions will be forced to wait longer, and once they can apply, they must prove to the National Parole Board (the Board responsible for making decisions regarding pardons) that being granted the pardon would provide them with a measurable benefit, and would aid in their rehabilitation into law-abiding society.
The New Criminal Records Act and Rehabilitation
Once the new Criminal Records Act becomes law, many people with criminal records will find it much more difficult, and for some individuals, almost impossible to get a pardon. Criminal records will continue to create a barrier to living a normal life, and will in fact impede their efforts to rehabilitate into lawful society. Unable to live a normal life, and rejected by society because of the stigma of a criminal record, the new Criminal Records Act may in fact create an even more slippery slope for these individuals. The results of this Act becoming law could lead to an increased risk that people will commit more crimes in the future, leading to more time in court and jail. It is not in Canadians’ best interests to allow this to happen, both from a social and purely economical standpoint. When individuals commit crimes, there are almost always victims who suffer well after the crime has been committed and the sentence served. More crimes being committed means more victims being created, something we would all prefer to avoid. From the economical standpoint, putting these repeat offenders back in jail (for increased jail times no less) will create a larger burden on tax payers, who must now pay to support these individuals, instead of providing them with the tools (through social programs) to help themselves.
For more information on criminal records, pardons, and the new criminal records legislation, please visit Pardons.ca.

If you have a past criminal record and are interested in receiving a pardon, here is the contact information you need: 
Website: www.pardons.ca
Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-535-2429
Blog: http://blog.pardons.ca

Thanks again to Lesley Atkinson for this guest article! If anybody else involved in criminal justice agencies or organizations wishes to write a guest article for my blog, please direct your inquiries to brittanymaria423@aol.com 


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