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Long-Term Incarceration in Canada

NCJ Number
Canadian Journal of Criminology Volume: 26 Issue: 4 Dated: (October 1984) Pages: 397-402
R M Zubrycki
Date Published
6 pages
Canada has a growing number of penitentiary inmates serving life terms without eligibility for parole until 25 years are served; the consequences of this buildup for the system and for the individual inmates are still unclear.
In 1976, Canada abolished capital punishment, and first degree murder became punishable by life imprisonment with eligibility for parole after 25 years. Second-degree murder is punishable by life imprisonment with eligibility for parole after a minimum of 10 years or up to a maximum of 25 years. The relatively long periods of parole ineligibility have drawn criticism. Some foresee the new sentences creating a growing core of hopeless and desperate inmates who will tend to become more violent. Some also expect the lengthy incarceration to be severely debilitating for the involved inmates. However, these feared impacts are speculative. Within the Ministry of the Solicitor General, a Committee on Long-Term Imprisonment has been established in part to collect and monitor statistical information on long-term inmates. So far, very little can be observed to set this group of offenders apart from others. Careful study and monitoring of the effects of long-term incarceration are of the effects of long-term incarceration are necessary. Endnotes and two tables are provided.