“Catch and Release” Justice in Ontario

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| Published , updated February 26, 2024

Timeline

September 8, 2023 – Cambridge asks for funding for Ontario’s legal system

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister, Premier, MPs, MPPs and other municipalities, Cambridge requested:

additional funding in Ontario’s legal system to support a meaningful resistance to the current “catch and release” practice, including hiring sufficient court staff, with a specific focus on additional assistant Crown Attorneys.

Citing:

  • notable increase in the number of violent offences committed in the province of Ontario by individuals who are concurrently subject to release orders.
  • Ontario justice system is backlogged, court systems under strain, and police and prosecutors overwhelmed by their caseloads.
  • dramatic lowering of the threshold for release, resulting in violent, serious, or repeat offenders who should by rights have been reasonably detained in custody, released on supervision plans that are increasingly deficient.
  • general sense among the criminal population is that breaching bail conditions will not result in much by way of consequence for the offender, as evidenced by a clear pattern province-wide of unjustifiable release, a pattern which is bound to continue given insufficient resources to conduct Crown bail reviews, surety bond estreatment hearings, and ensure the subsequent collection of surety bond funds after judgment.
  • a ‘catch and release’ system constitutes a failure of government to perform a core function of its existence, that being the protection of public safety and that this failure constitutes a clear and present danger to the public.
  • police services are being demoralized by expending precious time and resources having to manage the repeated arrests of these habitual criminal offenders within a system that limits their ability to effectively protect the public.

September 8, 2023 – Midland asks for system improvements

In a letter sent to the Premier and other municipalities, Midland requested “meaningful improvements to the current state of “catch and release” justice in the Ontario legal system. Police Services across Ontario are exhausting precious time and resources having to manage the repeated arrests of the same offenders, which in turn, is impacting their morale, and ultimately law-abiding citizens who are paying the often
significant financial and emotional toll of this broken system.

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