Shocking statistics regarding Canada’s prisons raise questions

Shocking statistics regarding Canada’s prisons raise questions

On behalf of Neuberger & Partners LLP posted in Drug Possession on Wednesday December 04, 2013.

Although most people in Etobicoke are well aware that their American neighbors are known for jailing a large number of people, they may not realize that Canada’s prison population is also swelling. The numbers are frightening: the prison population is 3,000 more than it was just 10 years ago and the number of visible minorities in Canadian prisons is up 75 percent. With such shocking statistics, however, come some very serious questions about what can be done.

Prison is supposed to be a last resort punishment according to Canadian law, yet it is not uncommon for drug charges to land someone in prison. If someone is stopped by police with just enough drugs in his or her pocket for personal use, should he or she go to prison? What about if the individual sold drugs but was nonviolent? At what point should the criminal justice system abandon treatment, rehabilitation and other alternative sentences and send the offender to prison?

The Correctional Investigator of Canada even realizes that something is the matter. In his recent report for Parliament, he noted that it was quite clear that increased rates of incarceration did not mean increased security; he pointed to the United States’ high rates of crime and high rates of incarceration as proof. Moreover, the Investigator also found that the increase in spending on the Canadian criminal justice system mirrored the decrease in crime (23 percent for both).

The increasing number of Canadians in prison is frightening, especially when we consider exactly which kinds of Canadians are likely to find their way into a cell. With growing prison populations, there are also concerns about conditions within prisons. Even with an increase in the number of cells, more than 20 percent of inmates are forced to share single-occupancy cells.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Canada’s Prison Population At All-Time High,” 25 Nov. 2013

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On behalf of Neuberger & Partners LLP posted in COVID-19 on Tuesday March 17, 2020.

At Neuberger and Partners, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation and have implemented safety measures to ensure the safety of our clients and staff. Our priority is and always will be the health, well-being and safety of our staff, clients and colleagues.

We have put in place various measures to prevent and minimize the impact of COVID-19:

  • In addition to standard hand-washing habits, our staff are washing hands before and after every client interaction;
  • All individuals entering our office will be required to use our hand sanitizer to ensure the safety of our other clients and staff;
  • Regular disinfecting of our offices, public areas, meeting rooms and board rooms as well as increasing the frequency of disinfection of higher-traffic surface areas;
  • If a lawyer or client who has a scheduled meeting is feeling unwell, they will be strongly encouraged to stay home;
  • For the time being, we will avoid greeting clients and colleagues with our usual handshakes;
  • We will make every effort to ensure our firm will be stocked up with extra tissue and alcohol-based hand sanitizer; and
  • We will monitor and stay informed from the Government of Canada and World Health Organization for facts as they become available. We will ensure all staff and team members are educated on symptoms and are well informed on prevention and best practices.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will the firm still run if there are closures?

  • We are committed to assisting our clients. We remain open to assist our clients at this time (following aforementioned standards for health and safety). For clients who wish to communicate with our firm virtually, we have the technology for virtual meetings and are able to respond to the needs of our clients in a manner best to protect our staff and clients’ health.

Are staff and lawyers set up to work virtually?

  • All lawyers and staff are set up to work virtually and continue to assist clients and one another remotely. All lawyers are available via telephone, email and virtual video conferencing.

What is the court situation? How will we deal with court closures?

  • At this time, the Superior Court of Justice is closed from March 17, 2020 to June 1, 2020 – unless a judge orders otherwise.
    If you have a March matter, your matter will be postponed to June 2, 2020.
    April matters will be postponed to June 3, 2020 and May matters will be pushed to June 4, 2020.
  • Similarly, the Ontario Court of Justice will be closed for 10 weeks for all out of custody matters in criminal practice court. In custody matters will still be addressed. It is unclear if out of custody matters such as trials or preliminary hearings will continue since the courts have left this decision to the discretion of the judges. However, Bail courts will remain open for the time being.
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  • Payments can be made via e-transfer and visa payments can be made over the phone.

If I have to deliver something to my lawyer, how shall I go about it?

  • For clients who wish to drop off documents but do not wish to come in contact with any one at the firm, you are encouraged to drop them off in our mail slot in front of our office.

We will be open and available for any questions, comments or concerns. Please call (416) 364-3111 for any further information.

Stay safe and healthy,

Joseph Neuberger