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Issue 35.4


Justice Report 35.3

An interest has been expressed in running a Feedback/Reflections page on the previous edition of the Justice Report, Volume 35.3. We will be running any comments received in the third edition of 2021 (36.3). Please transmit them to me, by post to the Ottawa office or by email to, in consideration of publication. Thank you.

Probation Orders and their Purpose as a Sentencing Tool
By Me Francois Boillat-Madfouny
Criminal Law Graduate (LL.B., LL.M.) / Policy Review Committee Member – PRC (CCJA)

Policy Review Committee (PRC) member Francois Boillat-Madfouny explains that conditional release includes punishment in its purpose but points out that the purpose of a probation order is different; although some conditions of a probation order may end up incurring punishment on a probationer as a consequence, it is illegal for a probation order to punish by design. Illustrating how case law has upheld the purpose of the probation order as defined in the Criminal Code [s 731], Boillat-Madfouny urge judges, prosecutors and defense counsel to apply restraint when crafting conditions (or ruling on breaches) in order to avoid over-criminalizing probationers.

Helping Others To Help Themselves
By George Myette
Executive Director, The Seventh Step Society of Canada

A founding member and current Executive Director of the 7th Step Society of Canada, George Myette explains the origins and evolution of this self-help organization dedicated to peer support and prevention of recidivism. Enumerating the guiding principles (i.e., the 7 steps to freedom) of the 7th Step Society of Canada within a framework of the concept of gradual, supported release from incarceration, Myette describes the conceptualization and implementation by provincial affiliates of community residential centres, self-help groups, public education, and volunteer training since the early 1970s. Myette, who assisted in the 1975 development of the Alberta Seventh Step Society as an agency with halfway houses in Calgary and Edmonton, illustrates how the Society’s Calgary CRF (Graham House) offers an ideal setting and primarily houses federally incarcerated individuals released on Day Parole, Parole or Statutory Release with a residency condition.

Deaf offenders: understanding and meeting the needs of this unique population as inmates and parolees
By Dr. Tracey Bone, MSW, RSW

Dr. Bone points out that Deaf individuals, those for whom ASL is their first or preferred language, have unique needs that challenge the current criminal justice system. Advancing a human rights perspective, Bone points out that it is incumbent upon the criminal justice system as a whole and its constituent parts to ensure staff are provided appropriate training that promotes and advances the human rights of Deaf people. An oft-cited pioneer of research pertaining to the attitudinal, cultural and communicative barriers that Deaf Canadians continue to face, she also created two video resources for the Correctional Service of Canada in 2018 to enhance staff understanding of the issues related to Deaf offenders. Dr. Bone asks a pertinent question: are staff taking advantage of these tools to enhance their cultural competence with this population?

About the Author: Dr. Bone is an oft-cited pioneer of research pertaining to the attitudinal, cultural and communicative barriers faced by Deaf Canadians within the hearing criminal justice system (see Bone, 1998). A professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba, Dr. Bone teaches a variety of courses in both the undergraduate and graduate programs, including the Criminal Justice Field Focus course for undergraduate Social Work students. Dr. Bone is well-positioned to teach this course following a 28-year career with the Correctional Service of Canada, commencing in the role of Parole Officer. Dr. Bone is a dedicated researcher published in the areas of mental health, Deaf mental health, disability, and forensic mental health. Consult the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Social Work website for more on Dr. Tracey Bone’s research and publications.

Go Ahead and Shoot Me!
And Other True Cases about Ordinary Criminals
Durvile Publications Ltd. (2020).

By Doug Heckbert

Doug Heckbert offers insights into his book Go Ahead and Shoot Me!, which is filled with moments of levity and heartfelt compassion and offers a veritable course in probation/parole (i.e., community corrections) at every level replete with interesting observations regarding systemic change. In this article, Heckbert presents criminological theory tempered by his expert understanding of the criminal justice system alongside a selection of testimonials from his book, which evidences gaps in the justice system and a number of social ills that have arisen in recent decades and together may be engendering criminal behaviour in some people. Go Ahead and Shoot Me! Raises a number of powerful questions; for example, “do we, as parents, family members, community members and corrections workers set our expectations too low? If we expected more, people might well rise to the occasion”. Thus, while the testimonials in this book constitute stories of despair, they become stories of hope as the author depicts their return to normalcy. By contextualizing these reflections with his holistic understanding of the criminal justice system, Doug Heckbert also offers clarity and hope to the public about rehabilitation and prevention beyond the prison system.

About the Author: “Doug Heckbert holds a BA and MA from the University of Alberta. His work experience includes probation officer and prison caseworker with Alberta Correctional Services; parole officer with the National Parole Service; staff trainer and program director with Native Counseling Services of Alberta; and instructor with MacEwan University.” As former Correctional Investigator of Canada (2001-2016), Howard Sapers, writes in the book’s Foreword, “Former probation officer Doug Heckbert reminds us that when people commit a crime they are criminal only in that
moment. They have lives and ambitions beyond their crime” ‒ Durvile Publications Ltd. (2020).

La gestion des détenus dits « radicalisés » : au-delà de l’idéologie, une approche rhizomique
By Maria Mourani, PhD.

This article takes a critical look at the primacy of ideology in the assessment and management of so-called “radicalized” prisoners. Mourani proposes a rhizomic approach, which differs by taking life assemblages into account, and by making it possible to identify the paths from which a desire for engagement may emerge. As such, the proposed M-Rhizome is an open-ended, holistic, and inclusive proposal that addresses the complexity sufficiently to obtain the information and insight needed for a successful correctional plan, risk assessment, early release, support during social reintegration in the community, etc.

About the Author : Criminologist (PhD), Sociologist, President of Mourani-Criminologie, Québec, Canada

Probation and Parole in Canada
By Samantha Barlage
Bachelor of Arts – Criminal Justice (Honours), Class of 2019; Bachelor of Arts – Psychology, Class of 2023. Mount Royal University (Calgary, Alberta).

The options of parole and probation are tools that the justice system can use to aid in the rehabilitation of offenders and the reduction of recidivism in society. Roadblocks to successful outcomes vis-a-vis probation and parole may come from existing public opinions, outdated policies, and selective media coverage of court cases. Attention is directed towards the possible mitigation of these factors through enhanced public education and the need to more accurately measure public opinion upon which policies are based.

Specialized Drug Treatment Courts: An Alternative to Incarceration and the Role of Probation Officers
By Patricia Doiron
Law and Society (Hons.), Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary.

Drug Treatment Courts (DTCs) are specialized courts designed to assist individuals who have a history of offending due to being under the influence of a substance or who have committed a crime to support their addiction (CDTC, n.d.). DTCs developed during the 1980s in the United States as a response to increasing rates of drug-related offenses (Gutierrez, 2012). DCTs have proliferated across the United States; in 2014 there were 2,619 and across the country (Jewell et al., 2016). The first Canadian DTC was established in Toronto in 1998, Vancouver in 2001, Edmonton and Winnipeg in 2005, Ottawa and Regina in 2006, and Calgary in 2007 (DTC Funding Program, n.d.; Calgary DTC, n.d.). Although DTCs may differ in approach, all focus on assisting participants to end the addiction-incarceration cycle.

Leading the Way to Social Justice
By R.E.B. Bob Brown et alia: Friends and colleagues of Professor Emeritus James C. Hackler

What is the common denominator among the following: social justice; conditional release; and a passion for cycling? Through the eyes of this writer and many friends and colleagues the answer is simple – Professor Emeritus James C. Hackler. Dr. Hackler passed away in his 90th year on 2020 04 13 in Victoria, BC. This article will attempt to connect the dots of the three items above – social justice, conditional release, which is a theme of this edition, and one man’s joy of cycling. An international perspective will be highlighted, supported by domestic reflections on the life and times of Dr. Jim.

Bob is a former Director of the Corrections Programme at the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy and former District Director, and Area Director Vancouver Island Parole, Correctional Service of Canada. He is currently an independent criminal justice consultant working internationally, most recently in Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Somalia.

Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the Association’s views, but are included to encourage reflection and action on the criminal justice system throughout Canada.

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