Justice in Manitoba: Bail, Remand, and Prison Populations

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22 thoughts on “Justice in Manitoba: Bail, Remand, and Prison Populations

  1. Low efficiency of the legal department.More people work in police department than the people work in legal department.In the past ten years the population in jail has risen,comparison of today’s prison populations with that of 2005 show a 106% increase. Data from last year shows 2370 people got into jail everyday.Because of this ,more and more money was spending on prison,since 2008 government had spent two hundred million dollars on the prison beds and also one hundred million dollars of wage for two thousand prison guards every year,comparison of today’s prison funds with that of 20005 show a 124% increase.Comparison of today’s violent crime rate with that of 2005 show a 22% decrease, it means deterioration of social order is not one of the reason that made the prison overpopulate.Long time sentences is one of the reason that caused the overpopulate,criminology expert Elizabeth Comack said: “ spending a long time in prison is harmful for prisoners to return to society.”The other reason is 70% of the people in jail are not actual criminals but the people that are waiting for their judgment The population of the prison is increasing everyday.
    If we don’t make a change,it’s going to be disaster few years later.

    • Victor you have found some very interesting stats on the topic. Your response has helped me gain extra knowledge on the topic other then what was just stated in the podcast.

    • the statistics that you have given give me a greater understanding of the situations and show proof to what we believe is happening, actually is.

  2. Jasper’s Response:
    Over the past 10 years the crime rate has been declining. Crime is down 40% and violent crime is down 23%. In Manitoba there are twice as many people in jail than in 2004. Manitoba jails more people per capita than any other province In Canada. Those are the stats that were addressed in the podcast. Most of the people in Manitoba jails have not been convicted of a crime they have been remanded. As said in the podcast some people believe that the decrease in crime is related to the increase of people in custody. However according to the criminology professor from the University of Winnipeg there is no significant connection between the two. Having so many people in jails is causing overcrowding in Manitoba. This leads to cells made for two people housing three people instead. There is also less time for programs and less access to recreation facilities. It is costing the province lots of money to have to hire more guards and build more space for people. Manitoba needs to be more lenient on bail decisions to lower the amount people in jails. The federal government could help by eliminating mandatory minimums and decriminalizing certain drug laws. Due to aggressive policing, prosecuting and tougher laws the state of our jail system is at risk. There needs to be something done to reduce overcrowding.

    Note: Nov 3 at 7pm no posts to comment on.

    • Good point on the idea that there is less time and access for programs and facilities. I also agree with the idea of decriminalizing certain drugs, as it would lessen the number of people in jail and get rid of the overcrowding. Maybe if the police were not as aggressive in their jobs, there would be even fewer people in prisons.

      • i agree with the idea of decriminalizing some drugs. that would make more room for the big time bad guys. fewer people in prisons is the goal so less police arresting people would work.

    • I do agree that decriminalizing certain drug laws is definitely a good solution to stopping the high amount of people, especially minor crime people being held in remand centres. I’m wondering what the certain negative sides to doing that are. I believe another possible solution to reduce overcrowding is to be better organized with the people jailed, as they could let people out on house arrest (like Sara said) were they could await there trial, as it said many people are just pleading guilty instead of wanting to wait so long in remand, depending on the seriousness of their crime.

  3. Throughout the podcasts, both the ex. prison guard and the expert discuss the ideas of how our crime rate has decreased a lot from 1996 but at the same time the amount of inmates has largely increased. This is mainly due to the fact that over 50% of the people in custody are currently facing remand and are technically not currently guilty. Ideas also discussed include the fact that crime rate is so much lower, which could possibly be linked to the fact that most of the people that could be committing the majority of these crimes are currently locked up. The ex. prison guard also mentioned that before the sudden increase of population in prisons, bail was much more common instead of it being more likely to spending the time in the remand centre. This, although increased prison populations could be a good thing for society because some of the people charged with the crime could have a chance although seeming unlikely in the current situation to reoffend. Keeping these people in jail could possibly have a link to why the crime rate has also decreased. Clearly, adjusting one of the situations could have a great effect on the other.

    • There’s no denying, more and more people are being put into Manitoban prisons, and yet the crime rate in Manitoba has been going down since 1996. Most of these people in prison are waiting for court, meaning by law they are not guilty. The overpopulation of prisons in Manitoba is putting stress on both the inmates and the prison system. Lack of beds, lower program times and limited capacities and requirements for more prison guards and employees. Why are there more people in prison if there are less convicted criminals? The answer is vague and is caused by a variety of things. Government crackdown on small crimes and minimum sentences, even simply having more police officers in the streets. Could another reason there are so many be an issue with the judicial system in Manitoba? Perhaps the courts are overworked and cannot process the remanded individuals fast enough. The obvious solutions: build more prisons and pump money into the system if they do think the remanded criminals are a threat to society and the minimum sentences should be continued. The other options are to reduce minimum sentences, decriminalize drugs that are causing thousands of arrests daily such as marijuana, or allow more people on bail, keeping them out of the prisons before their trial.

    • Interesting point on how it is harder to get bail now. Could be one of the reasons there are so many people in our prisons! Nice point also stating it may be a good thing to keep these potentially dangerous people in prisons, it cots money but maybe it is worth it.

  4. Today, Manitoba has the highest number of people per capita in jail compared to all other provinces. The jails are overcrowded and stressful for the inmates and the people working in the jail. Most of the people in the jail are being held in remand, which is where people go as they await their trial. During this waiting period, the people being held cannot work or leave the remand center, meaning their daily lives are completely interrupted. A big problem is this fact that people are simply held in remand even when they have not been proven guilty. A solution to this inconvenience could be instead of detaining people in a remand facility, the people awaiting trial can be monitored at home. This could include their wearing of an ankle bracelet to ensure they are not trying to flee before their trial. Only people accused of truly serious crimes, such as murder or major drug involvement, should be detained in the actual remand centers. Also, another way to lower the number of people in jails would be to decriminalize some crimes. This could include decriminalizing drug possession, certain types of theft, or other crimes that do not seriously harm people.

  5. Canada’s crime rates of been going down significantly since 1992. For Manitoba specifically they have been going down since 1996. Some believe the large drop is due to higher custody rates. The truth is that not until recently, this has not been the case. Manitoba has the highest number of people in jail in comparison to the provincial population than any other province in Canada. Since the cost of putting up more jails is so high, the government has been forced to overload these containment facilities. The remand centre is now up to 50-100 people over maximum capacity. This has caused discomfort and only extends the wait time for a trial if you have not been let out on bail. The reason for this is because the government has become more and more strict about specific laws, including shoplifting, drug possession, trespassing and many more. These people are forced to stay in these overcrowded facilities where they are taken away from their home life, and can’t even participate in recreational activities or programs at the centre due to the amount of people in custody. This is a problem because those who are innocent and have not had a trial must stay in these facilities for extended periods of time without the ability to work or be with their families. This is unfair to these innocent people, and it is all because of high custody rates. Agreeing with Sarah, a good solution to this would be to decriminalize certain laws that do not generally cause harm to society. For example, if someone partakes in petty theft, they should be fined, but not thrown into remand for weeks, taking away their ability to work and maintain income. Those who commit murder, manslaughter, and other serious offences that have hurt others should be the ones held in remand.

  6. The main points in the CBC interviews were Manitoba as a government is locking up more people, despite the lowering crime rates. We as a province have the most jailed per capita in the country, and we currently have jailed twice as many people then in 2004. Most of the people haven’t been convicted, they are just waiting for their trials. Because of all the excess people who haven’t even been convicted, the jail is now just a housing center whereas before it was used to rehabilitate convicted criminals. Also the remand center houses all potential convicts. That means a petty thief could potentially be sleeping in the same room as a murderer. Also the convicted felons are losing out on yard time, and other programs and space in their rooms due to the overcrowdedness of the center. The center is now up to 50-100 people over maximum capacity. This causes a chain reaction sending some people to Headingley and Stony Mountain, which takes away their home connection. For family and friends it’s a lot harder to drive to Stony Mountain and Headingley opposed to driving downtown to the Remand Center. This is also because of the Crown actively resisting bail, which means more and more people aren’t getting out, which means they stay in. The solution is to receive more funding from the provincial government to keep small time offenders out of the prison system. The rule is that you are innocent until proven guilty, yet by being denied bail and being in the prison, it technically makes you a inmate, you’re just not officially titled “guilty” By keeping the offenders who are not a threat to society on the streets we can cut the crowds in the jail by half. Up until 2000, if you were not a threat to the public you were given bail yet after 2000 most cases were denied bail.

    • I agree with what you’re saying Gabe, as I imagine most people do, that the increasing deny on bail by the courts is an issue, and is what is leading to the excess amount of people in jails, which obviously leads to overcrowding and unfair properties, such as moving to different prisons. However, when you talked about the problems that there are so many people being held in these places, and people of all charges are around each other, I assume you’re suggesting that it isn’t necessarily safe/fair. Considering the stats, and how most people being jailed are on remand and are innocent, isn’t it true that it doesn’t matter where they are held/who they are living with? It is completely fair that a man charged with murder stay with a person under petty theft charge in remand, as they haven’t been proven guilty therefore, innocent, and shouldn’t be looked at with the title of murderer. if it isn’t proven to be true.

  7. People who are loading up the prisons but just waiting for the results of their cases should not be taking up prison population and could be more likely to become real criminals in the near future

  8. It obviously seems that the biggest question/idea of these interviews is why our province, Manitoba, has one of the lowest crime rates, and decreasing, yet the amount of people being imprisoned is increasing. Correlating with this, the issues that are involved, include the large amounts of money being wasted on this, and the fact that most people confined aren’t guilty, and awaiting a trial. The question I continually found myself asking was, why is our Province wasting so much time and money on what it seems to be people on remand, who don’t necessarily need to be there, or at least for not as long as they are being kept. When the man talked of how we use to use the strategy called ‘provincial parole’ where people are let out of remand early, I was wondering why we stopped that, as it seems like a positive way of going about it. The fact that it was stopped because people of society think a person who stays jailed a couple days longer would be stopped from further committing a crime once let out, makes me laugh, as I don’t believe that would have much of an affect. If someone was going to commit another crime once let out, it doesn’t matter if it’s on June 18th, or June 21st, unless a sudden mental epiphany occurs in between, like it does in the movies. This has me wondering which should be valued more, the amount of money government is losing by jailing people, or the concern on public outcry.

  9. People being denied bail and hence remaining in remand is a problem that seems to have no solution. It is the choice of the judge to determine whether or not the accused is a flight risk, if the accused may re-offend, and how the public will respond. Given the choices of the judges this means that all the people on remand sitting in prisons and jails all around the province are considered risks and liabilities so it would remain justified for these people to be kept off of the streets. Judges should not be allowed to let people out on bail just because there is over crowding in prisons, jails, and remand centres and if the only alternative is to build more correctional centres then that may be what must be done. Yes, there are a declining number of corrections officers around; however, if we spread out the number of people being remanded and prisoned across the province and a way to guarantee officer safety by means such as improved body armour for guards etc…

    Another alternative is to increase the size of our courts, if we introduce more judges and more court systems the cases may be able to roll through faster and there by reduce the number of people stuck in remand centres. Another solution to reduce the flow of cases into courts is to decriminalize certain drugs as Sarah, Ryan, and a few others talked about. The government may decide which drugs to decriminalize based on their effect on people once ingested. Something like Marijuana does not have any serious effects that may harm the consumer as it is very difficult to overdose on this. However, the government should make it clear that these drugs are still frowned upon and that a fine may still be given if a police officer catches you with possession of drugs. I believe that some minor crimes should be decriminalized as well, such as petty theft as suggested by Ryan.

    • I agree with Domi that the court sizes could be increased. This could potentially speed up the process and decelerate the added population of prisons.

  10. I believe that with crime declining (40%) (23% decline in violent crimes), the population of the prisons should be going down as well, although the population of prisons are going up. Given the crime rate MAY be going down because the prison population is going up, there still are very many people in prison, who should be able to roam free. The police are too aggressive with enforcing laws to the maximum penalty rather than giving mercy on some of the criminals. Less criminals are given bail, which could have a solution. Criminals should be given bail with VERY strict policies. Rather than keeping them locked up, they can be given bail and still be punished. The remand process needs to be sped up as well as the court process.

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