The John Howard Society of Alberta is firmly opposed to capital punishment and does not support its reintroduction in any form whatsoever. At the same time, the Society recommends that the Criminal Code of Canada be amended and any other relevant statutes or regulations be changed to introduce sufficient flexibility into the parole system to allow the earlier parole of all inmates serving life sentences, subject to the circumstances of each individual case. The release of inmates should be an assumed part of every sentence unless there are objective criteria or finite reasons for objecting to the release. All Criminal Code and other Federal Statutes that provide for minimum penalties upon conviction should also be amended to eliminate all such mandatory minimum penalties.
The John Howard Society of Alberta believes that one of the best measures to prevent future criminal activity is to assist offenders who are returning to the community after a period of incarceration. When we detain a person for a 25 year period, we discourage the person from making concrete, rational plans for their release. The transition from confinement to freedom can be difficult, and offenders have a better chance of success if they receive supervision, opportunities, training and support within the community to which they must readjust. Conditional release practices, such as unescorted temporary absences, should be available to all deserving long term inmates at an early stage in their sentences, in order to allow them to maintain family and community ties and thus facilitate their eventual re-entry into society.