Underfunding in the Canadian Criminal Justice System
Underfunding is the greatest Challenge that is faced by the Canadian Criminal Justice System. This paper will discuss the Police Forces aging population and the challenges to replace them when they retire, it will also look at the insufficient quantity of officers needed to investigate all crime. The underfunding of the legal aid program and the effects on the courts and family law will be discussed. Finally the effects of long-term underfunding of the countries prison system and its effects on the most vulnerable inmates will also be measured.
Not Enough Police Officers
One of the challenges the Canadian justice system ...view middle of the document...
More Police, More Solved Crime
Not only does hiring need to be increased to replace the aging baby boomers, hiring also needs to increase to just be more effective in dealing with the current crime taking place. The RCMP only investigated thirty percent of the organized crime groups it knew about already in 2006 due to lack of personnel (Macleod, 2009).
In 2009 there were 67000 police officers working in Canada, this was an increase of 1.5% from the previous year (Beattie, 2009). With the number of officers increasing every year, police reported crime rate and the crime severity index have decreased. The weighted clearance rate was at the highest it has been in the last decade in 2008 (Wallace, 2009). This is a measure of the solved crimes based on severity and amount. By going beyond replacing the aging baby boomers and increasing the hiring rate by another 2000-3000, these police officers can be trained to tackle the remaining seventy percent of organized criminal groups that are not being watched or investigated. This would undoubtedly have a positive effect on the crime rate and the crime severity index and solve one aspect of the problem of underfunding in the criminal justice system.
These additional officers would require a greater expenditure on personnel. Currently each Canadian pays 344 a year to fund Canada’s combined 11 billion dollar a year police expenditure budget (Beattie, 2009). This money could come from a number of sources such as ending GST rebate cheques except those in poverty or not holding G20 summits, or perhaps the money from the long gun registry could have been put to better use. If each Canadian paid an additional 56 dollars a year to hire more police another 1.8 billion dollars in salaries could be paid. Assuming costs of 100000 a year in salary, training, and equipment per police officer, another 18000 police officers could be put on the payroll across Canada. That would be an increase of 27% of the total police officers in Canada, bringing the total to 85000. This would have significant positive effect on society and the criminal justice system.
Massive cuts have affected legal Aid across Canada in a very negative way. More than ever people are losing access to justice. Even though the global economic crisis affected everyone, and every jurisdictions budget there needs to be a minimum level of funding for legal aid to protect the rights of those that cannot afford legal aid (Hainsworth, 2010). According to Hainsworth, (2010) the Canadian Bar Association has asked for national standards for legal aid, just like there are standards for health care and education. The CBA believes legal aid reform is needed to ensure access to justice for low income people, it also believes funding must be increased and national standards for eligibility and civil coverage are necessary to make the system function properly again.
Underfunding also causes the court system to get backed up due to the...