According to former Attorney General and Star contributor, Michael Bryant, most people in jail in Canada are innocent.
As our legal system states, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Bryant states in his article that most of the people in our correctional system fall under the category of prisoners awaiting trial, and therefore are innocent of their crimes until proven otherwise. Only a minority of those in prison have actually been convicted of their crimes.
So how does Bryant explain this influx of innocents in jail? Fear.
“Today, unfounded but real societal fears trump the constitutional presumption of innocence when it comes to what we do with people charged with crimes,” Bryant states. “Why would police or prosecutors or a judge not release someone who has been charged but not tried? Because they’re afraid that the person will do something bad pretrial, and that will make the police or prosecutor or judge look bad.”
As Attorney General, from 2003-2007, Bryant saw the global trends when it came to correctional systems in a democratic state. Even though our laws state our innocence before proof of guilt, most nations treat people who have been charged with a crime in the opposite manner.
Do you think that people who are awaiting trial, to be proven of their guilt, should remain in jail, or should be free until found guilty of their crime?
Read more here.