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The long-term offender provisions of the Criminal Code: an evaluation

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Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
The Canadian dangerous offender legislation seeks to identify the most dangerous offenders and to distinguish them from those who pose a lesser degree of risk. In 1997, a new designation was added: the long-term offender designation. The key difference between the dangerous offender and long-term offender is that the latter is deemed to be eventually controllable in the community. This dissertation was designed to describe and evaluate the application of the long-term offender provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code in the province of British Columbia during the first 10 years since its inception in 1997. The data sources include secondary file data and primary interview data. The files relating to 67 long-term offenders were accessed at the B.C. Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission; they contained both judicial reasons for judgment and expert assessments. The interviews were semi-structured and were conducted with a total of 33 interviewees in the following stakeholder categories: Legal, Mental Health, Supervision/Enforcement and Community Service. The file review findings reveal that long-term offenders are predominantly male and disproportionately Aboriginal. The index offences are primarily sexual in nature, and the 10-year long-term supervision order length is the most commonly imposed. The most prevalent diagnoses are: substance-related disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and pedophilia. Ethnic differences in the diagnosis of psychopathy and in the evaluation of treatability are revealed. The interview findings reveal that a key advantage of the designation is that it provides a viable option that is less extreme than the dangerous offender designation, yet more restrictive than a conventional sentence. The lack of resources for effective supervision and treatment was noted by interviewees in each stakeholder category; the wording of the long-term supervision order conditions was also described as problematic. Interviewees in each category indicate that there have been recent increases in the demands placed by this subset of the offender population. Suggestions for reform include improving the wording of the conditions of long-term supervision orders, increasing funding for treatment and supervision of long-term offenders, and also increasing agency collaboration and service continuity.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Verdun-Jones, Simon
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