The Government of Canada is proposing to increase the fee for a pardon application from $150 to $631, a decision which will make it much more difficult for former offenders to lead full and productive lives as members of society.
The Parole Board of Canada is seeking public input on the proposed increase until February 27, 2011.
The CCJC is calling on Canadians to write to the Parole Board with their comments and concerns. If you believe in rehabilitative, restorative justice, your voice urgently needs to be heard!
Below, please see an example of an email which you may want to use in writing your response. Emails can be sent to the Parole Board of Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please consider cc’ing your Member of Parliament and bcc’ing the CCJC in your response. And let us know and concerns/comments you have regarding the pardon fee increase.
To the Parole Board of Canada,
I am writing to express my concern about the proposed increase to the pardon application fee.
Since 1970, more than 400,000 Canadians have received pardons, 96% of which are still in force – meaning the recipients remain crime-free within their communities. Why is the government impeding a process with this level of success? There is no evidence that this fee increase will in any way make our communities safer.
The people most affected by this proposed increase are disproportionately poor, disadvantaged, and marginalized. The proposed $631 fee is very likely to be far beyond their means.
Without a pardon, a person’s chance of finding decent work is extremely limited – and we know that lack of employment is very highly correlated with the likelihood to re-offend. Unpardoned, they continue to live with stigma and oppression, exacerbating such things as low self-esteem and social isolation. Unpardoned, they are more likely to remain on welfare or return to criminal activity, both of which are a far greater cost to citizens and communities than that of subsidizing the cost of processing pardons.
For these reasons, I am concerned that by making it harder for people to obtain pardons, the government is threatening the safety of communities and in no way contributing to restorative, rehabilitative aspects of justice.
As a concerned Canadian citizen, I sincerely appeal to the Parole Board of Canada to not raise the fee for pardon application.
YOUR NAME HERE